Preparing for your appointment

You may start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating skin diseases (dermatologist). Depending on the severity of your condition, your care may also involve specialists in colorectal surgery, plastic surgery or digestive diseases (gastroenterology).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Before your appointment make a list of:

  • Symptoms you've been experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment
  • All medications, vitamins and supplements you take, including doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

For hidradenitis suppurativa, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes?
  • Do I need any tests?
  • How long will my condition last?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • What side effects can I expect from treatment?
  • Is this condition related to another medical disorder?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed materials that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • What did the skin lumps look like when they started?
  • Do they come back in the same spots?
  • Are your symptoms painful?
  • Have your parents or siblings ever had this problem?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to worsen your symptoms?
  • Do you smoke or use tobacco products?
April 13, 2016
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  3. Margesson LJ, et al. Pathogenesis, clinical features and diagnosis of hidradenitis suppurativa. Accessed Jan. 27, 2016.
  4. Ingram JR, et al. Interventions for hidradenitis suppurativa. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Accessed Jan. 27, 2016.
  5. Yadav S, et al. Hidradenitis suppurativa in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: A population-based cohort study in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 216;14:65.
  6. Kohorst JJ, et al. Systemic associations of hidradenitis suppurativa. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2015;73:S27.
  7. Kohorst JJ, et al. Treatment experience in a local population with hidradenitis suppurativa. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2014;13:827.
  8. Shahi V, et al. Prevalence of hidradenitis suppurativa: A population-based study in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Dermatology. 2014;229:154.
  9. Jemec GBE. Hidradenitis suppurativa. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;366:158.
  10. Alikhan A, et al. Hidradenitis suppurativa: A comprehensive review. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2009;60:539.
  11. Vazquez BG, et al. Incidence of hidradenitis suppurativa and associated factors: A population-based study of Olmsted County, Minnesota. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2013;133:97.
  12. Cannistra C et al. New perspectives in the treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa: Surgery and brewer's yeast – exclusion diet. Surgery. 2013;154:1126.
  13. Danby FW. Diet in the prevention of hidradenitis suppurativa. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2015;73:S52.
  14. Deckers IE, et al. The handicap of hidradenitis suppurativa. Dermatologic Clinics. 2016;34:17.
  15. Margesson LJ, et al. Hidradenitis suppurativa. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2014;28:1013.
  16. Wang SC, et al. Hidradenitis suppurativa: A frequently missed diagnosis, part 2: Treatment options. Advances in Skin & Wound Care. 2015;28:372.
  17. Hidradenitis suppurativa. America Academy of Dermatology. Accessed Feb. 4, 2016.
  18. Garg A, et al. Factors associated with point-of-care treatment decisions for hidradenitis suppurativa. JAMA Dermatology. Accessed Feb. 4, 2016.