Sudoriferous Glands

In the deep vascular inner layer of the skin, otherwise known as the dermis, are sweat glands which are also referred to as sudoriferous glands. The glands are tiny tubular skin structures that produce sweat and help in regulating the body temperature as well as keeping the skin pH within healthy and normal ranges.

The sweat produced by sudoriferous glands is colorless, acidic, transparent and has a certain odor. They are also responsible for maintaining the skin elasticity. The glands are found in every part of the body apart from parts of the external genitalia and the nipples, with most of them concentrated on the soles and palms. There are two types of sudoriferous glands. These are apocrine and eccrine sudoriferous glands.

Apocrine sweat glands

Apocrine sweat glands are found around the groin area and under the arms. These places have the most hair concentration and apocrine glands use hair follicles to discharge secretions. Excessive or an increase in body temperature is what triggers the apocrine glands to secrete. An increase in body temperature can be triggered by several issues like anxiety, hormonal fluctuations and stress. The sweat produced by these glands has a stronger body odor than that produced by the other gland. It is milky and smells because it mixes with bacteria on the skin. It is for this reason that many people use deodorants on their armpits to try and hide the foul odor. The apocrine glands do not appear until a person reaches puberty.

Eccrine sweat glands

When body temperature rises, our bodies produce sweat. Eventually the sweat evaporates giving the body a cooling effect. The sweat glands responsible for that cooling effect are called eccrine sweat glands. They are very close to skin surface and are found in every part of the body. Eccrine sweat glands also help with the elimination of excess electrolytes and salt in the body.

The functions of sudoriferous glands

The main function of the sudoriferous glands is to produce sweat which helps with the following:

  • Regulates body temperature
  • Excretion of excess electrolytes and salt

Does sweat have any benefits?

Many people may view sweat as a bother because of the odor and sometimes the embarrassment it causes, especially when one sweats in a crowd. Without sweating, so many of our body functions would suffer. Below are some of the benefits of sweating:

Endorphin production

After exercising, the body produces or releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for pain reduction in the body. They are more like morphine as they numb any pain the body may be going through. Besides that, they also help to calm the body down. They are like sedatives. It is through sweating that the body produces these chemicals. Other endorphin health benefits are:

  • Strengthening of the heart
  • Increase in energy levels
  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Helps with toning and strengthening of the muscles
  • Building and strengthening the bone structure
  • Helps to fight excess body fat
  • Improves body health and fitness
  • Lowering the risk of kidney stones
  • Improves immunity and fighting off bacterial infections and viruses from attacking the body

What happens when sweat glands are blocked?

Some people may experience blocked sweat glands once in a while. This mostly occurs in places with high oil concentration. The blocked sweat glands appear on the skin like small bumps without any breakouts. If left untreated, they break out and turn into painful small wounds which later turn into scars. This condition is called hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) or acne.

It is not exactly clear what causes the sweat glands to become blocked. In most cases however, the blockage occurs during puberty which may be because of a change in hormonal functions in the body. Women experience this problem more often than men, especially during their menstrual cycle.

The other cause may be attributed to a poor immune system in the body. Though it is a problem that many people fight from time to time, it is harder for those with a poor immune system. Getting rid of the problem is even harder for such people.

Some of the people that experience this problem also may have inherited it from one of their relatives. Genes play a big role in how our bodies develop. If someone in the family has or had the problem, then there is a likelihood that the condition is passed through family generations.

Myths about clogged sweat glands

Some people may assume that those people with clogged sweat glands have poor hygiene. That is not true. You do not get clogged sudoriferous glands because you do not clean yourself properly.

Is there anything else that can trigger sweat gland blockages?

Other things that may cause the sweat glands to block are:

  • Sudden weight gain
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal changes in both females and males
  • Excessive heat
  • Menstrual cycles in women
  • In some cases, excessive sweating

Symptoms of blocked sweat glands

It is very easy to tell when you have blocked sweat glands. They appear as small pimples on the skin and they form in those places where there is rubbing of the skin. These are places like the groin area and the armpits. Other places where they appear are the thighs, the genitals, under the breasts and around the anus. Sometimes the pimples do not stay for long for some people while for others they may take a while before they disappear. They also appear on the same spots repeatedly though sometimes they move to other parts of the body.

In extreme cases, those with blocked sweat glands may have painful bleeding or pus producing breakouts. Others may develop tracts on their skin making the affected parts appear spongy.

If left untreated, these may cause infections which might affect many other parts of the body. In very rare cases, some of the blocked sweat glands may lead to cancer. They can also lead to low self-esteem.

Is sweating too much dangerous?

Though sweating is a natural process that has many benefits for the body, too much sweating is not good. It causes both social and health problems. Some of the factors that may cause excessive sweating are:

  • Medications for diseases like overactive thyroid, high blood pressure, and diabetes to name but a few. Antidepressants may also cause excessive sweating.
  • Certain kinds of food
  • Injury
  • After a surgery
  • Infections like cancer
  • A stroke
  • Menopause for women