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Are there other associated conditions?

Are there other associated conditions?

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Though it affects the skin, hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is an inflammatory disease, which means people with the condition have irregularities in their immune system. Immune system issues can increase the risk of other inflammatory diseases – consequently there are several conditions associated with HS, including:

Arthritis:
Arthritis causes pain, redness and swelling in the joints, and usually gets worse with age. At least 16.6% of adult Canadians have arthritis. People living with hidradenitis suppurativa are more likely to have arthritis than the general population. 

Crohn’s disease:
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease of the digestive system that causes irritation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Crohn’s most commonly interferes with functioning in the last section of the small intestine (ileum) or the large intestine (colon) but digestive problems may occur anywhere from the mouth to the rectum. Inflammation from Crohn’s can damage sections of the GI tract over time, resulting in other problems, such as narrowing of the colon. 

Nearly one-fifth of patients living with hidradenitis suppurativa may also have Crohn’s disease. 

Depression:
For some people, hidradenitis suppurativa can have a very negative effect on their quality of life. Living with HS can sometimes be extremely uncomfortable and demoralizing, and evidence suggests that many people with HS become depressed at some point in their lives. Depression is a medical condition that causes a prolonged feeling of sadness or hopelessness that can cause eating or sleeping difficulties and loss of interest in activities the person once enjoyed. The severity of symptoms is different for different people. 

Malignancy:
People with HS have a higher risk of cancer compared to the general population, and are specifically more likely to develop cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer), buccal cancer (cancer of the mouth) and hepatocellular cancer (liver cancer.) 

Severe acne:
The blemishes of severe acne include deeply embedded solid nodules (hard lumps deep in the skin), inflammation and extensive skin damage. The skin with such acne may become infected. If these infections are not treated properly, the skin may scar as the blemishes heal.

People with hidradenitis suppurativa are more likely to have or to have had severe acne. Because HS can look a lot like severe acne, which is also more common, doctors and patients alike may think the problem is severe acne alone, when in fact HS is the issue along with severe acne.

If you are living with any of these associated conditions, your dermatologist or doctor may refer you to other specialists such as rheumatologists, oncologists, psychiatrists, gastroenterologists, etc., for the help they can give you with their respective expertise.