Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) and the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Connection

#HidradenitisSuppurativa (HS) and the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (#PCOS) Connection:

Hello, my name is Ron Bercume. I am an awareness advocate for a disease by the name of HS. I am also a patient and have been living with this disease since I was a teenager.

Hidradenitis suppurativa, or HS for short, has been linked to a hyperandrogen state, an association with polycystic ovary syndrome, or (PCOS) has begun to be researched and explored.

Pronounced: HID-ra-den-EYE-tis SUP-you-rah-TEE-vah

Our organization defines HS is a chronic, relapsing and often debilitating inflammatory skin disease. HS typically presents as painful, fluid-filled lesions that most commonly affect the armpits, groin, genitals, thighs and backside areas of the body, but can occur wherever there is skin. There currently is no cure for HS and a combination of medication, surgery and lifestyle modifications are required to manage the condition.

SOURCE: 2017 definition of Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) via HSAWARENESS.ORG

I have been asked to take a short minute to discuss this disease that affects an estimated 1-4% of the world population, and a possible connection or link to PCOS.

Of that population of HS patients, it is fairly well known that more women are challenged with this disease than men.

As such, a hormonal component is speculated about and has been explored in a clinical setting. Antiandrogen therapy is often sought for women as HS is known to be linked to a hyperandrogen state, as mentioned.

Please allow me to share high-level findings and results of mention from a key study that has explored the possible links between HS and PCOS.

“Hidradenitis suppurativa in 64 female patients: retrospective study comparing oral antibiotics and antiandrogen therapy” – Kraft JN, Searles GE, 2007

STUDY OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine the success rate for a variety of treatments in our female HS patients and whether androgen-related tests can predict a response to antiandrogen therapy. As HS has been linked to a hyperandrogen state, we sought to determine if it is also associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

RESULTS: The prevalence of PCOS among our study patients in whom androgen markers were available was 8 of 21 (38.1%), and even if taken over all study patients, not necessarily investigated for PCOS, the prevalence was 8 of 64 (12.5%). This reflects a greater than expected prevalence among all women (10%).

CONCLUSION: As a proof-of-concept study, despite limitations inherent in a retrospective chart review, there is sufficient signal to suggest that a hormonal manipulation approach to therapy should be considered in all women presenting with HS.

“Female patients presenting with HS should prompt investigations for underlying PCOS and insulin resistance.”

I want to thank you for taking this minute to learn about HS with me, and to let those of you know that may have symptoms of HS and a possible PCOS connection, and perhaps have for a very long time without answers or clarity, that you are not alone by far. It is essentially a fact those of us that present with HS symptoms as teenagers going hormonal changes do not seek treatment for 8-10 years. We hide this disease from everyone, even ourselves.

Personally, I lived with HS for 20 years before learning what it was. Only learning why I was sick back in 2015.

I am Ron of HSAWARENESS.ORG. I will not hide HS any longer so that so many do not have to either.

If you need help and resources, we are here to help.

Learn more at http://hsawareness.org.


1: Holzer G, Straßegger B, Volc-Platzer B. [Cutaneous manifestations of metabolic
syndrome]. Hautarzt. 2016 Dec;67(12):982-988. Review. German. PubMed PMID:


2: Zivanovic D, Masirevic I, Ruzicka T, Braun-Falco M, Nikolic M. Pyoderma gangrenosum, acne, suppurative hidradenitis (PASH) and polycystic ovary syndrome: Coincidentally or aetiologically connected? Australas J Dermatol. 2017 May;58(2):e54-e59. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12438. Epub 2016 Feb 2. PubMed PMID:


3: Kraft JN, Searles GE. Hidradenitis suppurativa in 64 female patients: retrospective study comparing oral antibiotics and antiandrogen therapy. J Cutan Med Surg. 2007 Jul-Aug;11(4):125-31. PubMed PMID: 17601419.



*HSAWARENESS.ORG does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


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