Hidradenitis Suppurativa (Antibiotics Only)

Hidradenitis suppurativa is chronic inflammation of the sweat glands. It's a severe form of acne. Firm, red, painful bumps called nodules form. They are often filled with pus. They often get larger and may break open and drain. Common affected areas are the armpits, groin, and anal area.

The nodules are not contagious. The condition is not caused by poor hygiene.

You may have been given antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines to help treat the flare-up. If nodules keep getting bigger, drainage may be needed. Surgically removing the glands is the most effective treatment in severe cases.

Watch for the signs of early inflammation in the future. Look for small, tender lumps. Then follow the treatment advice below.

Home care

Follow these tips when caring for yourself at home:

  • If oral antibiotics were prescribed, take all of them as directed.

  • Make a warm compress by running hot water over a washcloth. Apply it to the area until the compress cools off. Repeat over a 15 minute period. Apply the hot compress 3 times a day for the first 3 days. To prevent spreading bacteria, use a fresh, clean washcloth each time. Or you can stand in the shower and direct the warm spray onto the area.

  • Gently wash the area with antibacterial soap. Don't scrub it.

  • Put on an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment 3 to 4 times a day, unless another topical medicine was prescribed.

  • Use over-the-counter medicine to control pain and swelling, unless another pain medicine was given. If you have kidney or liver disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding, talk with your healthcare provider before using this medicine.


Try the following to help prevent your condition:

  • Don't use antiperspirants and deodorants.

  • Stay out of the heat as much as possible.

  • Don't shave the affected area.

  • If you smoke, consider quitting.

  • Lose excess weight.

  • Wear loose clothing. Stay away from tight synthetic clothing.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical care

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Increasing pain

  • Increasing redness

  • Nodules keep getting bigger

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