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Has a blocked eccrine sweat gland on back. Suggest medicine to unblock it?

Dec 2013
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Answered by

Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 4127 Questions
Hi - My wife has a blocked eccrine sweat gland on her back. Is there a cream or treatment that will serve to unblock it. There is a small hard mass of accumulated sweat accumulated under the skin. This is her second one. Two years ago, I was able to squeeze the blockage out through the pore after probing with a sterilized needle. No fun.


Posted Wed, 23 Oct 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Sanjay Kumar Kanodia 38 minutes later
Brief Answer:
It is a sebaceous cyst

Detailed Answer:
Welcome and thanks for posting your query to XXXXXXX

It appears from your query that your wife is suffering from Sebaceous cyst. It does not appear to be blocked eccrine gland.

There are certain points in favor of sebaceous cyst:

1. Presence on the back.
2. Age group for the same: though it can occur in anybody after adulthood but more common in elderly age group.
3. Feeling of hard mass accumulation under the skin.

The eccrine sweat gland blockage remains only for dew days and then subsides by itself. There is no need of any intervention in the same. If it occurs then do not form a hard mass like feeling and at the maximum it do not grow more than pin head size which we call as milia. So the most close possibility is of sebaceous cyst rather than eccrine gland blockage.

There is no cream or ointment which can resolve it. The best treatment is by simple excision or by cauterization by machine.

You tried to do the crude form of excision in the previous cyst which luckily gone uneventful. But do not try to do the same this time. As these cysts if pinched,popped or squeezed have the tendency to get secondarily infected.

I suggest you to do nothing in this cyst as these are totally benign in nature. At the maximum these grows in size to the tip of finger and that too in many years. So leave it alone and if your wife feels any change in size or pain then can be very easily excised or cauterized.

Even if you think of eccrine gland blockage then nothing is required as it will subside by itself in few days to weeks.

I hope these informations help you. Tell me if you have any further queries.

With regards,
Dr Sanjay Kumar Kanodia
MD (Dermatology)
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Has a blocked eccrine sweat gland on back. Suggest medicine to unblock it? 4 hours later

Thanks for your help. This sebaceous cyst is now quite dense (hard to the touch), about one inch in diameter and is a noticeable bump on my wife's upper back to the extent that she is embarrassed by it. From your previous advice, I assume that she should see her doctor and have him excise it. I will not try to use a needle to excise it as per your advice. The pore that is blocked is quite noticeable.

Nothing else we can do, correct??

Thank You

Answered by Dr. Sanjay Kumar Kanodia 15 hours later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Hello Sir,

Welcome to the forum again and sorry to reply you bit late.

You got it quite right that you should not try to do anything from your own side. As the cyst is not big enough as well as is not infected ( as there is no redness and pain in it) so the best part is that it can be very easily taken out. It needs a small XXXXXXX under sterile environment to take it out completely. It is very small procedure under experienced hands and needs just 5 minutes.

So you can very well go for excision of the same.

Hope clears all the doubts.

with best health wishes,

Dr Sanjay
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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