The diagnostic criteria for HS have been clarified and are not complex, according to Dr. Jemec. The first is the characteristic element of inflamed or non-inflamed nodules, tunnels, abscesses and scars. The characteristic tomography of HS is on the axilla, inflammatory skin and groin. And the characteristic evolution of the disease, according to Dr. Jemec, is that it recurs and progresses to chronic disease.
An important clue as to whether a patient has HS, according to Dr. Prens, is if the patient has had two episodes of boils in the axillae or groins in the past six months.
While the criteria may be simple, the diagnosis often eludes dermatologists and others, according to Dr. Miller.
“A diagnostic delay of up to 12 years has been reported, maybe due to a mix of patients’ being reluctant to talk about their symptoms, as they feel embarrassed …, but also many doctors may not know the existence of this disease and mistake it for a common infection,” Dr. Miller says.