Our skin plays an important role in regulating body temperature. Sweat glands in our body help in the secretion of sweat. It is seen that about 1% of human body weight has to be evaporated as sweat to prevent a 10-degree rise in temperature. Sweating is controlled by the brain. This mechanism is a complex process involving mainly the brain, sweat glands, and skin. Increased sweating can be normal when there is a rise in body temperature.
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Sweat mainly contains a salt solution and some electrolytes. Sweat glands help in, Manufacture and release compounds that act as a defensive barrier of the skin, and in wound healing.
Secretions from sweat glands have certain compounds that contribute to the immunity in human body, which prevents us from various types of disease causing agents.
There are approximately 2-4 million sweat glands present throughout the human body. This number does not increase with age, but the density of sweat glands per cm will change as the skin stretches. Our palms of the hand, soles of feet, and forehead have the highest density of sweat glands.
Types of Sweat Gland
Types of sweat gland are present in the human body:
- Eccrine (also known as altricial Type)- which is not connected to hair follicle-It is the most prevalent sweat gland. It produces sweat in response to a hot environment or exercise, emotional stimulus also plays an important role. It can produce sweat in case of fear, anxiety, and pain.
- Apocrine (also known as eparchial type)-which is linked to the hair follicle.
- Apoeccrine gland– It is a mixture of an apocrine and eccrine gland in one structure. It has an increased ability to produce sweat. This gland is found on the hairy areas of the body like the axilla (armpits), on the chest, genital and anal regions. Sweat by this gland is oily and lacks an odour. It is rich in proteins, lipids, and steroids.
Sweat contains sodium chloride, magnesium, phosphate, and sulphate in smaller concentrations. It also contains bicarbonate and lactate in some amounts. Proteins are also released in sweat which is necessary for is the well-being of the skin. Some amount of organic solutes like glucose are also present in sweat. It is seen that if a person has raised levels of blood glucose, it could lead to
increased amounts of glucose being secreted by sweat on the skin surface. It can also lead to various types of skin infections.
Besides this sweat also contain some amount of iron, copper, zinc, manganese, and iodine. Sweat contains 0.2 to 1 per cent of sodium and chloride, high amounts of potassium, lactate, urea, ammonia and amino acids.
The daily water loss from the body is about 100 to 8,000 ml/day.
Disorder of Sweat Glands
Cystic Fibrosis– It is a genetic disorder, in which the sweat gland is unable to properly reabsorb chloride ions in sweat. This results in an increased chloride concentration in the sweat, causing less amount of sodium in sweat. The overall result of this mechanism causes increased sodium chloride in sweat.
Hyperhidrosis– It is a disorder seen in individuals who sweat more than what is required by the
body to maintain the optimal temperature. This disorder gradually affects work, productivity, confidence, social comfort, the emotional well-being of an individual. It is an easily neglected disorder. Excessive sweating causes increased skin susceptibility to infection as the body is continuously in a damp environment.
Two types of hyperhidrosis
Focal hyperhidrosis– It is known as primary hyperhidrosis. Its cause is unknown. This is called as focal as excessive sweat is confined to certain areas like:
Underarms (axillary Hyperhidrosis): It causes wet patches and stains on clothes.
Hands (Palmar hyperhidrosis): The patient finds it difficult to work with paper. Many patients notice that their hands not only feel moist but also cold.
Feet (Plantar hyperhidrosis); It causes wet footwear.
Face (facial hyperhidrosis); It causes uncontrollable facial blushing. These individuals can flush bright red during everyday situations. It can cause embarrassment and isolation. It can also affect the quality of life.
Generalized hyperhidrosis: It is also known as secondary hyperhidrosis. It is caused by the following causes;
- Hormonal causes
- Nerve damage
- Drugs like tricyclic antidepressants, opioids drugs like fluoxetine (Prozac) can cause excessive perspiration
- Diabetes mellitius\Diabetes insipidus
- Thyroid related disorder mainly thyrotoxicosis
- Herpes zoster
- Nerve relate disorder like peripheral neuropathy (it is related to other symptoms like pain, tingling, burning, numbness), spinal cord disease
Unilateral circumscribed idiopathic hyperhidrosis is a disorder that has excessive sweating in a certain area of skin which is surrounded by dry skin primarily seen in the face and arms.
In this excessive sweating generally occurs over the whole body.
Sometimes excessive sweating is also seen due to emotional causes like fear or anxiety. It is generally seen on palms, soles, and axillae.
Localized symmetrical hyperhidrosis– It is named so as it affects certain body sites(localized), involving both sides equally (symmetrical). It involves areas like palms, soles, underarm skin, face, and scalp. The cause is not known. It begins in the teens and tends to improve slowly as a person gets older. It is known as focal or primary hyperhidrosis.
Sometimes anxiety can cause excessive perspiration. It is also seen that worry about sweating can cause further sweating which worsens the problem.
Symptoms of hyperhidrosis
- Visible sweat
- Wet clothes
- Clammy handshake
- Problems in writing on paper.
- Bad odour under the arms.
- Bacterial infection if feet are involved.
Advice regarding excessive perspiration–
- Reduce stress.
- Avoid food that may trigger sweating.
- Wear cool clothing.
Excessive Perspiration Homeopathic Remedies
It is given to a person who is very apprehensive. This is worse towards the evening. The patient has a fear of loss of property, fear of misfortune, fear of any disease. He is forgetful, confused. It is given to a patient who is in despair. It is given when a patient has night sweats. This is seen especially on the head, neck, and chest. The sweat is so much over the head of children, that the pillow becomes wet.
It is best suited to a person who is fat and has a fair complexion. All his muscles are relaxed. He has excessive perspiration with a cold and damp feeling. His perspiration often smells sour. This remedy is not recommended for old people.
Dosage-30, 4 pellets, 3 times a day, for 5 days.
It is given to a person who dislikes water, had dry and hard hair and skin. The patient feels hungry around 11 a.m. This is given to a patient who is very dirty and various skin diseases. Standing is worse for these patients. The patient has a tendency to the recurrence of the disease. It is given when a patient has dry skin with great thirst. The patient has night sweat which is seen in the back of the head. The patient has perspiration that smells like garlic.
Dosage- This remedy can be given in 30 potencies, 4 pellets, every 4 hours for 4-5 days.
This remedy is indicated to people who are lean, pale, with weak muscles. These patients are very irritable and they are worried about business affairs. They have pale faces and their eyes are sunken. They often have dark rings. It is given when a patient has sweat on their face. The patient has night sweats. This sweat is profuse and patients feel cold. The patient has at times burning, dry hot skin. Sometimes he has profuse sweat. It is given when a patient has profuse urination.
Dosage- 30, 4 pellets 3 times a day for 7 days, till improvement.
It is given to a person who is in constant worry. The patient is easily frightened. He is so much frightened that it follows suffocative attacks. It is a very good remedy when a patient has heat and perspiration on the face. One of the characteristic features of the patient is that he has profuse sweat over the entire body during waking hours. He has dry heat of skin during sleep.
Dosage- Q (tincture), 5-7 drops, 3-4 times a day, for 5 days.
This remedy is very good for profuse perspiration. It is given when the patient’s face, ears are deeply flushed and drops of perspiration break out all over the body along with watering of mouth and excessive salivation. It is a very good remedy when a patient has abnormal sweats, especially at night. It is also a good remedy when a patient has thyroid disease as it is a specific remedy for exophthalmic goiter. The patient also complains of dryness of the skin. It is also given when a patient has perspiration, especially in tuberculosis.
Dosage- 6 potencies, 4 pellets, at an interval of 6- 8 hours, for 7 days.