HS is often misdiagnosed or not recognised to begin with. It can take more than 7 (or longer!) to receive a formal diagnosis of Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
HS is often mistaken for a once-off boil or abscess, an ingrown hair, or other type of infection.
There are several early warning signs that if recognised in time can lead to an early diagnosis and effective treatment to stop the disease progressing.
When it first develops, HS can have symptoms that range from clusters of blackheads (little pits or tiny tunnels in your skin), mild itching and discomfort, to the appearance of red, tender, and swollen areas. These can range in size from from a pea to much larger (e.g., tennis ball).
Click on the symptoms below for further detail.
The Stages of HS
HS is usually classified into three stages called Hurley staging (named after the surgeon who proposed this scheme [insert ref]).
Hurley Stage I
This may be a single lesion without sinus tract (tunnel) formation.
Hurley Stage II
Single or multiple lesions, but with limited tunneling.
Hurley Stage III
Multiple lesions, with more extensive tunnels and scarring. It involves an entire area of the body
Hurley staging allows doctors to assign a severity level to HS, but it does not account for other factors such as disease activity, the pain, or the impact on a person’s quality of life. As a result, many different measurements/tools have been developed to assess HS severity to take these other factors into account. Currently, there are > 30 severity assessment measurements/tools in use but all doctors still refer to and use the Hurley staging system.