How many times have you found yourself wondering, “Why do I sweat so much?” 

You’re not alone. There are millions of people out there who find themselves asking the same question. The good news is, there’s probably a reason that you sweat excessively. And once you determine the cause, it’s a lot easier to treat the problem. 

12 Possible Causes for Excessive Sweating:

  • 1. Hyperhidrosis (Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis)
  • 2. High number of sweat glands
  • 3. Diet
  • 4. Heat and Humidity
  • 5. Anxiety and Stress
  • 6. Physical Exertion and Exercise 
  • 7. Pregnancy 
  • 8. Menopause
  • 9. Diabetes
  • 10. Puberty
  • 11. Medications 
  • 12. Unrelated Disease (Secondary Hyperhidrosis)

Understanding how sweat works is the first step to understanding why you might be sweating more than normal.

Why do we sweat?

You might think sweat is just a spontaneous oozing of salty secretions on you skin. But there’s more to sweat than soggy armpits and sweaty handshakes.

Sweating is a critical cooling function that keeps you from overheating.

Think of a car. Your metabolism is like the engine of car. As it runs it produces heat. If a car engine gets too hot, it will quickly overheat and stop. To prevent this, your car has a radiator that circulates coolant around and through the engine. The coolant carries away excessive heat and keeps the engine cool and running.

When your body “engine” heats up, it too is at risk of overheating and shutting down (heat stroke). Fortunately, your body has coolant too! Your extra body heat gets released through sweat glands in the form of sweat on your skin. When body temperatures get extreme, your body will produce even more sweat to expel that extra heat.

Exercise, stressful situations, or digesting large amounts of protein (meat sweats) are just a few things that can trigger excessive sweating.

For some, excessive sweating happens without warning and for no reason. Even normal breathing can produce a set of sizable sweat tacos.

Why do I sweat so much?

Like a choose-your-own-adventure book, this question can take us down different paths leading to very different conclusions. Let’s explore some of the reasons you might be sweating more than normal.

1. Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive, often unpredictable sweating. It’s the kind of sweating that’s more than the body needs to cool itself. Way more. Four to five times more than normal. The sweating can occur at any time and for no reason. And while it’s a physiological condition, people who have it affirm that it also messes up their quality of life– socially, emotionally and psychologically.

A 2016 study involving more than 2000 participants, conducted by the International Hyperhidrosis Society, found that anxiety and depression were significantly higher in those with hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis affects an estimated 15.3 million people in the United States. (International Hyperhidrosis Society estimate.) It can affect the whole body or be isolated to specific areas of the body such as the hands, feet, face and forehead. It Hyperhidrosis usually begins in the adolescent years.

Excessive underarm sweating, also known as axillary hyperhidrosis, is one of the most common types of hyperhidrosis.  Other types of hyperhidrosis include: palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands), hyperhidrosis of the feet, and craniofacial hyperhidrosis (sweaty face and head).

Unfortunately, how or why hyperhidrosis occurs is still a mystery. Most types are caused an over stimulation of the sweat glands. In some cases, hyperhidrosis is a side effect of more serious underlying health conditions. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about irregular or excessive sweating. Don’t suffer in silence.

While we’re talking about it, here’s a list of hyperhidrosis treatments to discuss with your doctor (or dermatoligist).

☝️Wait a second, have we been talking about excessive sweating?
We actually sell some products that help reduce embarrassing, unwanted sweat. Check them out here!

2. High Number of Sweat Glands

If you feel you sweat more than normal, the answer could simply be that you have more sweat glands.  The average person has about 2 million sweat glands. The most common, Eccrine glands can be found everywhere except inside your ear canals, on your lips and on the genitals.

The area of greatest concentration is on the bottoms of your feet. Your lower back has the least concentration of sweat glands.

Apocrine glands, the other kind of sweat gland, are concentrated in your armpits. They’re also found on your scalp, eyelids, around your nipples and in your groin area. Perhaps that answers the question, “Why do I sweat so much down there?”

Some people have up to 5 million sweat glands. The equation is simple. More sweat glands equals more sweat. In other words, you just won the genetic lottery when it comes to sweat glands! Aren’t you lucky?

3. Diet

Your diet matters. You really are what you eat. Your eating habits can have a significant impact on your sweating.

Take for example, capsaicin, an active compound found in chili peppers. It’s what creates the heat spicy food lovers crave. This little-known substance fools your body into thinking that the temperature is rising. The result… a side of “sweat tacos” with those spicy nachos.

Spicy foods aren’t the only ones to blame. Processed fatty foods, coffee, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, and foods high in sodium can also contribute to excess sweating. If your diet includes large amounts of these foods, that might explain your elevated levels of perspiration. 

There are some people who sweat excessively when eating any food, even ice cream. Some sweat profusely just thinking about food. It’s called gustatory hyperhidrosis or Frey’s Syndrome.

Abnormal sweating when eating or sweating after eating can also occur for no known reason or can be a result of secondary hyperhidrosis. Diabetes, chronic headaches, shingles, herpes and Parkinson’s have all been known to cause gustatory sweating.

If you’re interested in learning more about diet and sweating, check out these article about foods that make sweat and another about foods that can reduce sweating.

4. Heat and Humidity

Hot, humid days are times when most of us get hit with tsunami-like waves of sweat. Like built -in fire suppression sprinklers, your sweat glands turn on to cool you down with refreshing sweat secretions. It’s normal. It’s healthy. It’s how your body fights overheating.

If you live in a hot climate that’s also humid, you’ll sweat more and the humidity in the air will hinder evaporation. That means your sweat is going to stick with you throughout the day. It’s simple. If you wear heavy, non-breathable clothing in warm weather, you’re going to sweat. And if it’s humid, well, that sweaty moisture is going to hang around awhile. Taking a couple of showers each day will help.

5. Anxiety and Stress

Challenging workouts (when sweating is accepted and even welcomed) and sweltering weather are not the only times you find might yourself drenched in salty sweat. We’ve all had uncomfortable, sweaty moments. First dates, tense interviews, important presentations and nerve wracking proposals all cause normal people to sweat more. What do these situations have in common?  They all create higher levels of stress, anxiety and nervousness.  

As humans, we experience stress and anxiety almost daily.  Stress puts your body on high alert and activates your flight or fight reaction. This human survival mode increases blood flow, heart rate, body temperature, and sweat output. Sweat production during high stress situations is completely normal and healthy. It’s just really unpleasant and can be embarrassing too.

Nervous sweating is a physiological response to psychological stress. Dr. Carisa Perry-Parrish is a psychologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Sweat Disorders in Baltimore, Maryland. She says, “Involuntary sweating is like your body betraying you.” In the worst way we want to appear confident but our body is saying, “I’m not sure I can do this.” And it’s a vicious circle. We sweat because we’re nervous and then we start feeling nervous because we’re sweating.

If sweating is excessive during stressful situations, it could indicate a more serious condition like hyperhidrosis. This kind of heavy sweating is often called “nervous sweating” or “stress sweat” and can usually be controlled with a strong antiperspirant.

6. Physical Exertion and Exercise

Let’s answer the question, “Why do I sweat so much when I exercise?” Remember, sweating is all about controlling temperature. When you exercise, as in an intense workout, eccrine sweat glands are mobilized into action to keep body temperature stable. Your brain’s thermostat (the hypothalamus) triggers sweat glands to release that all-too-familiar salty mixture of water, salt and electrolytes we call perspiration.

But it’s not just temperature that causes us to sweat. During exercise your heart rate, blood pressure and heavy breathing also cause your sweat glands to work overtime. Even when your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure return to normal, sweating can continue for a while because your muscles stay stimulated.

Exercise will cause you to sweat, and the more strenuous the activity, the more you’ll perspire. “But,” you ask, “why do I sweat so easily when other people seem to stay dry?” One factor could be your health and fitness. A person who is out of shape, overweight or not physically fit is more likely to sweat more profusely than a someone who keeps themselves physically fit.

7. Pregnancy

Raging Pregnancy hormones can bring on more than weird food cravings and crazy mood swings. Yes, it’s a bumpy ride that can also bring along hemorrhoids, acne, bleeding gums. And you guessed it, lots of sweating.

Pregnancy increases hormone levels, metabolism and blood flow through your body, which in turn, increases sweat production. You’ll feel it most during the first and third trimester. Some women tend to sweat even more after pregnancy as their body regulates hormone levels and sheds stored water weight.
Other possible causes of excessive sweating during pregnancy can include a higher-than-normal BMI and the little tyke taking shape inside you. Your pride-and-joy-to-be can heat up your internal oven like never before. You’ll feel the heat but the little her or she will remain comfy and safe.

