Hidradenitis Suppurativa – Infection of the Sweat Glands

One condition commonly seen in teenagers has a big fancy name called hidradenitis suppurativa. It is an inflammation and infection of the sweat glands, usually in the armpits or groin area.

Under arm in this age are sweaty. People with this problem develop pain, swelling, and sometimes discrete nodules or “boils” that may open and drain. It is worse with tight-fitting clothing, and someone with this problem should keep the area very clean.


Antibiotics may be helpful when the area is red and obviously infected. Another reason for axillary swelling is enlargement of lymph nodes (like the ones in your neck that swell with throat infections). If you have cut or scratched your arm, the irritation from that wound causes local lymph nodes to swell, and they are located in the armpit area.

Cysts and superficial infections in the skin of the armpit may follow shaving or use of antiperspirants (as compared to deodorants). This occurs most frequently in adolescents just beginning to shave.

Sometimes the inflammation of the sebaceous gland is recurrent. In such cases, complete removal of the gland is considered.

Surgical excision of a sebaceous cyst is a simple procedure to completely remove the sac and its contents. There are three general approaches used:

  • Traditional wide excision
  • Minimal excision
  • Punch biopsy excision

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