Endocrine factors in pre- and postmenopausal women with hidradenitis suppurativa

Br J Dermatol. 1996 Jun;134(6):1057-9.


The relationship between hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) and hyperandrogenism is largely based on the finding of an increased free androgen index due to a low sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). As SHBG is now believed to be regulated by factors that influence body weight, and previous studies were not controlled for body weight, we have re-evaluated the androgen status of female patients with HS. We have studied the endocrine status of 66 women with HS. Twenty-three had acne, and 23 were significantly obese (body mass index: BMI > 30). There was no relationship between obesity and disease duration. Nineteen of 56 women were hirsute. A premenstrual flare in disease activity was reported by 32 women, but this was not related to menstrual disturbances. No consistent relationship was reported with pregnancy. Eight women with HS were menopausal at presentation, and one developed her disease 6 years after the menopause. Plasma androgens in women with HS were compared with controls matched for BMI and hirsuties. There was no difference between HS and controls. Testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate were normal in all subjects with HS. In obese subjects, SHBG was reduced, consistent with BMI-matched controls. We have found no supporting evidence for biochemical hyperandrogenism in women with HS when compared with age-, weight- and hirsuties-matched controls. We report the continuation and primary development of HS in postmenopausal women.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Androgens / blood*
  • Endocrine Glands / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / blood*
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / complications
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / physiopathology
  • Hirsutism / complications
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Postmenopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / physiopathology


  • Androgens