8. Menopause

The heat spike starts in your chest. Like a bullet train it moves up to your neck and head. Beads of sweat form. Soon sweat is running down your face. The hot flash lasts for four or five minutes but seems 10 times longer. Welcome to menopause.

Unfortunately, hot flashes and night sweats are some of the most common symptoms of Menopause. Like pregnancy, doctors believe that these flushes are caused by changing levels of estrogen. Do you see a pattern here? The more my hormones change, the more I sweat.

If you’re a woman between the ages of 45 and 55, your excessive sweating is probably due to menopause.

9. Diabetes

There are at least two reasons why those who have diabetes sweat more than normal. The first is because those with diabetes tend to be overweight. When your body has to carry around extra weight, it means more work, and you guessed it, more sweat.

The second reason is high glucose levels. A loss of nerve function can occur when blood sugar levels are elevated for too long. It’s called diabetic neuropathy. If the sweat gland nerves are damaged, they can’t communicate clearly with the sweat glands. Nerve message confusion can mean excessive sweating.

10. Puberty

Pimples, voice cracks and growth spurts are all common symptoms of puberty. A less common symptom of puberty is overactive sweat glands– about 3 million (on average) of them.

During puberty, your body experiences hormonal changes, body growth and a myriad of new emotions which all can lead to some sweaty situations. This seems like piling on, since going through puberty is hard enough without having to throw in extra sweat with the awkward middle school photos.

11. Medications

Think back to the last drug commercial you watched on TV. Remember that lightning-fast list of side-effects that appeared at the bottom of the screen at the end? When everyone is flying kites, riding bikes and jumping around like hobbits? This is when pharmaceutical companies quickly list some of the unwanted side effects of their medicines. The proverbial small print.

One of those small print items is sometimes Diaphoresis–  a side effect you’ll often hear on these ad disclaimers. This inconvenient sweat condition is characterized by “sweating, especially to an unusual degree as a symptom of disease or a side effect of a drug.” Medications may help relieve specific symptoms, but they also bring a host of their own side effects– like diaphoresis.

Ask your doctor if your medication could be causing you to sweat more than normal.

12. Unrelated Disease

Sometimes an unrelated disease or disorder can cause abnormally profuse sweating. When this happens, it’s called secondary hyperhidrosis or generalized hyperhidrosis. It’s caused by another, unrelated medical condition.

People who suffer from secondary hyperhidrosis usually experience sweating over larger areas of their bodies. They can also experience excessive sweating while sleeping. Treating the underlying disease will usually cure the sweating problem. Only a doctor can diagnose secondary hyperhidrosis.

Why Do I Sweat So Much On My Face?

While craniofacial hyperhidrosis could be the cause of excessive sweating facial sweating, it’s not the most common cause. Most of your face is covered in eccrine sweat glands. Because these are controlled by your nervous system, you might find that you sweat from your face more when you’re nervous, worried, or stressed.
 
Your diet may also affect the amount of sweat your face produces. If you eat a lot of hot, spicy foods, drink alcohol, or consume foods that are hard to digest, it could cause you to sweat more on your face. 

Why Do I Sweat So Much Under My Arms?

The apocrine glands in your armpits produce protein-filled sweat to rid your body of excess toxins. So if you’re sweating a lot in your underarm area, it could be caused by your diet. But you also may produce more armpit sweat when you workout or you’re too hot. A clinical-strength antiperspirant should help you keep the underarm sweat under control.

Keep in mind, if your armpits excessively sweat, it’s also a good idea to wear a strong deodorant — and you should know the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. When the protein in the sweat mixes with the bacteria on your skin, it produces body odor. So while using a clinical-strength antiperspirant, such as SweatBlock towelettes, is a good idea, you need to use deodorant too.

Why Do I Sweat So Much Down There?

Sweating “down there” is just as normal as armpit sweat. It may be a bit more taboo to talk about, but everyone sweats in their groin area. The reasons you perspire in your groin area are the same reasons your armpits sweat. Your groin area has a high concentration of apocrine glands, so things like exercising, the temperature, your diet, and your hormones regulate the amount of groin-area sweat you produce.

To combat excessive sweating “down there,” you should consider using a clinical-strength antiperspirant, such as our SweatBlock towelettes, to reduce the amount of sweat produced in the area for between four and seven days. Also, consider putting talc-free baby powder or baking soda in the area after you shower to help absorb any excess moisture, and keep the area well groomed. Because apocrine glands secrete proteins, you can get odors “down there” when you sweat a lot.

Excessive amounts of hair trap sweat and odor, so keeping your hair trimmed and the area lean and dry helps a lot.

Why Do My Hands Sweat So Much For No Reason?

The sweat glands on your hands are controlled by your nervous system. That’s why your hands tend to sweat more when you’re nervous, excited, anxious, or stressed. Your emotions trigger these sweat glands to start working. So if you sweat a lot on your hands, you’re probably really prone to nervous sweating. It’s basically a fight-or-flight response.

Unfortunately, that means that you probably get clammy hands at the worst possible times, which can be totally embarrassing. (After all, it doesn’t get much worse than profusely sweating from your hands on a first date or when you’re meeting important people.)

Sweaty hands getting you down? Here’s a few tips and remedies that might help.

Why Do I Sweat More Than I Used To?

If you’re sweating more than you used to, it’s most likely caused by a change in your hormones. For example, teenagers sweat a lot more than kids. But once puberty ends, the excessive sweating usually ends too.

For women, things such as pregnancy, their menstrual cycle, and menopause can all cause excessive sweating. For example, when you’re pregnant, it increases your hormone levels, metabolism, and blood flow. All of these things can increase your internal body temperature, causing you to sweat more. Some women even experience excess sweating after pregnancy, as their body’s hormones readjust. The same type of thing happens when you’re in menopause or have your period.

Basically, more hormones = more sweat. Unfortunately, any medication you’re taking to keep your hormones in check — including birth control — can also cause you to sweat more. 

If your diet has recently changed, it could also be the reason you’re sweating more than you used to. In this case, you might notice that you start sweating after eating — probably almost immediately. Consider adding more fruits and veggies to your diet and avoiding food that’s harder to digest — such as red meat. Alcohol and caffeine can also cause your body to produce more sweat, so try replacing alcoholic and caffeinated beverages with water. Drinking water regularly helps regulate your body temperature, which in turn, reduces the amount of sweat your body produces.

Are Medications Causing Excessive Sweating?

In some cases, the medications you take can cause excessive sweating. For the most part, the medications that cause people to sweat a lot are painkillers, depression medications, hormonal meds, and those for chronic heart failure. So if you’re taking any of these, and you noticed that your excessive sweating problems started after you began taking them, you might want to talk to your doctor to see if there’s an alternative medication that you could take — hopefully one that won’t make you sweat a lot. If you aren’t sure whether or not excessive sweating is a side effect of one of your medications, look for the term “diaphoresis.” This is the rather inconvenient term that basically means your medication may make you sweat like a pig in heat.

Does Diabetes Cause Excess Sweating?

Diabetes can cause you to sweat more than you normally would. If your sugar levels are elevated for too long, it can damage some of your nerves. If the nerves connected to your sweat glands are damaged, it can cause you to sweat more than normal. However, for many people with diabetes, the amount of excessive sweat they produce is more related to their weight. It’s common for people carrying around excess weight to develop diabetes. Unfortunately, carrying around a few extra pounds also means your body has to work more, which results in more sweat.

Once you know the reason for your excessive sweating, it’s a lot easier to find techniques, remedies and treatments that help you stop sweating so much.

Is embarrassing sweat getting in the way of life? We get it, that’s why we developed a handful of sweat-stopping products that can reduce unwanted sweat and restore confidence. Check them out here.

Originally published Nov 11, 2017 – Updated September 18, 2018

So, you think you sweat more than normal? A lot of people worry about whether they perspire a “normal” amount. We get it.

Excessive sweat is embarrassing and can throw a wrench into any social situation. Sweating is good and certainly has its benefits (like preventing heat stroke). But it also comes with a host of humiliating side effects (sweaty pits, sweaty handshakes, sweaty feet, sweaty face, etc…)

Wondering why you might be sweating more than normal? You’re in luck, we’ve compiled a list of the most common sweat triggers and how to avoid them.

8 Things That Can Trigger Unwanted Sweat:

  • 1. Stress
  • 2. Crazy Hormones
  • 3. Your Choice of Food
  • 4. Not Eating Enough Food
  • 5. Your Mood (Excited, Happy, Scared)
  • 6. Social Anxiety
  • 7. Being Physically Fit or Overweight
  • 8. Medications

A lot of different things can cause excessive sweating. But there’s always a reason. Sure, you might have a medical condition, such as primary hyperhidrosis, a sweating disorder that makes you perspire more than the average person. But that’s not as likely as you might think. Hyperhidrosis affects less than 5% of the population. There’s a good chance you just have a random sweat trigger you didn’t know about.

