Diagnosing HS

Diagnosis of HS is made by looking at the 4 main characteristics of the disease:


Deep seated boil-like abscesses, sinus-tracts and/or scarring


Armpit (axilla), genital area, groin, perineum, breast and/or buttocks.


Recurrent painful or suppurating abscesses for more than twice in a 6 month period. Is there a family history of the condition.



A negative swab for bacteria or infection, or the presence of normal microbes may be indicative of HS

Unfortunately, as this disease is not very well known, HS is quite often mistaken as common conditions. This in turn can lead to a delay in appropriate referrals and diagnosis, and therefore may result in further advancement of the disease. Examples of other conditions often mistaken for HS are;

  • Staphylococcal infection

  • Cutaneous Crohn's Disease (often associated with HS)

  • Simple abscesses

  • Neoplasms (signs of tumor)

  • Sexually transmitted diseases

  • Ingrowing hair follicles