Overactive sweat glands commonly occur in the feet, hands, armpits, and groin area of the body. Sweat glands are present in all areas of the body, over 400 glands per square centimeter on the palms and soles. There are two types of sweat glands Apocrine gland that opens into a hair follicle (example groin and armpit sweat glands). The areas of the skin where the apocrine sweat glands are can become wet when a person is emotionally upset, frightened, or in pain. They are also active during sexual arousal. These glands begin to secrete at puberty and the function is unknown. Other animals use these glands to produce a scent to attract the opposite sex, which may be true to us humans as well.
The other type of sweat glands is called eccrine glands and they open onto the surface of the skin. These glands sweat when a person becomes hot; the sweat or perspiration helps to control the body’s temperature. When the body’s temperature rises above normal, the nervous system stimulates eccrine glands to release sweat onto the surface of the skin. As the fluid evaporates, it carries heat away from the surface, cooling the skin. These glands also provide an emotional response to stimuli. The glands are common on the forehead, neck, and back, where they produce profuse sweat on hot days or during intense exercise. Moisture that appears on the palms and soles when a person is emotionally stressed is also from the eccrine glands.
Eccrine sweat is mostly water, but does contain small amounts of salts and wastes like urea and uric acid.
Diaphoresis, also known as hyperhidrosis, is a condition of excessive sweating that can be caused by menopause, physical exercise, fever, fear, and anger; but otherwise healthy individuals. Other medical conditions that may cause diaphoresis include: thyroid disorders, diabetes, drugs, tuberculosis, and heart attack. The actual medical condition that is causing the sweating should be treated to stop the sweating.
Axillary hyperhidrosis is when excessive amounts of sweat is produced by the armpit sweat glands, commonly starts around puberty.
Antiperspirants that contain aluminum chloride can be used to help control the underarm sweat. They can be found over-the-counter or as a prescription. There is also oral prescription medication that can reduce sweating. Botox injections can be used for temporary relief, usually last about 6 months. Surgery, in very severe cases, is also an option.
Sweating, for most people, is just embarrassing; but for some people with severe diaphoresis it can make every day life complicated like: driving a car or holding a pen. Sweating is a natural, normal function that is used to control the body’s temperature; but excessive sweating can be a medical condition that needs treatment. Overactive sweat glands can occur in both men and women at any age, but there are treatment options that have been proven effective.