1. You’re Really Stressed Out

What do you do if you randomly start sweating for no apparent reason? Freak out? Yeah, a lot of people do. Well, did you know that freaking out about sweating is probably just making you sweat more?

That’s right. Stress is a HUGE sweat trigger.

If you notice that you’re sweating at a random time, quickly do a mental stress check.

  • Is something upsetting you?
  • Have you been brooding about something for most of the day?
  • Are you worried about something?

If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, your stress may be to blame for your random bout of nervous sweating.

2. Your Hormones Are In Overdrive

Pregnancy and menopause can really mess with a woman’s hormones. In fact, this hormonal rioting can cause mood swings, odd cravings and … overactive sweat glands.

Have you ever heard a pregnant woman complain about night sweats or hot flashes? Yeah, those mini sweat sessions happen because your hormones are out of whack.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to prevent this kind of hormonal sweating (aside from delivering your baby or magically skipping menopause).

Fortunately, both pregnancy and menopause are temporary life phases. When they leave, your hormones will chill out and sweating can return to normal.

Pregnancy and menopause aren’t the only things that screw with your hormones. Puberty and overactive thyroid issues can also lead to belligerent hormones and excessive sweating — especially underarm sweating.

3. You’re Eating Foods That Promote Sweating

The food you eat — and what you drink — could be causing you to sweat excessively. This usually happens when you eat food that’s hard to digest because your body has to work a bit harder, which increases your heart rate and sends signals to your sweat glands telling them to get to work.

Which Foods Cause Severe Sweating?

Red meat can be really hard for your body to digest, so if you’re worried about perspiring a lot during (or right after) a meal, you might want to stay away from burgers and steaks. Instead, choose chicken or fish. And of course, vegetables are always a great option. You should also avoid eating fatty fast foods, white bread, and chocolate. These foods lack the enzymes needed for smooth digestion, which means your body works harder to process them.

This probably doesn’t come as a big shock, but if you’re concerned about profuse sweating you should also avoid spicy, hot food. Yeah, those chili fries you love that are topped with jalapeno peppers are a MAJOR sweat trigger. Spicy foods contain capsaicin — a chemical that tricks your body into thinking your core temperature is rising, causing your sweat glands to kick into action, which causes you to perspire.

If you’ve been cursed with body odor that smells a bit fishy, you might have a condition called trimethylaminuria. It’s a genetic condition that makes it difficult for your body to break down trimethylamine — a chemical compound produced when you digest certain foods such as legumes, eggs, and fish. If this is the case, you should eliminate those foods from your diet and talk to your doctor.

4. You Need to Eat More

Are you hangry? If so, your blood sugar is probably a bit low. And one of the symptoms of low blood sugar is excessive sweat or cold sweats. In particular, the sweat glands along your hairline are affected by low blood sugar. So if you’re feeling a bit moody and sweaty, you really might need to grab a Snickers bar like the commercial says. Other symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Blurred vision
  • Slight nausea

5. Your Mood (Extremely happy or scared out of your mind)

Did you know that when you’re happy or scared you sweat? This also happens when you’re doing something that you’re really passionate about (and no we aren’t just talking about sex).

You might have noticed that when you engage in activity that you’re passionate about, your body is all of the sudden covered in a thin layer of glistening sweat. That’s because all of these emotions — happiness, fear, and love — are associated with a slight increase in your body temperature. And of course, when your body temperature rises, your sweat glands go to work.

6. You Have Social Anxiety

If you get nervous before events that require you to socialize with others, you’ve probably noticed that your sweaty spurts also happen about the same time. That’s totally normal if you have social anxiety.

It’s common for people with social anxiety to constantly battle excessive hand sweating. But you can use relaxing techniques to help get you through overly stressful situations or talk to your doctor. There’s a good chance your doctor may be able to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to help you control nervous bouts of sweating. Another great way to combat nervous sweat is by using a clinical strength antiperspirant like SweatBlock. If you’ve got excessive hand sweating or super sweaty feet, you can try a hand or foot antiperspirant to reduce unwanted sweating. We recommend this one.

7. You’re Really Fit or Overweight

Your physical fitness levels can determine the amount of sweat your body produces. For example, if you’re slightly plump around the middle, your body works harder carrying the excess weight. This causes your heart rate to increase and you to perspire. But people who are really, really fit often sweat a lot too. This is typically caused by sweating a lot when exercising. See, if you exercise regularly, your body gets really good at sweating so it does it more often. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should stop working out. Instead, use a clinical-strength antiperspirant, such as SweatBlock, to control the amount of sweat your body produces.

8. Your Medications Are Causing You to Sweat (Diaphoresis)

Diaphoresis is the medical term used to describe excessive sweating caused by certain medications. Some of the more common culprits include SSRIs, heart medications, and painkillers. But they aren’t the only medications that can make you sweat. So if you’re taking a new prescription and it’s causing heavy sweating randomly, you might want to have a chat with your doctor.

What to Do If Sweat Becomes Excessive

It’s important to remember that perspiration is a normal process. In fact, it’s even good for you to sweat. But if you sweat excessively, you should consider using a clinical-strength antiperspirant or talk to your doctor about treatment options.

How Does Sweating Help the Body?

You have approximately 2.5 million sweat glands on your body (some people have up to 4 million). So what you probably don’t realize is that you’re actually sweating all the time. You just don’t normally notice the sweat because it evaporates quickly. If your body produces sweat faster than it evaporates, it’s noticeable. That’s when excessive sweating can become embarrassing.

But sweating is actually good for you — at least in normal amounts. We sweat to regulate our body temperature. So if you didn’t sweat at all, your body would overheat — and no one wants to have heat stroke. If you think you sweat more than “normal,” you might be right. In this case, you might want to consult your doctor to determine whether you have hyperhidrosis or you have sweat triggers that you don’t know about. Even if you don’t have hyperhidrosis, your doctor will be able to help you determine the best way to keep your sweating in check.

How to Stop Sweating

Remember, you don’t want to stop sweating completely. But you may want to stop sweating in specific areas of your body. For example, if you sweat when you’re nervous, you probably have clammy hands. That can be embarrassing when you meet someone new or you’re on a date and you want to hold hands. If that’s the case, you should be looking for ways to stop sweating on your hands.

Who Treats Excessive Sweating?

If clinical-strength antiperspirants and other home remedies don’t keep you from sweating profusely, you should consult your doctor to see if you have hyperhidrosis. Your primary care doctor can discuss treatment options that can reduce sweating, such as prescription creams and medication, with you, but if the problem is severe, you might be referred to a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a doctor who treats skin conditions specifically. So he or she may discuss more elaborate treatment options, such as Botox, with you.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that everyone sweats. Because everyone is different, there really isn’t a “normal” amount of sweat your body should produce. But if excessive sweating becomes a problem, makes you feel self-conscious, or keeps you from attending normal social events, you should talk to your doctor or see a dermatologist.

Sweating is natural. It serves an important purpose. But sometimes sweating can be bad or indicate that bad things are happening. Here are nine sweaty questions. The answers are important to anyone concerned about sweat.

  • Do I have primary hyperhidrosis?
  • Do I have secondary hyperhidrosis?
  • What about night sweats?
  • What causes my sweat to smell bad?
  • Why do I sweat when I eat?
  • Is my medicine making me sweat a lot?
  • Is it bad to sweat when I’m nervous and stressed?
  • Is sweat bad for my hair and scalp?
  • Is sweat bad for my skin?

Good Sweat vs. Bad Sweat

As a normal bodily function, sweating is natural and helps to regulate body temperature. When body temperature rises due to exercise or a hot environment, your nervous system signals the sweat glands and they secrete sweat to the skin’s surface. There, the moisture evaporates and cools the body. That’s good.

Unfortunately, sweating can also occur when we’re nervous or stressed. That’s normal too. But nervous sweat is bad sweat. And it’s annoying and embarrassing.

Not all sweating is normal. Abnormal or excessive sweating, when not needed to regulate body temperature, signals that something is wrong. Let’s take a closer look at some of those “bad sweat” situations.

Is it bad to sweat a lot?

You were born with somewhere between two and four million sweat glands located all over your body. Everyone is different and the number you have will influence, in part, how much you sweat.

Women have more sweat glands than men. Men’s sweat glands are normally more active and produce more sweat. No surprise there. You may have discovered this yourself the last time you rode in a crowded subway car or bus with a bunch of burly guys. Why can’t more men use deodorant?

There are also two different types of sweat glands, apocrine glands and eccrine. Eccrine glands are all over your body. Apocrine glands are located on the scalp, armpits and genital area. There’s no such thing as a bad sweat gland.

