Comorbidities Linked to HS: Understanding and Managing Hidradenitis Suppurativa Risk

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS), a chronic inflammatory skin condition, is characterized by painful nodules, abscesses, and scarring in body areas such as the armpits, groin, buttocks, and under the breasts. Though this debilitating condition may impact the daily lives of affected individuals, its consequences may extend beyond the skin, as HS has been linked to several comorbidities. The Canadian Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation is dedicated to improving HS patients’ lives and management by raising awareness and educating healthcare providers and patients on this complex condition. In this blog, we examine the common comorbidities associated with HS and delve into the essential steps to manage these risks and improve patients’ quality of life.

Understanding the presence of comorbidities in HS patients is crucial, as they can affect treatment outcomes and overall well-being. Medical professionals, researchers, and the Hidradenitis Suppurativa community must work together to recognize, understand, and address the connections between HS and its comorbid conditions. By doing so, we can develop more comprehensive treatment plans and promote holistic, patient-centered care.

The Canadian Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation, with its mission of advancing knowledge and promoting better understanding, aims to shed light on the comorbidities linked to HS. We strive to provide practical guidance to manage these associated health risks and empower patients to take control of their health journey. In the following sections, we will discuss these comorbidities and outline steps to mitigate their impact on HS patients’ lives. By recognizing and addressing these comorbidities, we aim to foster a brighter future for the entire HS community.

a woman in a pink nightgown experiencing discomfort in her stomach, possibly indicating a potential risk of hidradenitis suppurativa.
Comorbidities linked to hs: understanding and managing hidradenitis suppurativa risk

Comorbidities Linked to Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Understanding and Managing Hidradenitis Suppurativa Risk

1. Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that can increase an individual’s chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. These factors include obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Evidence suggests that individuals with HS are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome. Therefore, managing the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome is crucial for Hidradenitis Suppurativa patients. Steps to manage metabolic syndrome include:

  • Adopting a balanced, healthy diet
  • Engaging in regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Monitoring blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels regularly

2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

HS has been linked with an increased risk of developing inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, leading to symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. Early identification and proper management of IBD are essential for HS patients to prevent complications and improve their quality of life. Consult with a gastroenterologist for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan, which may include:

  • Medications to manage inflammation and alleviate symptoms
  • Dietary adjustments to reduce gastrointestinal distress
  • Supplements to address nutritional deficiencies
  • Stress-reduction techniques to help manage IBD symptoms

3. Anxiety and Depression

Living with a chronic skin condition like HS can profoundly impact an individual’s mental well-being, leading to increased levels of anxiety and depression. Addressing these mental health concerns is vital for overall health and well-being. Strategies to manage anxiety and depression in HS patients include:

  • Seeking professional mental health support from psychologists, psychiatrists, or counsellors
  • Connecting with support groups and other individuals living with HS, either in-person or online
  • Incorporating relaxation techniques and stress-management practices, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and physical activity
  • Discussing concerns and feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or healthcare provider

4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

HS may coexist with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in some women, as both conditions are associated with hormonal imbalances. PCOS is characterized by high levels of male hormones called androgens, irregular menstrual periods, and cysts on the ovaries. Early identification and management of PCOS can help alleviate symptoms, reduce the risk of complications, and improve fertility in women living with HS. Steps to manage PCOS may include:

  • Adopting a balanced, nutrient-dense diet to help regulate blood sugar and hormone levels
  • Engaging in regular physical activity to manage body weight and insulin resistance
  • Consulting with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment, which may include hormonal therapy or insulin-sensitizing medication
  • Monitoring and managing comorbidities, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, as they may be associated with PCOS
a woman with her hands on her face, expressing distress or discomfort.
Comorbidities linked to hs: understanding and managing hidradenitis suppurativa risk


The Canadian Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation emphasizes the importance of recognizing and addressing the comorbidities associated with HS for a comprehensive approach to patient care. By understanding the risks and implementing practical strategies to manage these health conditions, we can empower HS patients to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. Collaborate with healthcare professionals and support networks, and take proactive steps to manage your health journey while living with HS. Through knowledge, compassion, and united effort, we can transform the lives of those affected by Hidradenitis Suppurativa and its comorbidities, building a better future for the entire community.