HomeHyperhidrosis SurgeryUnderstanding Blocked Sweat Glands And Treatment Options

Understanding Blocked Sweat Glands And Treatment Options

Understanding Blocked Sweat Glands and Treatment Options

Human skin is outfitted with sweat glands that play an essential role in the body’s temperature regulation. Under normal circumstances, these glands produce sweat, which then evaporates on the skin surface, thus cooling the body. However, problems may arise when these sweat glands get blocked. When this happens, it can lead to a variety of issues, such as skin irritation and uncomfortable conditions like hyperhidrosis and miliaria. In this article, we will delve into blocked sweat glands and surgical treatment options for these conditions.

A blocked sweat gland condition that attracts a lot of attention is hyperhidrosis. This condition is characterized by an abnormal amount of sweat unrelated to exercise or warm temperatures. In fact, individuals with hyperhidrosis may sweat even when they are at rest or in a cool environment. Once the sweat glands are blocked, the sweat is unable to reach the skin’s surface, leading to skin irritability and discomfort.

Miliaria, commonly known as heat rash, is another condition that results from blocked sweat glands. The blockage occurs within the sweat ducts where sweat seeps into the surrounding skin layers, causing a rash. The ducts may get blocked due to a number of reasons such as excessive sweating, wearing tight clothes, excessive use of lotions and creams, among others.

Various treatment options are available for these conditions, which range from use of topical creams, antiperspirants, use of oral medications, iontophoresis, Botox injections, to surgical options. But before any treatment is administered, it is critically important to first diagnose the root cause of the blocked sweat glands. This is typically done by physical examination and in some cases, additional tests such as thermoregulatory sweat test, or starch-iodine test can be carried out.

The most invasive treatment and perhaps last resort is the surgery to treat hyperhidrosis. This is generally reserved for severe cases where the other options have been unsuccessful. During the surgery, the surgeon disrupts the nerve signals that are responsible for excessive sweating. In thoracoscopic sympathectomy, for instance, the thoracic surgeon will make small incisions under the armpits to gain access to the nerves affecting the sweat glands.

ETS (Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy) comes with its fair share of risks and potential side effects. One of the major concerns is compensatory sweating where, after the surgery, the body starts to sweat excessively in other areas to make up for the reduced sweat in the treated regions. Other risks include lung problems, nerve injury and Horner’s syndrome (a condition affecting facial nerves).

A gentler surgical procedure is local sweat gland extraction or curettage. This procedure – performed under local anesthesia – involves making a minimal incision and literally scraping or suctioning out the sweat glands. It is less invasive and usually leaves lesser scars as compared to ETS. It provides good results for axillary (armpit) hyperhidrosis but is not recommended for the treatment of hyperhidrosis in hands or face.

In summary, blocked sweat glands can cause significant discomfort and adversely affect the quality of life if left untreated. Therefore, it is important for individuals dealing with severe hyperhidrosis to seek medical advice and consider potential treatment options, including the surgical route where necessary. Remember, it is important to weigh the benefits against risks before opting for any method of intervention.