Everything you ever wanted to know about sweating. Why, How, Whatever…

You wake up in the middle of the night drenched from head to toe in sweat. Your pajamas are soaked, and your sheets feel like they just came out of the washing machine. Has this ever happened to you? If so, then you’ve had night sweats. There are a number of reasons why you might be suffering from excessive sweating at night.

Top 16 Causes of Night Sweating

  • 1. Perimenopause and Menopause
  • 2. Diabetic or Nocturnal Hypoglycemia
  • 3. Hormone Disorders
  • 4. Hyperhidrosis
  • 5. Infections
  • 6. Cancer
  • 7. Antidepressants
  • 8. Medication
  • 9. Neurologic Disorders
  • 10. Hyperthyroidism
  • 11. Caffeine
  • 12. Tuberculosis
  • 13. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • 14. Anxiety Disorder
  • 15. Obesity
  • 16. Low Testosterone (Low-T) Levels in Men

Night Sweats : Common Causes

What causes night sweats?

It’s probably not what you think. They’re not brought on because you wore too many layers to bed or piled on too many blankets. They’re not because you have the thermostat turned up too high or slept too close to that romantic fire in the fireplace. Yes, these things can make you sweat during sleep and soak your sheets, but they’re not considered true night sweats.

True night sweats are repeated episodes of excessive sweating that make you feel like a mop in need of wringing out. They’re due to an underlying medical condition or disease. When the conditions that cause the nighttime profuse sweating are treated or overcome, the night sweats and hot flashes stop. Let’s examine the most common causes of night sweats in men and women.

1. Perimenopause and Menopause

The time in life when women begin to transition into middle age is called perimenopause (means “around menopause”) or menopause transition. This is when a woman’s ovaries begin producing less estrogen. It normally happens to women over 40 but can occur earlier. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, when a woman’s ovaries stop releasing eggs and they stop having menstrual cycles. Night sweats and hot flashes are among the most common symptoms. Other symptoms include nausea, weight gain, and tenderness of the breasts. Once a woman moves from perimenopause to full-blown menopause, the symptoms can increase in number and severity. The average age for the onset of menopause in the United States is 51.

Night sweats are a common occurrence in menopausal women. This happens because of hormonal changes affecting estrogen and progesterone levels. These hormones affect the body’s temperature control system. When they’re out-of-whack, like during menopause, get ready for the night sweats.

Certain lifestyle practices may help reduce night sweats due to menopause. Avoid these hot flash and night sweating triggers:

  • Smoking– including secondhand smoke
  • Tight or restrictive clothing
  • Too many blankets or sheets on your bed
  • Drinking alcoholic or caffeinated drinks
  • Eating spicy foods
  • Overly warm environments
  • Too much stress

When sleeping, you can try these remedies reduce menopause night sweats:

  • Lower the room’s temperature
  • Turn on a fan
  • Remove blankets or sheets
  • Wear light sleep apparel
  • Try cooling gels, sprays or essential oils
  • Have a few sips of cool water
  • Relax
  • Try plant-based supplements that claim to relieve or reduce night sweats

The only sure-fire cure is to grow a little older and move out of the menopausal stage of life. Not very comforting, but in this case, time is a highly effective cure.

2. Diabetic or Nocturnal Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a common condition among people with diabetes (both type 1 and type 2). It happens when the level of sugar in the blood drops too low to maintain normal body functioning. This is thought to be 70 milligrams or lower per deciliter.

Nocturnal hypoglycemia is when blood sugar levels fall to dangerous levels during sleep. Most common in diabetes sufferers, it can happen when too little food is eaten after the nighttime dose of insulin or if too much insulin is taken before sleeping.

The symptoms of hypoglycemia while sleeping are:

  • Night sweats
  • Restless sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares or vivid dreams
  • Morning headache
  • Convulsions

While less common, hypoglycemia can also happen in people who don’t have diabetes. Non-diabetic hypoglycemia can occur if your body is unable to stabilize blood sugar levels or if your body produces a little too much insulin after a meal. Night sweating is also a symptom of non-diabetic hypoglycemia.

The treatments for hypoglycemia depend upon the cause. The initial approach for any type of hypoglycemia is eating a fast-acting carbohydrate, sugary food or fruit juice. Foods containing fat or protein are not good choices because they affect the way the body absorbs sugar.

Diabetics regulate glucose levels through doses of insulin and frequent checking of glucose levels. If you’re not diabetic, there may be another underlying cause for your hypoglycemia. Visit with your primary care physician for help in diagnosing another illness that may be responsible for causing hypoglycemic night sweats.

3. Hormone Disorders

Hormonal disorders or imbalances occur whenever there is an overabundance or deficiency of a hormone in the bloodstream. Because of the power of hormones and the essential roles they play in the proper functioning of our bodies, even a small imbalance can cause unpleasant or even dangerous symptoms. A common symptom is night sweats.

Hormones are chemical compounds produced by glands in our endocrine systems. They move throughout the body via the blood to deliver messages and instructions to our organs. They regulate many of the body’s vital functions. These include insulin, steroids, growth hormones, adrenaline, and many more.

Everybody will experience hormonal imbalances. Men and women will have them when going through puberty or growth spurts. Women go through menopause. Men experience testosterone level changes. The causes of hormonal imbalances range from medical disorders to obesity and dietary issues. Allergies and physical injury can also cause hormonal problems.

Effective treatments are dependent upon the cause. Make an appointment with your primary care physician to get started on diagnosing the cause and best treatment for your hormonal imbalance. Your doctor can offer a hormone therapy tailored to your situation.

