Does HS only affect areas where skin touches skin? Possible solution?

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I have had HS for about 20 years now in my underarms. I've been on clindamiacin, minoclycline, and recently started Humira. All of these medications have worked for a couple of months, but haven't completely put me in remission. Since going on Humira, the bumps I get have been smaller, for the most part, and last about half as long. I have one weeping wound that heals, then opens, then heals again, but then reopens-- this cycle has been going on for almost a year now.

So anyone who has done research on HS knows that it's caused by blockage of the apocrine sweat glands, which are located under the arms, breasts and groin. I recently came up with a theory that this blockage is being caused by the fact that when skin is against skin, the sweat (or secretion, or whatever) has nowhere to go.

The solution, then, would be to keep a cloth or cotton barrier-- something to soak up the secretion, to help prevent the blockage of the glands. It sounds so simple, I'm wondering if anyone else has tried this to any effect? I've made cotton cloth barriers for both my underarms (changed every day). It's been two weeks now and all I can say is that it hasn't not worked. My underarms have been nice and dry though, and I think this has helped. Since I'm still on the Humira, I can't say for sure whether my idea has any validity or not though. 

Anyone else try this, or anyone willing to give it a go?

 

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi no it's not only where skin touches skin as I have it on my stomach as well.  As for your wound that keeps reopening you need to get the matter in it incised by a surgeon to stop it.  x
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  • Posted

    HS is definitely more common in areas where you have skin-on-skin, and a lack of ventilation certainly exacerbates the problem (especially if you're overweight), but it is not the root cause. You can get HS anywhere on your body: on your scalp, behind your ears, on your face, back legs etc.

    HS is an autoimmune disease, which is why Humira is working to some extent. Your immune system is literally attacking those apocrine glands, for whatever reason, and the resulting inflammation prevents the gland from being able to clear itself of sweat, skin, debris, etc. Then the body floods the area with white blood cells and that is what creates the puss we all know and love. Humira is supressing your immune response, so your symptoms improve.

    Have you tried identifying possible triggers for your breakouts ie diet, hormones etc?

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    • Posted

      Biologics like Humira are still relatively new, so no one really knows what long-term side effects they cause. There is some debate as to whether or not it permanently weakens the immune system over time, and I believe they are actually conducting studies on that issue now, but there's no real way to prove or disprove that for another decade or so.

      That said, if you've literally tried everything else and it's the only thing that works, then yeah, I'd say it's worth it. I think it's a very personal decision, and as long as it's an informed one, I say go for it. I just have issues with doctors that push it on patients as a quick fix without going over potential side-effects or even explaining why it works the way it does. A biologic should really be a last resort, like a couple steps before having your sweat glands removed.

      Suppressing the immune system is never a GOOD idea per say, but sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks.

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    • Posted

      Oh I see.  Thanks for explaining that atticus.   As far as I'm concerned you are the Oracle of HS,  so anything you say I take as fact.  Bev x
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    • Posted

      Lol, thank you, but definitely don't do that. It's so important to do research on your own too. Everything I know, I know from years of research, trial and error, and just sheer cussedness. But it's all in relation to my own experience with HS, and I'm still learning stuff about it every day.
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    • Posted

      Thanks atticus for your response. So you're saying that the swelling causes the blockage, not the other way around? I thought that the bockage causes your immune system to react, and thus the swelling. My dermatologist may have told me the same thing (but I might be mistaken here), and the information online is a bit ambiguous-- is there a source you're aware of that describes the process of an HS outbreak?

      One of the things I noticed with the Humira is that it hasn't really stopped the tiny, sore bumps that mark the beginning of an outbreak for me from occuring. What it has done, to some degree, is mitigated the massive and painful swelling that follows.

      The only triggers I'm confident of is stress and lack of sleep. I've started watching my diet more carefully, minimizing my nightshade intake as much as possible. It's going to be rough for me to take them completely out though. I'm not sure about hormones. I'm male-- do hormones play the same role as females?

      Hypercat, regarding whether if it's a good idea, I'd agree with atticus that it's a personal choice. The side effects of Humira sound frightening in the commercials, and my wife didn't want me to start taking it. Since I've been on it, for about 7 months now, I haven't even gotten a cold yet. Of course everyone will react differently and I've read all sorts of horror stories about Humira on various sites. It's not something I want to be on for the rest of my life.

       

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    • Posted

      Sorry atticus I didn't mean to put that sort of pressure on you and I understand that you have done your own research etc.  You do have a lot of knowledge though and what you say makes a lot of sense.   Bev x

       

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    • Posted

      Hi I understand what you are saying.  I also have copd (chronic obstructive pulmunory disease)  as well as HS so would hesitate to take anything which could compromise my immune system.   You have a lot of practical sense and I am glad humira is currently helping you.  Bev x

       

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  • Posted

    I would be interested to see how you get on.  I have found when sweat is held against the skin in my armpit by clothing e.g a T shirt for ( a couple of hours) it will trigger a reaction, and even  running sweat will sting the skin. Sometimes I wear a  pad under my arm to prevent sweaty skin rubing on sweaty skin and this seems to help - it depends on what clothing I am wearing. 
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