CNN and Healthgrades publish on Fawn Griswold


Being a teenage girl can be pretty emotional. Your body changes, your hormones change, and a lot of things can feel like the end of the world.

My teen years were especially traumatic, because with my hormonal changes, I experienced the onset of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), but I had no idea that’s what it was. In fact, I didn’t know what it was until just last year, nearly 30 years after my first flare.

I waited 30 years to get a proper diagnosis. But the more we talk about it, the more people will learn about it.

HS, also called acne inversa, is a skin condition characterized by recurrent painful abscesses and lesions under the armpits, on the thighs, groin, breasts and really anywhere with a lot of sweat glands.

When I first started getting flares they were on my thighs, and I can remember walking down the halls of my high school with blood dripping down my leg from a ruptured abscess. Back then, I thought it was just because I was overweight and my thighs were rubbing together; that there was something wrong with me, and it was my fault.

I was ashamed, and I didn’t want to tell anybody.

When I started getting boil-like flares in my groin area, I did tell my mom, but didn’t tell her about what was going on with my thighs because I didn’t think it could be connected. The HS manifested differently on different areas of my body. My mother, and grandmother who was a nurse, thought I just had boils.


My best advice for someone newly diagnosed with HS, or someone who is experiencing lesions or symptoms of HS, is to not live in shame.

Finish reading on CNN: Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Getting a Diagnosis


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