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Health Spotlight: The skin condition you’ve never heard of

Health Spotlight: The skin condition you’ve never heard of

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s a rare systemic skin disorder that results in severe rashes, boils, and cysts.

A long-time Washington newswoman is sharing her painful journey and how she eventually found treatment.

Jackie Nedell is a long-time Washington journalist but she’s the one making news by going public about suffering from the rare and painful skin condition hidradenitis suppurativa, or H.S.

“It took me three and a half years with hundreds and hundreds of these lesions and boils that burned and were so painful, I can’t even describe to you,” Jackie said. “I was so embarrassed, I had all these scars and boils on my back when I went to the pool. I’d wear little T-shirts. I was just humiliated.”

The cause of H.S. is unknown. It consists of painful, lumps or boils that most often form in areas like the armpits, breasts, buttocks, and the groin.

It affects more women than men and more African American people than people of other races.

Jackie suffered for three and a half years before she finally found relief with Adam Friedman, MD, the chair of dermatology at the George Washington School of Medicine.

“This is a chronic condition, we can’t cure, we can only contain, but it’s gonna be a combination of local care, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial washes,” said Friedman.

And that’s just the H.S. you can see. The disease is systemic, meaning it’s inflicting damage on other organs through inflammation. Friedman is using biologics to treat that.

“Fifty percent of people will have inflammatory arthritis, many will have high blood pressure, diabetes, mental health disorders, clinical depression,” said Friedman.

Jackie is now a year and a half into remission.

“And I feel like I’m a whole new person, and don’t feel self-conscious, and most of the scars have faded – not all,” said Jackie with relief.

Jackie encourages people with H.S. to seek out the best therapy for relief of this disease. If you suspect you have H.S., check our website for more information on

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.