As your body temperature rises, your automatic nervous system triggers these glands to release salty liquid, mostly water, to the skin’s surface for evaporative cooling. Sweating cannot be consciously controlled. That’s the problem. And, as we all know, anxiety, fear, anger and embarrassment can signal the sweat glands to work overtime. The result is bad sweat.

Let’s take a closer look at the situations when sweating is bad.

Do I have primary hyperhidrosis?

Profuse sweating or excessive sweating is hyperhidrosis. The word “hyperhidrosis” means too much (hyper) sweating (hidrosis). If you suffer from hyperhidrosis you produce four to five times more sweat than normal. That’s bad sweat, but you probably already knew that.

Primary hyperhidrosis (also known as focal hyperhidrosis) is a physiological problem. Those who suffer from it will confess that it also messes up their quality of life – psychologically, emotionally and socially. It’s a silent handicap. Almost half of those with hyperhidrosis suffer in silence for years before seeking help.

Hyperhidrosis affects nearly 15 million people in the United States. It affects men and women equally. 65% experience excessive sweating of the underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis). Other areas of the body often affected by hyperhidrosis are the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), the feet (plantar hyperhidrosis), and face/forehead (craniofacial hyperhidrosis). Cold, clammy handshakes, sweaty feet and sweat cascading in torrents from the forehead are all equally unpleasant and emotionally distressing.

Now the good news. While there is no known cure, there are several effective treatments for primary hyperhidrosis. The simplest, least expensive and often the most effective is applying a clinical strength antiperspirant like Sweatblock. Because it’s applied using a towelette, it can be used anywhere on the body. Normally one application will last four to seven days. Antiperspirants block secretion of the targeted sweat glands.

Other treatments include topical creams, nerve-blocking medications, Botox injections, and invasive surgeries and procedures. These are reserved for extreme cases when simpler remedies are not effective. Some have serious side effects. Injections, microwave treatments and surgeries are all expensive and may not be covered by health insurance.

Do I have secondary hyperhidrosis?

The second type of hyperhidrosis is secondary hyperhidrosis, also known as generalized hyperhidrosis. Sufferers from this type of profuse sweating experience bad sweating all over the body as opposed to excessive sweating in a specific area.

Secondary hyperhidrosis is caused by another, usually unrelated, medical condition or side effect of a medication. Once the underlying problem is discovered and treated, the sweating stops. Conditions or diseases that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis include diabetes, gout, heart failure, cancer and obesity.

If you are experiencing excessive sweating over large areas of your body and also have one of these conditions, you likely have secondary hyperhidrosis.

What about night sweats?

What are night sweats? It’s not uncommon for us to experience night sweats when we’re sick or during hot summer nights. Changing body temperature during the night is a normal part of the sleep cycle and can cause temporary sweating. Removing a blanket or shedding those flannel pajamas can cure this kind of night sweats.

But severe and chronic night sweats, the kind when you wake-up with wet sheets and your body drenched with sweat, are not part of normal sleep. This is another sign of secondary hyperhidrosis and probably caused by an unrelated condition. Or, it could be a sign of a side effect caused by a prescription drug? Here are some of the probable suspects.

Some of the common drugs that have been associated with night sweats are:

  • Antidepressants such as Protriptyline and Nortriptyline
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, the nonsteroidal type
  • Blood pressure medicines
  • Medicines that treat dry mouth like Pilocarpine
  • Some cancer treatments
  • Oral diabetes medicines and prescription insulin

Some dietary supplements such as zinc and iron have been known to be the culprits behind night sweats too.

Medical conditions that can cause night sweats include:

  • Menopause and pregnancy. The hormonal changes that assault women as they experience menopause can cause hot flashes and heavy sweating at night. Carrying the additional weight of a developing baby can make night sweats an unwanted side effect of pregnancy.
  • Infections. Abnormal night sweats can be caused by infections such as tuberculosis, HIV and bacterial infections.
  • Cancer. People who have undiagnosed cancer often complain of symptoms including fever and excessive sweating. The most common type of cancer known to produce these problems is lymphoma, a cancer of the blood.
  • Hyperthyroidism. An overactive thyroid gland can case nocturnal sweating.
  • Hormone disorders. There are other hormonal disorders (other than menopause) that can cause night sweats. These include carcinoid syndrome and pheochromocytoma.
  • Neurologic conditions. Stroke and neuropathy are among the neurologic conditions that can cause nocturnal sweating.
  • Alcoholism. Alcohol consumption increases your heart rate and expands the blood vessels in the skin, which can trigger unwanted sweating. Night sweating is a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal.

Again, the key to overcoming nocturnal bad sweat is to identify what’s really going on.

What causes my sweat to smell bad?

We’ve all been victims. Some of us have been perpetrators. In some way, we’ve all experienced bad body odor. At times the stench is overwhelming and we ask ourselves, “Why does my sweat smell so bad?” Well, all sweat doesn’t. But when combined with just the right ingredients and conditions, bad sweat becomes a powerful deterrent to positive social interaction. Whew!

Here are some of the most common causes and contributing factors to bad body odor.

Human nature. As mentioned previously, the naturally occurring apocrine glands in the skin are clustered in the groin, armpits, genitals and to a lesser extent, the rest of the skin. These sweat glands are chiefly responsible for body odor because the sweat they produce contains high levels of protein. Once sweat reaches the surface, bacteria begin breaking down these proteins. And, that’s what causes sweat to smell so bad. If you suffer from hyperhidrosis, the abundance of excess sweat makes matters that much worse.

What causes smelly feet? Now there’s a universal experience. Have you ever asked, “Why do my feet sweat so bad?” Unless you live in the tropics, you probably wear shoes and socks. Encasing our feet in fabric and leather (or canvass) makes it difficult for sweat to evaporate. So, the ever-present bacteria have much more to work with. It’s a veritable bacteria buffet. This jungle-like environment also raises the possibility of fungi which can also give off more bad smelling stuff.

Foods. If you share an office space with someone who eats a lot of exotic or spicy foods, you know the meaning of bad sweat. You can smell today what they ate yesterday. Foods like onions, garlic, curry and other pungent spices are exuded through the pores in the skin and can make sweat smell even more, shall we say… fragrant? And it can take days for the unwanted odors to subside.

Do you like fries with that? If so that could be making things worse too. Oils used in fried foods and baked goods can easily go rancid. That causes poor digestion and can add to the bad smelling sweat problem.

Your sweet-tooth. Bacteria are as addicted to sugar as we are. Eating and drinking lots of sugary treats can cause an overgrowth of yeast. Yeast turns sugar into alcohol and alcohol can make you smell like a bouquet of stinkweed. Add flatulence from eating too much sugar into the mix and that makes for a potent weapon.

Fishy smelling sweat. Some people have difficulty metabolizing large amounts of choline. The result is fishy smelling body odor that can be a real turn-off. Foods containing large amounts of choline are liver, salmon, eggs, grass-fed beef, turkey, navy beans and chickpeas.

Another fishy body odor problem is called Fish Odor Syndrome. It’s rare and its only symptom is an offensive body odor that smells like rotting fish. It’s caused by excessive secretion of trimethylaminuria into the sweat, urine and breath of those who suffer from this medical condition. Diet restrictions, acid lotions and soaps, antibiotics and other medicines are the treatments.

That great-looking new shirt or blouse. No one likes working out in polyester. Natural fabrics like cotton, linen and even wool wick sweat away from your skin and allow it to evaporate. On the other hand, manmade fibers like polyester, nylon and rayon look great, but they repel moisture allowing it to pool where you don’t want it to. The buildup of unwanted sweat promotes and amplifies the bad body odor process and stains your clothing. Bad sweat loves artificial fibers.

Why do I sweat when I eat?

Spicy foods. Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’re eating a bowl of 5-alarm chili or maybe a jalapeño pepper-laced Mexican dish. You suddenly break out in a hot profuse sweat around your temples and forehead. This is gustatory sweating and it’s totally normal when eating hot, spicy foods.

Gustatory hyperhidrosis. But, there are some people who sweat excessively when eating any food, even ice cream. Some sweat profusely just thinking about food. It’s called gustatory hyperhidrosis or Frey’s Syndrome. It’s extremely embarrassing. Those who suffer from this malady may shun social functions involving food to avoid emotional trauma.

Many cases of gustatory sweating occur as a result of surgery or damage to a parotid gland. Most of us have a pair of parotid glands with one located on each side of the face just below and in front of our ears. These are the largest salivary glands. When we eat or when we prepare to eat, these glands spring into action.

If one of these glands is damaged due to surgery, disease or infection, nearby nerves can be affected. As these nerves regenerate they can become mixed up and confused. When this happens, a person can begin sweating instead of salivating. This is Frey’s Syndrome and it usually affects just one side of the face.

