Is Hidradenitis Suppurativa Itchy?

According to a study review featured in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, the itch is a significant symptom or characteristic of Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). However, the exact cause, development, and optimal therapeutic procedure for HS itching are yet to be fully understood through research. So is Hidradenitis Suppurativa itchy?

Many people with HS report itching as one of the most troublesome Hidradenitis Suppurativa symptoms. In most cases, only pain and pus discharge is worse.

an individual's arm displaying a red rash, indicating a skin condition
Is hidradenitis suppurativa itchy?

How Common is itching in Hidradenitis Suppurativa?

Hidradenitis Suppurativa begins with small red bumps. These bumps may be itchy or painful. Up to about half of the people with Hidradenitis Suppurativa report some early symptoms such as stinging pain, burning sensation, and itching from 12 hours to 48 hours before the appearance of the red bumps. According to a 2017 study conducted in the Netherlands, over 50% of people with HS reported itching as one of the symptoms they experienced.

In another 2018 research study in Poland, researchers concluded that 42% of people with HS report itching. This study also found that approximately 33% of people with HS experience itching daily. Another 33% experienced itch a few times every week, while another 33% experienced itching a few times in a month.

The itch often lasts about ten minutes at a time and often occurs in the evening. According to the study, the most common locations for HS itching were the armpits and buttocks. It’s worth noting that HS symptoms vary from patient to patient, so consult an HS specialist if you are experiencing HS itchiness and understand what could be making Hidradenitis Suppurativa itchy.

How bad is HS itching?

Based on the Poland research study, it appears that just over half of people with HS who experience itching rate it as moderate. It is also noteworthy that people with higher levels of itching tend to experience more pain, have more affected body areas, and have severe HS. Sweating, heat, physical activity, and hot water tend to increase itching in people with HS. So it is important for people with HS to be aware of these factors and take steps to minimize their exposure to them if possible.

How does itching impact People with HS?

Itching can have a significant impact on the quality of life of those with Hidradenitis Suppurativa, as it can affect their sleep, daily activities, and emotional well-being. Itching can sometimes affect sleep in people with Hidradenitis Suppurativa, leading to insomnia and reduced sleep quality. It can also impair daily activities, such as leisure and social activities, housework, errands, work, and school. This can cause people with Hidradenitis Suppurativa to isolate themselves from friends and cancel appointments.

In addition, itching can cause feelings of irritation, anger, sadness, worry, and depression, along with pain, odor, and scars. Increases in itching, pain, and sick days are related to more feelings of depression and a lower quality of life. Overall, the impact of itching on people with HS should not be underestimated. It is important for healthcare professionals to address this symptom as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to improve the quality of life of those with HS.

What makes Hidradenitis Suppurativa Itchy?

Researchers have suggested a few factors that may make Hidradenitis Suppurativa itchy. For instance, mast cells in sores (lesions) and the skin around the lesions release histamine. This can cause itching and other allergic reaction. Nerve irritation associated with scar tissue formation can also cause itching. Lastly, side effects from HS management medication can make Hidradenitis Suppurativa itchy.

Remember, further research is required to understand better what makes Hidradenitis Suppurativa itchy and the role this symptom plays in Hidradenitis Suppurativa development and management. Awareness of uncertainties associated with itching and how it can be managed may encourage further research to help HS patients improve their way of life. Consult with a reputable Hidradenitis Suppurativa specialist if you have any questions.