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Excessive Sweating: Here is why and what you can do about it

by Rishabh

Sweating is a necessary process that cools down the body. When your body starts to overheat, the nervous system stimulates the sweat glands to release perspiration. As the moisture evaporates off of your skin, they take some body heat into the atmosphere. More than 99 percent of sweat is water, along with electrolytes like salt. While a small amount of toxic substances can find their way out of the body through perspiration, detoxification mainly occurs in the liver, kidneys, and lungs and not through the skin.


Sweating is therefore normal, but, if you sweat excessively, more than the parameters of normal it is a situation worth understanding. At the very least, excessive sweating is a hassle. But sometimes heavy sweating is sign of a medical condition.

What Is Excessive Sweating?

There are natural variations in how people sweat, just as there are variations in other bodily functions. Some people sweat more easily than others. Excessive sweating goes beyond the normal physical need to sweat. You may sweat heavily for no reason, when it’s not appropriate to the circumstances. Even if you are not working out or are under no anxious situation, if the body sweats, this is actually excessive sweating.

Getting Help for Excessive Sweating

Experts say that excessive sweating is something that people don’t take seriously enough. Many ignore their symptoms for months, years, and sometimes decades. That’s a bad idea for a couple of reasons.

If heavy sweating has no underlying medical cause, it is called primary hyperhidrosis. This type occurs when the nerves are responsible for activating your sweat glands. Once triggered they become overactive and call for more perspiration even when it is not needed. Primary hyperhidrosis may be at least partially hereditary.

If the sweating can be attributed to an underlying medical condition, it is called secondary hyperhidrosis.

Health conditions that may cause excessive sweating include:

  • Diabetes
  • Endocarditis
  • Fever of undetermined cause
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Heart attack
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Leukemia
  • Malaria
  • Medication side effects, such as sometimes experienced when taking some beta blockers and antidepressants
  • Menopause
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Tuberculosis

While there is no cure for excessive sweating, there are ways to help control the symptoms. They include:

Avoid Spicy Foods and Caffeine

A strong coffee or spice meal might make your taste buds happy, but they could also stimulate your sweat glands in a not-so-comfortable way.

Caffeine and spices can activate neurotransmitters, called acetylcholine, which are located in your brain. Anything that stimulates these neurotransmitters can sometimes affect the glands that cause sweating.

Swipe on Antiperspirant

Sweat production is at its lowest at night, giving the active ingredients in antiperspirants it is a better chance to get into your pores and block perspiration in the morning. It is okay to reapply in the morning, though not needed as the product does not wash away while taking a bath because the ingredients have already penetrated your sweat ducts.

Swipe on antiperspirant at other sweat prone areas

An average person has two to four million sweat glands working as the body’s coolant system to protect it from overheating. Hands, feet, face, back, chest, and even groin have high concentrations of sweat glands. Gliding or spraying antiperspirants on these areas can help keep you dry, but skip sensitive areas such as your face or private parts.

Go for Clinical variations

Go for clinical strength antiperspirants. These are more effective at stopping sweat because they have higher concentrations of active ingredients. You can get clinical strength formulas for your favorite brands, at the drugstore without a prescription.

Go for Prescription-Level Help

Besides hot outdoor temperatures or a heavy workout, emotions such as feeling stressed during a job interview can also make you sweat. Anything you can do to decrease your anxiety, such as deep breathing or other relaxation techniques, will decrease the potential stimulation of neurotransmitters that activates your sweat glands. Consider seeing a doctor who may decide to prescribe oral medications that can help decrease sweating or suggest other treatment options.

Consider Surgical Options

Iontophoresis is treatment which uses low-level electrical impulses to temporarily disable the sweat glands. One approach is to cut a nerve in the chest that triggers excessive sweating. Another is to surgically remove some of the sweat glands.

The MiraDry Procedure eliminates sweat glands in the underarm safely and non-invasively, so people can expect lasting results and stop excessive underarm sweat from interfering with their lives.

Botox injections

Injections of Botox can temporarily stop the nerves from triggering excessive sweating. It is approved for treatment of excessive underarm sweating.

Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol increases your heart rate and dilates blood vessels in your skin, bringing blood to your skin’s surface. This in turn raises your body temp, which can cause you to sweat more.  Only about 5 percent of alcohol leaves your body through urine, breath, and sweat; 95 percent is metabolized by the liver.

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