Sweat Glands

Sweat Glands

Sweat glands help the body regulate its temperature. This write-up provides information on the functions performed by these glands.
The human body has more than 2 million sweat glands. Also known sudoriferous glands. these coiled tubular glands are present in the dermis. These glands are connected by ducts to the pores on the surface of the skin. Sweat is a clear, salty fluid that is produced in the coiled part. When this sweat evaporates, it produces a cooling effect. These glands are located in the lower layer of the skin along with hair follicles and nerve endings. The nerve cells from the sympathetic nervous system that are connected to these glands control them.

Eccrine and Apocrine Glands

The sudoriferous glands are classified into eccrine and apocrine glands. The eccrine glands produce watery secretions that help regulate the body's temperature. They perform the important functions of thermoregulation and excretion. These glands are active since birth, whereas the apocrine glands become active after puberty. The aprocrine glands produce oily, viscous secretions. These are sensitive to adrenaline, and are responsible for emotional sweating that is induced by fear, anxiety, stress, pain, and sexual stimulation. The secretions act as pheromones. These contain lipids, steroids, and proteins. Though the secretions are odorless, these can cause foul odor due to microbial action.

Problems Associated with Sweat Glands

Excessive Sweating
Sweating helps the body cool off, but problems arise when one sweats profusely due to overactive glands. This condition is medically referred to as hyperhidrosis. We sweat more when we are nervous, because at that time the sympathetic nervous system might be overactive. Hyperhidrosis could also be caused due to hormonal imbalances, prolonged use of certain medications, or certain medical conditions. Uncontrollable sweating can be quite discomforting. Moreover, it can also lead to body odor. To counter this problem, it is extremely important that you take care of your personal hygiene. You should use an antibacterial soap to reduce the chances of an infection due to bacterial action.

Inflammation
Sometimes, these glands could become inflamed, thereby causing the formation of lumps in the armpit area. You must consult a doctor if you observe an abscess. Hidradenitis suppurativa is a medical condition that is characterized by multiple abscesses due to inflammation of the sudoriferous glands. These are generally formed under the armpits and in the groin area. Antibiotics are used for treating this condition, but sometimes, a surgical procedure might be required for the removal of the infected glands to curb further inflammation. So, if you see red boils or lumps in these areas, seek medical help. It would also be advisable to wear loose clothing and refrain from performing vigorous activities that cause profuse sweating.

Those who suffer from excessive sweating must take all precautions and maintain good personal hygiene. Consult a doctor to determine if profuse sweating is caused due to a medical problem. Lifestyle-related changes might also be able to help in tackling this problem of overactive, swollen, or infected sudoriferous glands.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.