Abnormal sweating when eating can also occur for no known reason or can be a result of secondary hyperhidrosis. Diabetes, chronic headaches, shingles, herpes and Parkinson’s have all been known to cause gustatory sweating.

There are treatments that can help. Clinical strength antiperspirants like Sweatblock can provide significant relief. Botox injections can provide relief for a couple of months. Botox has not been approved by the FDA for treatment of Frey’s Syndrome so its use is considered “off label.”

Is my medicine making me sweat a lot?

Excessive sweating as a side effect of taking prescription medicines is not uncommon. Several hundred prescription drugs have been identified that can cause unwanted sweating.

These include:

  • Analgesic pain medicines. The most common analgesics known to cause excessive sweating are Celebrex, Vicodin, prescription Aleve, Midol, Vioxx, Ultram, OxyContin, Methadone and fentanyl-based drugs. There are many, many more.
  • Cardiovascular drugs. Certain cardiovascular drugs can cause sweating in some patients. The list is far too long to note here, but some of the more prevalent are Bumex, Cardura, Zestril and Altace. Several NIFEdipine and verapamil drugs also make the list.
  • Antidepressants. Many commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs note excessive sweating as a side effect. These come in two major categories– Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
  • SSRI drugs that can cause excessive sweating, by brand name, are Celexa, Luvox, Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. The SNRI antidepressants are Cymbalta and Effexor. Norpramin, a neuropsychiatric drug, can cause sweating in a high number of patients taking it.
  • Hormonal drugs. Secondary hyperhidrosis is sometimes caused by hormonal imbalances. Certain drugs given to patients to balance hormonal levels may also lead to profuse sweating. These include epinephrine-based medications, thyroid medicines, some birth control pills, testosterone drugs and vasopressins.

Is it bad to sweat when I’m nervous and stressed?

There is nothing more common than nervous sweating. It’s a natural fight or flight response. It happens to all of us whether we suffer from hyperhidrosis or not.

It happens when we go on first date or when we speak in front of a group. It happens when we’re summoned to a meeting with the boss. It can happen when we’re late and stuck in traffic. There are a thousand other situations that lead to bad sweat caused by nervous anxiety.

We’re all in the same boat. We all want to stop nervous and anxious sweating. Whether you suffer from hyperhidrosis or you’re a normal sweater, there are things you can do to curb that nervous sweat.

Tips to reduce anxious sweating.

  • Relax. Let your hands and arms breath. Unclench your fists. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Avoid things that stress you out if possible.
  • Meditate. Use meditation to calm your mind and overcome irrational fears. If you can trick your mind into not “fighting or flying” when you’re in potentially stressful situation, you can reduce a lot of nervous sweat.
  • Watch your weight. Body weight plays an important role in your sweating response. People who struggle with their weight have a higher core temperature.
  • Exercise. Physical exercise is an effective anti-anxiety trick. It releases endorphins which act to calm your mood and make you less prone to nervous feelings. Exercise causes sweat, so don’t exercise just prior to something you’re doing that you want to be free of sweat.
  • Wear breathable clothing. Natural fabrics like cotton and wool will allow your body to “breathe” and help dissipate sweat. Artificial fabrics like polyester, nylon and rayon will make you feel hotter. They repel sweat and make evaporation difficult. Choose your wardrobe wisely.
  • Clinical Strength Antiperspirant. A strong antiperspirant like Sweatblock can help reduce excessive sweat due to anxiety and stress. Antiperspirants are some of the safest and most effective ways to combat sweat. Other excessive sweating treatments can be more costly, invasive, and bring a whole host of nasty side effects.

Is sweat bad for my hair and scalp?

Lots of sweat can be bad for your scalp and hair. It can lead to hair loss.
There are studies that indicate that when lactic acid in sweat mixes with keratin in the hair, it can lead to damaged hair and hair loss. Even worse, if there is an accumulation of bacteria on the scalp, excessive head sweating can lead to fungal infections. Yuk. Wash your hair often.

Is sweat bad for my skin?

Bad sweat can be bad for your skin. People who suffer from excessive sweating, especially on the face and forehead, can be more prone to skin infections. Chronically moist skin promotes the growth of bacteria that cause skin infections.

  • Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that occurs when foot sweating is excessive. It usually starts between the toes.
  • Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a cousin to athlete’s foot and is a fungal infection. It thrives in moist environments. Sweating doesn’t help.
  • Maceration is the scientific terms for the wet, mushy appearance your skin can have when it’s perpetually moist. The general skin breakdown can promote other unwanted skin conditions.

The bottom line

Let’s circle back to the question at hand:

Can sweating be bad for you? Not usually, but when it becomes excessive, abnormal, or socially destructive – YES, it’s bad.

Excessive sweating causes a multitude of problems. Untreated hyperhidrosis causes stress, embarrassment, social seclusion, and anxiety. These are just the emotional and social problems associated with bad sweat.

Abnormal sweating can also be a companion to other diseases or disorders. It might be a sign that you’re eating or drinking things you shouldn’t. It could be a side effect of medication. Whatever the cause, there is hope.

There are treatments that can reduce or eliminate bad sweat. Find one that works for you.

For most people, excessive sweating is simply caused by slightly overactive sweat glands. But that’s not always the case. Sweating a lot can also be a sign that there’s an underlying medical condition or it could be a side effect of a prescription medication that you’re taking.

Medical Conditions That Can Cause Excessive Sweating

  • Endocarditis
  • Diabetic hypoglycemia
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Fever of undetermined cause
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Heart attack
  • Leukemia
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Menopause
  • Stress
  • Tuberculosis
  • Obesity

Medications That Can Cause Excessive Sweating

While other medications may cause excessive sweating, the main culprits are:

  • Painkillers
  • Hormonal medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Cardiovascular drugs

Why Does My Body Sweat So Much?

Producing sweat is how your body regulates your overall body temperature. Basically, any time your body temperature rises, you produce sweat, which helps cool your body down to normal temperature.

Because your body produces sweat any time your internal temperature rises, there are several things that could impact the amount of sweat you produce, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Hormone levels
  • Outside temperatures
  • Medications
  • Physical activity

Your body is always sweating — even when you don’t feel it. If you’re lucky, the sweat your body produces evaporates quickly. But if you produce a lot of sweat, it won’t evaporate as it’s produced, and you’ll start to see small droplets on your skin.

You have more than three million sweat glands on your body, so sweat can be produced pretty much anywhere. However, some parts of your body — such as your underarms, the soles of your feet, your groin area, and the palms of your hands — have more sweat glands than other areas. That’s why you might see more sweat production in those areas.

Can Excessive Sweating Be Cured?

While we’d love to tell you there’s a sure-fire cure for excessive sweating, we just can’t. Body chemistry, sweat severity, diet, anxiety levels, and medications can all impact our sweating. Which makes finding that one-size-fits-all cure pretty difficult.

However, there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can help you sweat less.

If you sweat a lot, consider a clinical strength antiperspirant. While not a permanent fix, antiperspirants (not deodorants) can provide temporary relief while you explore a longer term solution to your excessive sweating.

If you’ve tried different home remedies and clinical-strength antiperspirants and haven’t found anything that works, you should consider consulting your doctor for advice. In some cases, doctors and/or dermatologists might prescribe an anticholinergic to help reduce the amount of sweat your body produces. This medication is either prescribed in pill or cream form — depending on which part of your body sweats a lot. For excessive head sweating, some dermatologists use botox injections as a treatment. The botulinum toxin freezes the glands in the treated area so they don’t produce sweat.

Beta-blockers (propranolol) and benzodiazepines also may be prescribed if your excessive sweating is a result of anxiety. While these don’t reduce the amount of sweat you produce, they do help control your anxiety levels, which in turn, reduces sweat production.

Does Sweating Too Much Lead to Dehydration?

You become dehydrated when your body loses more water than you consume. So if you are profusely sweating on a regular basis and you aren’t drinking enough water to replenish the amount your body loses, you could become dehydrated. Normal, non-active people should drink between eight and 12 glasses of water per day. But if you sweat excessively on a regular basis, you should consider increasing your water intake slightly. Even an extra glass or two of water per day could keep you from becoming dehydrated.

What Causes Excessive Sweating on the Head, Neck, and Face?

Facial sweating is common, but it certainly isn’t desirable. In fact, many people battling excessive sweating have the hardest time coping with the stuff that develops on their face and/or neck — mostly because it’s difficult to hide.

Medical conditions, such as diabetes or chronic heart conditions, can cause you to sweat on the head, neck, and/or face, but this type is also caused by anxiety or nerves. Additionally, when it comes to excessive head sweating your diet could be the problem. You should consider eliminating any hard-to-digest foods from your diet to see if that solves your problem.

