Content » Vol 101, January

Investigative Report

Pain in Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A Cross-sectional Study of 1,795 Patients

Piotr K. Krajewski, Łukasz Matusiak, Esther von Stebut, Michael Schultheis, Uwe Kirschner, Georgios Nikolakis, Jacek C. Szepietowski
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-3724


Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic, inflammatory skin disorder that affects the pilosebaceous unit of the intertriginous body areas. Pain is one of the most important problems in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa. The aim of this study, which included 1,795 patients, was to evaluate the prevalence and characteristics of pain. The intensity of pain was assessed with a numerical rating scale. In addition, pain intensity was correlated with various clinical features. Pain was reported by 83.6% of subjects. The majority of patients (77.6%) experienced mild pain; women and smokers tended to experience more intense pain. Pain intensity was greater in patients with multiple affected skin areas and correlated positively with the number of those affected areas (r = 0.151, p < 0.001). There was no difference in pain intensity between affected locations. The worst pain was observed in the patients with the most severe disease and it would weaken significantly along with the severity of hidradenitis suppurativa (assessed using the Hurley staging system and the International Hidradenitis Suppurativa Severity Score System).


This cross-sectional study assessed the prevalence and characteristics of hidradenitis suppurativa-related pain in 1,795 patients with confirmed hidradenitis suppurativa. Most patients (83.6%) reported pain in the last 24 h. In most subjects the pain was mild; female sex and smoking were found to correlate with higher intensity of pain. More­over, patients with multiple affected areas of skin experienced more pain, and their pain intensity correlated with the number of affected areas. In addition, the intensity of pain was found to depend on the severity of hidradenitis suppurativa, and the pain had a negative influence on patients’ quality of life. The results of this large study provide an important insight into hidradenitis suppurativa-related pain, a topic that requires further research to be completely understood.

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