Gag reflex and other apocrine gland activators

Q&AGag reflex and other apocrine gland activators
Mokey asked 4 years ago
I am wondering if anyone else has experienced certain activities that seem to activate this sweat and odor. I can have odor with no sweat or very little sweat. I noticed that if I am brushing my tongue and my gag reflex is activated, I will feel it in my armpits. If I rub my armpit right after gagging I will smell the odor, even if I just showered. Also being cold seems to activate this same area, which doesnt make sense becuase I'm not sweating? I am a naturally very cold person, always have cold hands and feet. Even if I am doing a very heavy workout I dont sweat a lot in terms of producing lots of sweat the way other people seem to. It's all very confusing.
1 Answers
drarmpit Staff answered 4 years ago
Hi Mokey, thanks for sharing your story. The answers lays in the types of sweat glands we have. There are three types of sweat glands: 1/ eccrine sweat glands, that mainly produce water and salts and cool the body down by secreting moisture (creates wetness); 2/ sebaceous sweat glands, that are mainly located on the upper body parts (face and back amongst others) and secrete lipids on skin (creates fattiness) and 3/ apocrine sweat glands, that are mainly only located in armpits and groin and secrete precursors for body odor (creates malodor).  You describe yourself as a cold person. As such your body doesn't need to produce a lot of eccrine sweat, because your body temperature is never too high. So you will rarely have a lot of moisture on your skin because of your body temperature being rather low. The odor really comes from the apocrine sweat glands and has nothing to do with the eccrine sweat glands. They are activated with stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol) and start secreting lipids, hormones, amino acids (a whole mix that resembles a bit earwax). You describe having odor with a gag reflex or being cold - then this is a hormonal reaction of the body. Gag reflex -> stress hormones produced -> apocrine sweat produced -> malodor generated in the underarms. Very much a hormonal process that has little or nothing to do with actual "wet" sweating. Hope this helps! Best, Chris