What Causes Extreme Armpit Sweating?

Excessive underarm sweating is the pits! No one wants to be known at work as the guy or gal with pit stains. Unfortunately, there isn’t one specific cause for extreme underarm sweating. Like other types, it can be caused by a medical condition, nervousness, medications, or overactive sweat glands.

It is important to note that there are more sweat glands on your underarm area. So when your body produces sweat, you’re likely to notice it more there than you would elsewhere on your body. The good news is, with the help of a good antiperspirant, most of the sweat your underarm area produces can be kept at bay.

Will Excessive Sweating Stop After Puberty?

Sometimes excessive sweating is caused by overactive hormones, which is why teenagers, pregnant women, and women in menopause typically sweat more than the average person. The good news is, this also means that if your sweating is caused by overactive hormones, it could stop after puberty. Once the hormones in your body settle down a bit, your body won’t produce as much sweat. In the meantime, consider using a clinical-strength antiperspirant, such as SwaetBlock towelettes, to control the amount of sweat our body produces.

Common Health Problems Associated With Excessive Sweating

Before you decide the best way to stop excessive sweating, you need to determine the cause of the problem. For most people, the cause is simply overactive sweat glands. But sweating a lot can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Is Excessive Sweating a Sign of Diabetes?

Excessive sweating is one of several symptoms of diabetes. However, diabetes typically causes very specific types of sweating, all of which are common. So you should consult your doctor to determine whether or not diabetes is really your problem.

Night sweats are common in people with diabetes. They are often caused by low blood sugar levels. However, exercising close to bedtime and drinking alcohol in the evening can also cause you to have night sweats. People with diabetes also commonly experience normal hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), but it’s typically only one of several symptoms. Gustatory sweating is unique to diabetes, though. So if you find yourself breaking a sweat when you’re eating or drinking, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Is Excessive Sweating a Sign of Pregnancy?

Pregnancy hormones and the added weight gain from your pregnancy can both cause a bit of excessive sweating. Once you have the baby and your hormones regulate again, the amount of sweating your body produces should go back to normal though.

In the meantime, try drinking more water. It helps keep you hydrated and regulate your body temperature, which can help reduce the amount of sweat your body produces. Also, try your best to wear lightweight clothing and stay out of the heat. Anything you can do to keep cool will help prevent sweating.

Is Excessive Sweating a Sign of Cancer?

Night sweating is a sign of certain types of cancer such as:

  • carcinoid tumors
  • leukemia
  • lymphoma
  • bone cancer
  • liver cancer
  • mesothelioma

However, you shouldn’t assume that you have cancer just because you sweat more at night. Night sweating is actually really common, and people who experience night seat caused by cancer usually have other symptoms of the disease as well such as rapid weight loss and unexplained fevers.

Is Excessive Sweating a Sign of Heart Disease?

Excessive sweating can be a sign of heart disease. This type of sweating is caused because your body has to work extra hard to push your blood through the clogged arteries in your heart. Even though excessive sweating is one symptom of heart disease, it’s important to note that heart disease usually causes cold sweats and clammy skin. So if you suddenly start randomly breaking out in cold sweats that make your skin feel clammy, you should consult your doctor for further testing.

Medications and Excessive Sweating

If you’ve started a new medication, and then, noticed that you’ve started sweating a lot more, the medicine could be the cause of your problem. Not all medications can cause sweating, though. The side effect is typically associated with painkillers, antidepressants, cardiovascular drugs, and hormonal drugs.

Antidepressants are one of the most common medications that cause sweating. In fact, about 19 percent of people taking an SSRI or SBRI antidepressant report increased amounts of sweating. So if you’re taking Celexa, Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Luvox, Lexapro, or Symbyax, and you’ve started breaking out in sweats, you may want to discuss other options with your doctor.

Even though increased sweat production is a sign of a hormonal imbalance, it can also be caused by the medication you take to balance your hormones out. This includes thyroid regulators, endocrine hormones, testosterone drugs, vasopressins, and certain types of birth control, specifically Depo-Provera.

Excessive sweating is also a side effect of analgesic painkillers such as Vicodin, Methadone, OxyContin, Vioxx, Ultram, Celebrex, and any fentanyl-based drug. While it’s most often associated with withdrawal, these medications can cause you to sweat while you take them. Prescription Midol and Aleve can also cause you to sweat more than normal. The good news is, there are other painkillers available. If one of these options increases the amount of sweat you produce, talk to your doctor about switching to prescription-strength IB Profen, Tylenol, or another non-narcotic painkiller.

Lastly, there are 17 classes of cardiovascular drugs that can cause you to sweat profusely. Some of the more common medications include Norvasc, Digitek, Cardura, Zestril, Altace, and Bumex.

When to See a Doctor

Even though hyperhidrosis is annoying and embarrassing, it isn’t a condition that’s medically serious. You should consult your doctor if you are having trouble treating the condition on your own, using clinical-strength antiperspirants and other home remedies. Your doctor may be able to give you a prescription medication or cream that will help you. However, most doctors and dermatologists suggest their patients use clinical-strength antiperspirants before trying prescription-strength medicine.

If you believe that your excessive sweating is caused by a more severe medical condition, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. If this is the case, you would probably notice all-over body sweating, because it’s more associated with other medical conditions than sweating in one part of your body. Also, there’s a good chance you’ll have other signs of the illness as well. Regardless, no one knows your body the way you do, so if you’re concerned that the excessive sweating you’re experiencing is caused by something more severe, go to the doctor.

If you’re taking medication and you think that medication is causing your excessive sweating, you should also talk to your doctor. You never know, your doctor may be able to suggest a similar medication that doesn’t make you sweat a lot.

The fact is, excessive sweating is always annoying. It can be really embarrassing too. But with a combination of clinical-strength antiperspirants, such as SweatBlock, and your doctor’s recommendations, you can reduce the amount of sweat your body produces.

Life is short. Nobody should have to spend their days worrying about embarrassing sweaty armpits, slippery handshakes and other awkward sweat scenarios.

Does excessive sweat ever get you down? Keep you from going out? Or make you feel like you can’t be yourself?

You’re not alone.

In fact, you may be among the 360+ million people worldwide who suffer from an extreme sweating condition called hyperhidrosis.

Many people struggle with hyperhidrosis throughout childhood and well into adulthood without ever knowing they have it.

Keep on reading to learn more about hyperhidrosis symptoms, causes, and possible treatments.

Why Do We Sweat?

We sweat to regulate our body temperature. It’s the body’s natural and healthy way to cool itself.

When body temperature rises, our nervous system will trigger the sweat glands to release extra heat via sweat on the skin surface. Our body temperature fluctuates frequently due to physical activity, weather, wardrobe, diet and common stressors.

Although sweating can be socially destructive, it’s a necessary bodily function that prevents overheating and heat stroke.

hyperhidrosis

What is hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is excessive and uncontrollable sweating. This is the kind of sweating that’s more than what the body needs to cool itself. The word “hyperhidrosis” means too much (hyper) sweating (hidrosis). People with hyperhidrosis produce four to five times more sweat than normal.

Hyperhidrosis is a physiological problem. Those who suffer from it attest that it also messes up their quality of life– psychologically, emotionally and socially. It is a silent handicap. Almost half of those with hyperhidrosis suffer in silence for years before seeking help.

Hyperhidrosis affects nearly 15 million people in the United States. It affects men and women equally. The vast majority of hyperhidrosis sufferers find it embarrassing. 65% experience excessive sweating of the underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis). Fortunately, there are effective ways to treat hyperhidrosis.

What causes hyperhidrosis?

Why do some people sweat excessively, uncontrollably and for absolutly no reason? Most types of hyperhidrosis are caused by an over stimulation of the sweat glands. Sweat triggers also include stress or genetic factors. Unrelated health problem or disease trigger another form of the condition. (see below)

Some life changes, such as pregnancy or menopause, can also cause profuse sweating. Yet, many of us experience excessive sweating without these kinds of changes in our lives.

Types of hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis occurs in two major classifications or types; primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary general hyperhidrosis.

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

This type of hyperhidrosis affects only specific parts of the body where there are high numbers of sweat glands. Primary focal hyperhidrosis usually starts during adolescence, but sometimes earlier. It is usually inherited and is genetic in nature.

There are four main body areas affected by primary hyperhidrosis:

1) Sweaty Hands and Palms – Also called Palmar Hyperhidrosis.

2) Sweaty Feet – Also called Plantar Hyperhidrosis.

3) Sweaty Underarms – Also called Axillary Hyperhidrosis.

4) Sweaty Face and/or Head – Also called Craniofacial Hyperhidrosis.

Secondary General Hyperhidrosis

Unlike primary focal hyperhidrosis, secondary hyperhidrosis (also known as generalized hyperhidrosis) is characterized by excessive sweating all over the body.

