The average adult human has between two and four million sweat glands covering his body. These are divided into three types of gland--eccrine, apocrine and a hybrid gland called apoeccrine glands. Eccrine sweat glands primarily work as thermoregulators, though they can produce sweat on the soles and the palms as an emotional response. Apoccrine glands produce a more viscous liquid than do eccrine glands. Like apoccrine glands, apoeccrine glands are primarily located in the axilla (underarms) and the anogenital region. Apoeccrine glands become functional at puberty, open directly to the skin and produce about 10 times as much sweat as eccrine glands.
The International Hyperhidrosis Society estimates that 3 percent of the population suffers from excessive sweating. One form of hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) occurs primarily in the axilla and groin regions. Called “hidradentis suppurtiva,” this disorder occurs when apocrine sweat glands become occluded (clogged) and inflamed.
Once a gland clogs, the surrounding skin becomes red and tender. Over the next hours to days, the lesion grows and begins to excrete a fluid that ranges in color from clear to yellow. As the lesion heals, it forms a scar.
The disorder begins at puberty and can last for years with periods of remission and flares. UAB Health Systems reports that hidradentis suppurativa affects African-American women more than the rest of the U.S. population, though men and women of all races can suffer from it.
Factors that exacerbate the condition include excess weight, wearing tight clothing and exercise. Treatment options include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medicines, application of topical antibiotics, and liposuction, which removes the apocrine sweat glands along with fat. Additionally, losing weight and wearing loose clothing may be helpful.
Inguinal or Hexel’s Hyperhidrosis
Inguinal (meaning in the groin region), or Hexel's hyperhidrosis is both focal (localized) and primary, meaning that it is not caused by a secondary event, such as medications. Inguinal hyperhidrosis usually begins in adolescence, is more prevalent in boys, appears on the upper, inner thighs, genital area, suprapubic area and may include the lower gluteus maximus, the gluteal fold and the intergluteal cleft. According to a study reported in Pub Med, inguinal hyperhidrosis can significantly affect the sufferer’s quality of life as the condition produces excessive sweat in the groin area that can seep through clothing and appear as if the sufferer has urinated on himself.
Heat, stress, physical activity, excessive fluid intake, premenstrual tension and sexual activity can aggravate the condition. Wearing nonbreathing synthetic clothes can increase the amount of sweating. Intradermal injections of botulinum toxin or BOTOX can relieve the condition.
Tinea cruris, called “jock itch,” is a fungal infection of the skin that affects the groin region. Massachusettes General Hospital reports that the infection is possibly caused by a cross infection from athlete’s foot and that jock itch affects adolescent boys more than girls. Because the fungus thrives in moist heat, groin perspiration creates an ideal breeding ground. Those who perspire in the groin or who do not clean the area regularly are prone to longer periods of infection.