Signs and Symptoms of Hidradenitis

Signs of hidradenitis are firm red nodules that are usually located under the arm, in the groin, around the breasts, or around the anus. Pustules and abscesses may discharge pus spontaneously and heal slowly, resulting in scar tissue. The appearance of nodules recurs periodically throughout the year. Heat, perspiration, and being overweight can aggravate the condition.

Pain is a common symptom in chronic disease. Over time, fibers of scar tissue branch out, creating restrictive, tight skin. This can interfere with movement of the arms or legs, if the sweat glands in the armpits or groin are involved.

Dermatologists diagnose the disorder by the appearance and location of the lesions.

Hidradenitis Complications

Infection and inflammation can spread beyond the sweat glands into cells located in the deep layers of the skin and in muscle tissue. This condition is called cellulitis. The skin covering the infected area is usually warm and tender.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Sep 2000

Last Modified: 23 Dec 2014