It is usually present at birth. This is the also the kind of chronic, heavy perspiration that can be caused an underlying medical condition. If you have one of these medical conditions and experience excessive, full-body sweating, talk to your doctor to see what solutions are available.

Hyperhidrosis Complications

If hyperhidrosis goes unchecked, it can have a negative impact on social life and even lead to minor skin infections.

Social and Emotional

This is the most obvious of hyperhidrosis complications. Sweaty armpits can lead to awkward hugs, embarrassing corporate encounters, and unnecessary stress on high school and college students. A serious case of sweaty underarms can ultimately turn a social butterfly into a cave dwelling hermit.

Sweaty palms can sap one’s confidence and work performance. Slippery equipment, golf clubs, keyboards, and game controllers are just a few of the annoying side effects of excessive hand sweating.

A sweaty face can quickly turn an impressive interview into an awkward distraction. The list goes on and on…

The truth is, hyperhidrosis really stinks (literally and figuratively). The really sad part… most individuals don’t know they have it and never take the proper steps to treat or control it.

Skin Infections

Hyperhidrosis can lead to minor skin conditions like athlete’s foot, jock itch, warts and some serious body odor (bromhidrosis).

Other infections that can be triggered by untreated hyperhidrosis include Dermatophytosis, Pitted Keratolysis, Verruca Plantaris, and Ingrown Toenails.

Underlying Health Conditions

If you think you might have secondary hyperhidrosis, talk to your doctor right away. Secondary hyperhidrosis is often a symptom of other illnesses. Treating the underlying illness often stops the excessive sweating.

If you think you might have primary hyperhidrosis, talk to a dermatologist. Don’t suffer in silence. There are treatments and products that can help. Let’s look at some…

Hyperhidrosis Treatments

There are many treatments that have proven effective in reducing the effects of hyperhidrosis, including antiperspirants, medications, and other advanced procedures.

Prescription Strength and Clinical Strength Antiperspirants

Many doctors prescribe and recommend a strong antiperspirant to treat hyperhidrosis. Clinical strength antiperspirants are effective as a result of their high concentration of aluminum chloride.

Aluminum chloride is the active ingredient in antiperspirant that does the actual sweat blocking. Antiperspirants can be used nearly anywhere on the body to control profuse sweating.

Some of the most effective antiperspirants can keep you sweat free and confident for 4-7 days with a single application.

Prescription Hyperhidrosis Creams

Prescription creams and topicals containing glycopyrrolate (also known as glycopyrronium bromide) are useful in treating craniofacial hyperhidrosis or sweating of the face and head. Glycopyrrolate is a compound used to treat ulcers and excessive drooling.

Hyperhidrosis Medications

Some medications taken by mouth block the chemicals that allow certain nerves to communicate with each other. By cutting off nerve communication some people have experienced reduced sweating.

These fall into two main categories: anticholinergics and beta blockers. But, there can be some unwanted side effects by taking these hyperhidrosis pills that include dry mouth, blurred vision and bladder problems. These include medications such as oxybutynin, glycopyrrolate, benztropine and propantheline.

Antidepressants

Some medications prescribed for depression can also decrease sweat gland output. These medicines may also help to decrease the anxiety that worsens hyperhidrosis.

Botox for Hyperhidrosis

Treatment with botulinum toxin (Botox) is a long-term solution that temporarily blocks the nerves that cause sweating.

If you and your doctor opt for botulinum toxin injections, your skin will first be anesthetized. Each affected area of your body will receive several injections to ensure that all the nerves have been treated.

The desired effects can last 6 to 12 months before the treatment must be repeated. While effective, this treatment is painful and some people experience temporary muscle pain in the treated areas.

Iontophoresis

An easy way of understanding this procedure is to think of it as an injection without a needle. It is non-invasive and, uses a small electric current to drive medications through the skin. It is often used to treat palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis Surgery and Other Advanced Treatments

If topical or medications taken by mouth don’t relieve excessive sweating, there are several other possible treatments. These may eliminate or at least greatly improve excessive perspiration. These include hyperhidrosis surgery or other invasive and expensive approaches. All of these must be prescribed by a doctor and administered in a doctor’s office of hospital.

Microwave Therapy

This treatment uses a device that delivers microwave energy to the targeted sweat glands. The procedure requires two 20 to 30 minute sessions, 90 days apart. Microwave therapy is expensive and may not be widely available. Unwanted side effects include a sensation change in the skin and possible discomfort.

miraDry

miraDry is a newer axillary hyperhidrosis treatment that also uses microwave energy to destroy targeted sweat glands. A doctor administers local anesthesia and then uses a hand-held device to suck sweat glands closer to the skin surface. The device then heats and destroys the underarm sweat glands while cooling the top layers of skin. miraDry has proven effective but will leave a considerable dent in your wallet.

Sweat Gland Removal

If profuse sweating is affecting only the armpits, removing the sweat glands may offer a permanent solution. Suction curettage is a minimally invasive procedure. A dermatologist will insert a suction tool into two small incisions. He/she then removes the sweat glands. This is a popular treatment of hyperhidrosis when other remedies fail to produce positive results.

Nerve Surgery (sympathectomy)

This is a procedure in which a surgeon cuts, burns or clamps spinal nerves that control sweating in the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis). Sometimes this treatment causes excessive compensatory sweating in other parts of the body.

Lifestyle Hacks to Help Reduce Effects of Hyperhidrosis

For many who suffer from hyperhidrosis, there are simple tricks that can be effective reducing excessive sweat. Lifestyle and other non-prescription remedies may also be good places to start searching for relief. These are basic, common sense ideas but they’re worth noting.

Bathe / Shower Daily

Regular bathing will help keep skin-borne bacteria in check. When finished, dry thoroughly with a clean towel especially between toes and under the arms.

Go Barefoot to Help Sweaty Feet

If going without shoes and socks isn’t possible, at least slip out of the shoes now and then throughout the day. Give your feet a chance to air out.

Choose Shoes and Socks Made of Natural Materials

Shoes made of leather or natural fabrics can help prevent sweaty feet by allowing your feet to breathe. During periods of high activity or exercise, moisture wicking socks are a good choice.

Wear Light Fabrics and Loose Fitting Clothing

It’s a good idea to wear natural fabrics like cotton, wool or silk. These fabrics allow your skin to breath. When exercising, wear moisture-wicking clothing. Dress in layers to avoid overheating.

Sweat Proof Undershirts

While a sweat proof undershirt won’t stop you from perspiring, it can absorb sweat throughout the day. This creates the perception of dry underarms and can keep embarrassing sweat marks and sweat stains at bay.

Hyperhidrosis Remedies and Natural Treatments

There are many who may prefer a hyperhirosis natural treatment. These include the use of herbs, diet, vitamins, supplements, and relaxation techniques.

Yoga

Practicing yoga can relax the body and reduce stress. Entire routines designed for reducing hyperhidrosis can be found online.

Acupuncture

There are a number of case studies indicating that acupuncture may be effective for some sufferers of primary hyperhidrosis. The duration of the improvement has yet to be determined.

Hypnosis

Hypnosis by a hypnosis practitioner or self-hypnosis have been suggested as alternative treatments. According to first-hand reports, positive results are dubious.

Fitness and hygiene

Regular exercise and avoiding obesity can be key factors in managing hyperhidrosis. Also reduce or eliminate the use of skin lotions and makeup or find natural substitutes.

Diet

Some dieticians recommend a diet of 80% plant-based foods to help control sweating. Along with plant-based (preferably organic) foods, they recommend eliminating MSG, GMOs and all trans fats. If meat is included, eat only small amounts of unprocessed, grass-fed meats. Vitamins B and D can help too.

Herbal Remedies

Advocates of herbal solutions have identified several herbal remedies that reportedly help manage hyperhidrosis. These include Witch Hazel, Sage, Valerian Root, St. John’s Wort, Burdock and Astragalus among others. Many are astringents that shrink skin pores when applied topically. Others exert a positive effect on the endocrine system when taken internally.

Hyperhidrosis Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re one of the estimated 15 million who suffer from hyperhidrosis, you probably have questions. Here are some of the most asked questions regarding excessive sweating and hyperhidrosis.

Do I have hyperhidrosis?

If you experience episodes of excessive sweating that occur at least once a week and for no clear reason you probably have hyperhidrosis. These include night sweats.

What is the best treatment for hyperhidrosis?

Everyone is different and each person will react differently to hyperhidrosis treatments. Depending on the seriousness of your hyperhidrosis symptoms, you’ll want to review the available treatments and decide which is best for you. Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor.

Is hyperhidrosis curable?

