I was about 10 years old when my body started changing, but at 14 I noticed something was different from the typical puberty symptoms. Far from the normal facial acne, body hair and growth of breast, I could feel lumps forming on my inner thighs. They were red, painful to the touch and sat directly on my bikini line, which made it uncomfortable to perform daily activities. My initial thought was that this is a part of puberty and my lumps will disappears soon. Well, when the lumps would reappear in other parts of my body, like my underarms and under my breasts, I knew this wasn’t normal.
Growing up in my household, there were conversations we just never had, like hygiene, sex or relationships. So going to my mother for help wasn’t comfortable for me. And because she was never educated by her mother on those topics, there was a lack of concern and communication in our home. Once the pain became unbearable, I gave in and spoke to my family about what was going on. Through their understanding and support, it motivated me to continue searching for answers.
Before being diagnosed in 2017, I used “process of elimination” to manage my symptoms with H.S. I realized my outbreaks occurred mostly during the Summertime or after working out. So in an attempt to stay as dry as possible, I would graciously use baby powder in the areas that I would sweat the most. Also, I took a break from applying my deodorant right after taking a shower and allowing my underarms to fully dry. These small adjustments in my daily routine has made a significant difference in how often my lumps would appear.
After talking to my dermatologist, I became more knowledgeable about Hidradenitis Suppurativa and felt comfortable talking about it with friends and family.
I’m proud to share my story for the first time publicly in hopes that it will start open and honest conversations about Hidradenitis Suppurativa and inspire others to share their stories as well.
Dr. Manjit Kaur