Updates and Advances in the Management of HS - Episode 10

Quality of Life for Patients With Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

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Gina Mangin, MPAS, PA-C, reviews the quality of life for patients living with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), areas of the body commonly affected by HS, as well as the most common symptoms of the disease.

Gina Mangin, MPAS, PA-C: The quality of life that affects patients with hidradenitis suppurativa [HS] is such a significant impact for these patients; it is huge. The quality of life for patients with HS is lower than it is for other diseases out there. When they look at the data, they have found that the quality-of-life measures with patients with HS are much lower compared with patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or even patients with atopic dermatitis or psoriasis, because this disease affects these patients physically, mentally, and psychosocially as well. It’s a significant impact on these patients’ lives.

Areas most often affected by HS include the axillary or underarm areas; the inframammary areas, which is underneath the breast; the inguinal folds; and the buttocks or the genitalia. The symptoms that have the most impact for patients experiencing HS include pain, itching, and then the malodorous component that’s associated with this disease. Those are probably the top 3 symptoms that affect our patients.

In terms of quality of life and how it impacts our patients, many of these patients are embarrassed about this diagnosis, especially when this is involving the genitalia area. We know that impacts their relationships with their partners and it can impact their sexual relationships that they have with their partners. These patients then have this type of sexual dysfunction that they don’t want to talk about because it’s embarrassing. That’s where it’s important for us as medical providers, again, just to sit down and listen to these patients. Because if we listen and we’re empathetic, they are going to build that trust in you and hopefully we’re going to be able to get them better and they’ll be less embarrassed to talk about these topics. Also, just again, educating our colleagues and patients to know what the signs and symptoms are of this disease and how HS can impact their lives. Maybe that will decrease the embarrassment they may have and they will make that appointment with their dermatologist to come in and be evaluated so they don’t have to suffer any longer.

Transcript edited for clarity