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Wales Online
Wales Online
Josie Adnitt & Steven Smith

Mum left unable to sweat after surgery for painful skin condition

A mum left unable to sweat following surgery to treat a painful skin condition says Prince Andrew's infamous claim infuriated her. Amy O’Connell, 38, went under the knife after being diagnosed with hidradenitis suppurativa, which leaves sufferers with painful lumps.

She had her lymph nodes, hair follicles and sweat glands removed - which means she now doesn't sweat from the neck down, she says. Amy now finds hot weather intolerable and can even faint, she said.

And she has blasted Prince Andrew's "audacity", after he claimed in a BBC interview that he doesn't sweat. The royal said he couldn't physically sweat when questioned about sexual assault allegations.

Amy said: "Your body has to sweat or you die – we were laughing at the audacity of Prince Andrew. It was so infuriating - it’s like saying, 'My body forgot how to breathe'.

“Sweating is such an issue that I can’t be out when it’s too hot as my body can’t function and I black out. It’s a lifelong journey, (there's) no end to this, it’s a battle of finding new ways to cope and deal with it. While I was getting used to it there were times when I blacked out in the street - my daughter is a young carer and as a family we’ve had to figure out ways to deal with this.”

Amy said the condition first started to show itself when she hit puberty as a teenager, but she wasn’t diagnosed until 2009. She was prescribed the strong acne medication Roaccutane to try to treat the problem areas, but found it didn’t work.

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With 30 to 40 clusters of pus-filled boils across her body, Amy said her mental health was heavily affected by the condition. After giving birth to her son in 2012 she experienced a flare-up and a dermatologist suggested they remove the source of the problem.

In 2013 she underwent painful surgery on her left armpit to remove lymph nodes, sweat glands and hair follicles. This was followed by similar surgery under her breasts in 2014 and again on her right arm in 2017. Her sweating problem then followed - and she says she is still adjusting to life now.

Amy O'Connell's arm after her op (Amy O'Connell/SWNS)

Amy, from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, said: “There’s not any rhyme or reason to the flare-ups. After another year of going through different specialists, a dermatologist said in Europe the treatment is just to cut it out and asked if I wanted surgery.

“I had operations on my arms first and had to have therapy, as the scarring was dramatic. I had an operation on my left arm and it changed my life – they cut out whole lymph nodes, sweat glands and hair follicles.

Amy O'Connell went under the knife after being diagnosed with hidradenitis suppurativa (Amy O'Connell/SWNS)

“But my children couldn’t look at me when I came back; I looked like I’d been put together in a Saw movie, it was very graphic for how small the procedure should have been. My body took a long time to adjust, I’d say I’m still adjusting now - I go from alright to really really hot really fast.

“It’s not actually that rare, but when you have them on your boobs, groin and armpits, no one wants to talk about it. My mental health is the main thing, but it’s so physically painful because it’s in all the places you have high levels of movement."

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