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Hidradenitis Suppurativa Interferes With Various Social Activities, Say Patients


According to the researchers of the study, managing patients with hidradenitis suppurativa holistically may help reduce the burden of their disease.

New survey results are highlighting the physical and psychological impact of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) on patients.

The results, coming from 67 patients with the disease, revealed that these effects can lead to avoidance of certain social activities, including going out and participating in recreational activities. According to the researchers of the study, managing these patients holistically may help reduce the burden of their disease. They published their findings in Cureus last month.

“Participation in physical and social activities may improve patients’ disease severity and well-being, respectively, and lack thereof may worsen disease outcomes and contribute to feelings of isolation,” wrote the researchers. “Social anxiety may be a contributing factor to HS patients’ degree of isolation. Currently, there are limited data on HS’s effect on participation in social activities.”

The researchers analyzed data from patients with HS who completed the survey between June and September 2018. More than half of patients reported that their HS impeded on various activities, including playing sports and recreational activities (69.4%), going out socially or to a special event (66.1%), practicing their hobbies (60.0%), attending parties (54.0%), and going out in public (52.3%).

Patients also filled out the Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation, which assessed their levels of social anxiety. Participants who had higher scores, indicating greater levels of social anxiety, were more likely to have greater interference with all daily activities.

Patients who had more than 1 body region affected by HS were more likely to report that it affected their social activities “a lot.” Compared with patients with 1 body region affected, these patients were significantly more likely to report their disease affecting their participation in sports and recreational activities (50.8% vs 0%), going out socially or to a special event (32.3% vs 0%), doing their hobbies (32.3% vs 0%), going to parties (33.3% vs 0%), going out in public (24.2% vs 0%), and being with family members (16.6% vs 0%).

In addition, respondents with more than 5 painful nodules were more likely to report that activities, such as participating in sports or recreational activities (59.3% vs 36.1%), going out socially or to a social event (37.9% vs 24.3%), doing hobbies (31% vs 29.7%), going to parties (37% vs 27%), going out in public (27.6% vs 18.9%), and being with family members (22.2% vs 10.8%), were negatively affected by their disease vs patients who had 5 or less painful nodules.

“Limitations of our study include a small sample size recruited from a single academic center, although our effect size was large enough to detect differences. Our nonresponse rate was high; however, the demographics of responders and nonresponders were similar,” wrote the researchers, who approached 153 patients to take the survey. “We did not assess for reasons why HS interfered with various social activities, and while we did not assess causality, interventions to reduce isolation among patients with HS may be helpful to improve their quality of life.”


Perche PO, Singh R, Senthilnathan A, Feldman SR, Pichardo RO. Hidradenitis suppurativa’s impact on social activities: an observational study. Cureus. Published online May 24, 2022. doi:10.7759/cureus.25292

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