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Dr. Nair
Dr. Nair, Dermatologist
Category: Dermatology
Satisfied Customers: 9114
Experience:  MBBS, MD (Dermatology, Venereology & Leprology)
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I keep getting boils in my right armpit. They started back

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I keep getting boils in my right armpit. They started back in September or so and I'll get one or two every 3-4 weeksWhat's going on?

Is there any scarring in the right arm pit from the boils?

Do you have any other medical condition?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes, there's some scarring/discoloration around the boil sites, probably from my constantly trying to 'pop' them.

I'm an asthmatic and my cholesterol is a little high.
Ok, did you have a problem with severe acne when younger?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I didn't have a severe problem with severe acne (needing Acutane) or something like that. I suppose I should have mentioned that I do have alopecia universalis - lost all my hair when I was 13 or so.

This problem just cropped up about September or so.
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Thank you for the information. I was considering Recurrent Furunculosis, which is a bacterial infection of the hair follicle, and Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). But your history of scarring in the involved area favors the diagnosis of HS.

To understand what HS is, its useful to use acne as an analogy. The basic pathology in both acne and HS is blockage of certain skin glands (apocrine glands in HS and sebaceous glands in acne) followed by secondary bacterial infection. Thats why I had asked about the acne. You seem to have early stage HS.

How I treat this is:

1. Cap Doxycycline 100 mg twice a day for 6-8 weeks

2. Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% gel or Clindamycin gel twice a day over the boils.

3. Dial Antibacterial soap for bathing

4. Wearing loose clothing to keep the underarms as dry as possible

I would also recommend getting your blood sugar level done. Most of the above are prescription drugs so I'd recommend discussing them with your doctor.
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