Hidradenitis Suppurativa (Antibiotics Only)

Hidradenitis suppurativa is chronic inflammation of the sweat glands. It's a severe form of acne. Firm, red, painful bumps (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, anal area, and under the breasts.

The nodules aren't contagious. The condition isn't 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 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 advised by your healthcare provider.

  • Make a warm compress by running hot water over a washcloth. To prevent spreading bacteria, use a fresh, clean washcloth. each time. Apply it to the affected area for 10 minutes. Warm the washcloth again as needed if it cools off. 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.

  • 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, quit.

  • Lose excess weight.

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

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Depression is common in people with this condition. Talk to your provider if you have feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or other symptoms of depression. Help is available.

When to get medical advice

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

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered by Krames Patient Education - A Product of StayWell