Sweating 101: What Are Armpit Sweat Glands and How Do They Work?

Are you embarrassed by the sweat patches that develop under your arms within five minutes of putting on a new shirt? Excessively sweaty armpits can be uncomfortable, damage your self-confidence, and affect your daily life.

But how do armpit sweat glands work? And what can you do to treat your sweaty armpits? Keep reading to find out!

How Does Sweat Work?

Can you believe that there are millions of sweat glands all over your body? Anywhere between two to four million, in fact! The one type of sweat gland in your armpit, much like the majority throughout your body, is the eccrine sweat glands.

These types of sweat glands release a clear, odorless fluid and are imperative for aiding temperature regulation. The heat in your body is released through these glands, cooling you down.

So where does body odor come from? Well, there is another type of less common sweat gland called the apocrine gland. These are confined to the armpits and genital regions and secrete a thick fluid, which when it comes into contact with bacteria on the skin creates body odor.

These sweat glands are activated by nerves that respond to your body. This could be stimuli in the form of messages from the brain that the body is too hot, hormones, physical activity, or exercise.

Why Are My Armpits So Sweaty?

Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, is not related to physical exercise. The eccrine glands are responsible for this uncomfortable condition as they overreact to stimuli and produce more sweat than needed.

Anxiety can also be one of the causes of sweaty armpits. On the other hand, full-body sweats can be brought on by certain medications or conditions such as menopause and hyperthyroidism.

How to Treat Over Active Armpit Sweat Glands

Begin by making lifestyle changes and through this process of elimination, you may identify the cause of excessive sweating. Avoid certain foods such as spicy food or caffeine.

Try antiperspirants with aluminum chloride as these are usually quite effective. Wear clothing made of natural fibers such as cotton as this doesn’t suffocate the skin.

It can also be a genetic trait and if this is the case, you would have experienced excessive sweating since childhood.

Treatment for Hyperhidrosis

If hyperhidrosis is affecting your quality of life, you can seek treatment options. Speak to your doctor about these available treatments:

  • Prescription Antiperspirants – These are stronger than normal antiperspirants
  • Anticholinergics – Medication that reduces nerve signals
  • Electrotherapy – Low-intensity electrical currents to inhibit sweat glands
  • Botox – This works for up to six months and is effective for underarms
  • Surgery – Removal of sweat glands

Say Goodbye to Sweaty Armpits

Now that you know how armpit sweat glands work and how to treat overactive glands, you can tackle the problem. Remember to speak to a doctor if you suffer from full body sweats as it may point to a more sinister underlying condition.

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