There is no known cure, no silver bullet for hyperhidrosis. However, many of the treatments described above are effective and can reduce or eliminate symptoms. They can get you feeling good again and functioning more effectively. Life can be better.

There is hope. There are many effective treatments that can reduce or eliminate your hyperhidrosis. Choose the one(s) that are best suited to you and your lifestyle.

Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating is a sweating disorder that affects an estimated 4.8% of the worldwide population. Hyperhidrosis is characterized by extreme and uncontrollable sweating of the underarms, hands, face, head or feet. This embarrassing sweat can lead to awkward social situations, depression, and frustration.

Sadly, there’s no silver bullet that will “cure hyperhidrosis”, but there are many effective treatments that can mitigate the embarrassing effects of excessive sweating.

In this article we’ll explore the all the available treatments for hyperhidrosis. With any luck, we’ll help you find the best hyperhidrosis treatment for you.

Clinical Strength or Prescription Strength Antiperspirant

Antiperspirants come in varying types, potency, application methods, and effectiveness. The most common are those found at your local grocery store. Depending on how much you sweat and what parts of the body are affected, you’ll need to find an antiperspirant that works for you. A stronger antiperspirant, sometimes clinical strength, will usually yield a better result.

How does Antiperspirant help treat excessive sweating?

According to the experts at sweathelp.org, “Antiperspirants are applied to the top of the skin (which is why you sometime hear them called “topical” treatments). Once an antiperspirant is applied to the skin, perspiration in the underarm grabs and dissolves the antiperspirant particles, pulling them into the pores and forming superficial plugs that are just below the surface of the skin. When your body senses that the sweat duct is plugged, a feedback mechanism stops the flow.”

It’s not uncommon for people to ask “what’s the best deodorant for hyperhidrosis?”

The answer might be surprising. There isn’t one. Deodorants don’t stop or reduce sweat. Deodorant eliminates odor causing bacteria and masks body odor. Antiperspirant / Deodorant combo products are out there, but they typically fall short in treating more severe cases of hyperhidrosis.

What is the best antiperspirant for hyperhidrosis?

There are many effective antiperspirant solutions out there, but it’s important to find an antiperspirant that works best for you. Each person has different body chemistry and one antiperspirant that works for person A, may not work at all for person B. I know… it’s not the answer you were looking for.

A good place to start: Thanks to the interwebs, we have access to a whole world of people giving real-time feedback of every available antiperspirant. It’s not hard to find which antiperspirants are actually doing their job… and doing it well. Start with the most reputable antiperspirant brands (Lots of sales, user reviews, and positive customer feedback). This one has over 3000 5-star reviews on Amazon 😉

An Antiperspirant Recommendation from Trusted Medical Expert Dr. Keri Peterson

Dr. Keri Peterson, a prominent New York doctor, Women’s Health Magazine contributor, and trusted medical expert for ABC, NBC, FOX, The Rachael Ray Show, and many other news/talk shows explains excessive sweating and recommends an effective hyperhidrosis treatment.

Watch the video below…

Here’s the video transcript…

“Many of my patients come to me with concerns about excessive sweating. They want to know what causes it and how to treat hyperhidrosis…

Sweating is our bodies natural cooling process when we get hot and it’s controlled by the sympathetic nervous system.

Now, this system in some people gets over active and that causes excessive sweating. Also know as hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis can be very debilitating for some people because it causes a lot of social anxiety and embarrassment.

One thing that I recommend to my patients is to try a clinical strength antiperspirant like Sweatblock. SweatBlock’s active ingredient is Aluminum Chloride and this is much stronger than some of the standard antiperspirants that you’ll find at your local retailer. SweatBlock can be used by everyone. But, because of it’s clinical strength effectiveness, it’s particularly useful for people who suffer from excessive sweating.

SweatBlock is also unique in that it’s applied with a pre-soaked towelette. You dab it under your arms before you go to bed at night. And this allows the product to work while you and your sweat glands are resting. SweatBlock is a great intermediary step when you find that your standard antiperspirant just isn’t effective enough and you want to try something before you go to the doctors office to get a prescription.

Now many people may wonder isn’t it medically dangerous to block the sweat from under your arms. The answer is No. We have millions of sweat glands and our underarms represent a very small percentage of them. You’ll be able to cool off just fine by using all of the other sweat glands in your body.”

SCORE CARD – Antiperspirants:

PROS:
  • Inexpensive
  • Widely Accessible
  • FDA Regulated
  • Generally Effective
  • Easy Application
CONS:
  • Some are messy and chalky
  • Some cause garment staining
  • Some may cause skin irritation
  • May not be effective for severe cases

Botox for Hyperhidrosis

If you’re not experiencing favorable results from a clinical strength antiperspirant, you may want to consider Botox injections. Although Botox (Botulinum Toxin) is commonly used for wrinkle treatment, it can also be used to temporarily reduce the effects of hyperhidrosis.

If you’re not afraid of needles, read on…

How can Botox help treat hyperhidrosis and excessive sweating?

According to experts at the National Hyperhidrosis Society, “OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) is a natural, purified protein with the ability to temporarily block the secretion of the chemical that is responsible for “turning on” the body’s sweat glands. By blocking, or interrupting, this chemical messenger, botulinum toxin “turns off” sweating at the area where it has been injected. Botox injections are very shallow, meaning that the medicine is injected just below the surface of the skin, where it remains.”

SCORE CARD – Botox for Excessive Sweating:

PROS:
  • Generally Effective
  • Widely Available through Certified Physicians
  • Minimally invasive
CONS:
  • Very Expensive (avg. $1500/treatment)
  • Must be repeated to maintain effectiveness (every 7-12 months)
  • Did we mention needles?

miraDry for Hyperhidrosis

Like Botox, miraDry is a treatment that can be considered if stronger antiperspirants are not effective for you. miraDry is a relatively new treatment that was cleared by the FDA in 2011 for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis or excessive underarm sweating. While not as accessible as Botox from certified physicians, it is generally available in most parts of the US. Studies show up to an 83% reduction in excessive underarm perspiration.

How does the miraDray procedure help treat excess sweating?

According the the National Hyperhidrosis Society, “miraDry uses a non-invasive handheld device to deliver precisely controlled electromagnetic energy beneath the underarm skin to the specific area where sweat glands are located, resulting in thermolysis (decomposition by heat) of the sweat glands. While the sweat glands are being eliminated through electromagnetic technology, the top layers of the skin are simultaneously cooled and protected. Sweat glands are not believed to grow back after treatment so the effect can be seen almost immediately and results are lasting.”

In other words: miraDry kills your sweat glands by… microwaving them.

SCORE CARD – miraDry hyperhidrosis treatment:

PROS:
  • FDA Approved
  • Lasting Results
CONS:
  • miraDry cost = Expensive (about $3000)
  • Somewhat painful procedure (more needles)
  • Microwaving your sweat glands permanently might be objectional to some

Oral Hyperhidrosis Medication

Can it really be as easy as taking a pill to treat hyperhidrosis? Yes and no. Yes, there are pills that will help you manage excessive sweating. No, these pills are not for everyone and they do come with side effects.

The most common medications used for excessive sweating are known as anticholinergics. Some brand names for these medications are Ditropan, Robinul, and Por-banthine.

If you’ve struggled to find a hyperhidrosis treatment that works for you -or- you’re dealing with compensatory sweating issues, you might consider asking your doctor about anticholinergic drugs or other hyperhidrosis medications. Remember, this kind of treatment is considered a last resort and comes with a long list of risk factors.

How Anticholinergic Medications Help Reduce Excessive Sweating:

Anticholinergics drugs block the neurotransmission that triggers sweat production. Basically they block your bodies ability to tell itself to produce sweat. Unfortunately, this stops or reduces sweating throughout your whole body, not just your problem areas. Side effect may include dry mouth, blurred vision, dry eyes, constipation, urinary retention, over heating and more. Because of these side effects, medical practitioners have been cautious is recommending anticholinergic drugs and typically reserve as a later option in the process of treating hyperhidrosis.

SCORE CARD – Oral Hyperhidrosis Medications (Anticholinergics):

PROS:
  • Easy
  • Non-Invasive
  • Effective
CONS:
  • Many Side Effects
  • Not FDA approved for hyperhidrosis treatment
  • Stops all sweating, not just problem areas
  • Potential negative interaction with other drugs

Final Thoughts: Is there a best treatment for hyperhidrosis? It’s not an easy question to answer. For some people, a strong antiperspirant like SweatBlock can be the right answer. Others find favorable results using Botox or miraDry. And some even turn to hyperhidrosis surgery for relief. Body chemistry, severity of the hyperhidrosis and affected areas are all factors in determining what treatement will be best for you.

If you have severe hyperhidrosis symptoms, always consult your doctor to make sure there aren’t more serious medical conditions involved.