4. Hyperhidrosis

Night sweats are often caused by hyperhidrosis, a condition characterized by excessive and uncontrollable sweating for no apparent reason. It’s a disorder that affects about 15 million people in the United States. Its cause is not well understood but is thought to be hereditary. While there is no cure, there are a number of effective treatments.

In this instance, when excessive sweating happens in the night, it’s not because you’ve stacked on too many blankets or you’re wearing the latest in thermal underwear. It’s not even because you’re having a bad drug side effect or even an imbalance of hormones. It’s because your sweat glands are being triggered into hyperactivity by your nervous system.

Sufferers of hyperhidrosis not only experience night sweats, but also profuse sweating during the day. Their lives are profoundly affected by excessive sweating in every situation and setting, even while completely rested and relaxed in sleep.

There are dozens of treatments for hyperhidrosis. Some are simple, easy, and inexpensive while others can be invasive, expensive, and painful. One of the best and most frequently used is a prescription strength antiperspirant like SweatBlock. These contain an aluminum chloride ingredient that effectively blocks sweat glands from secreting sweat by forming a gel-like plug. A single application can last up to 7 days. SweatBlock products are proven safe, effective, and life-altering.

5. Infections

Infections are a well-known cause of night sweats. The most common infection linked to night sweats is tuberculosis. HIV infections are also frequently accompanied by night sweats. Other infections associated with night sweats are endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valves), osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bones) and abscesses. Night sweats caused by an infection are alleviated by treating the underlying infection.

6. Cancer

Cancer is one of the other causes of night sweats. Sweating at night is an early symptom of multiple forms of cancer. The most prevalent type of cancer associated with night sweats is lymphoma. Lymphoma is cancer that begins in the lymphocytes, the immune system cells that fight infections. People who have undiagnosed cancer often exhibit other symptoms, like unexplained weight loss and frequent fever. The treatment for night sweats caused by cancer is the treatment of the cancer itself.

7. Antidepressants

Night sweats can result from taking antidepressants. Studies have shown that up to 22% of men and women taking antidepressants experience night sweats as a side effect. This kind of sweating is called secondary hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating caused by a secondary and unrelated medical problem. Two antidepressants, sertraline and venlafaxine, are notably linked to nights sweats. The good news is that if antidepressants are causing night sweats or other negative side effects, they can be managed and even reversed.

As reported by the International Hyperhidrosis Society, Dr. Jonathan Scarff found that an anticholinergic medicine called benztropine reduced or eliminated antidepressant sweating. If you take an antidepressant and you’re suffering from night sweats, talk to your doctor about finding a therapy that can help you get a good night’s sleep without sweating.

8. Medication

In addition to antidepressants, there are over 100 medications that can cause night sweats. These types of medications include:

  • Analgesics (pain medication)
  • Antimicrobials (antibiotics and antivirals)
  • Asthma Inhalers
  • Cardiovascular (heart and blood pressure) medication
  • Chemotherapeutic (Oncological/cancer) medicine
  • Diabetes medication
  • Endocrine (hormonal) medication
  • Gatrointestinal (stomach and GI track) medicine
  • Head and neck medicine
  • Hematologic/Immunologic/Immunosuppressant medication
  • Neuropsychiatric medication
  • Ophthalmologic (eye) medicine
  • Pulmonary (lung) medication
  • Urologic medication

What can you do if a medication you are taking causes excessive sweating at night? Your options include reducing the dose, finding a substitute drug, or discontinuing the medications altogether. Don’t do any of these things without first consulting your doctor.

While night sweating is a known side effect of many of the medicines in the above categories, most will cause night sweats in a very small percentage of users. Medicines that are most likely to cause night sweats in 50% or more of those taking them are listed below:

  • Zinc supplements (Cold-Eeze, Galzin, Orazinc, Zincate) for the head and neck
  • Desipramine (Norpramin) A neuropsychiatric drug
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor) A neuropsychiatric drug
  • Please note: The above lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.

9. Neurologic Disorders

Another rare cause of night sweats in men and women is a neurological disorder. Some of these disorders are dysreflexia, post-traumatic syringomyelia, stroke, and autonomic neuropathy. If you’re experiencing night sweats and you’ve been diagnosed with one of these disorders, it’s likely to be the cause.

10. Hyperthyroidism

The thyroid gland is two inches long, shaped roughly like a butterfly, and located in the front area of your neck. It produces hormones that control and regulate the body’s metabolic rate, heart, muscles, digestive functions, development of the brain and bone maintenance. The thyroid even helps regulate cholesterol levels. It’s an essential part of the endocrine system.

If your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, the overproduction of the hormone creates a condition known as hyperthyroidism. An estimated 30 million Americans suffer from some form of thyroid disorder. Hyperthyroidism most common occurs most commonly in women over 35.

One of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism is excessive sweating, especially at night. An underproduction of thyroid hormones can also cause night sweats. Treatments for hyperthyroidism range from taking radioactive iodine or other antithyroid medicines by mouth to invasive thyroid surgery. Successfully treating the thyroid will stop this cause of night sweats.

11. Caffeine

Here’s some bad news for people, especially women, who drink coffee, tea and/or caffeinated sodas. Caffeinated drinks might be causing those troublesome hot flashes and night sweats. Researchers have discovered a link between caffeine consumption, hot flashes, and night sweats in women.

According to well-known obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Julia Schlam Edelman:

“Coffee is an especially common trigger of night sweats, and it’s a beverage that is more popular than ever. The number of specialty coffee shops is multiplying, and the coffee cups are getting larger — an extra-large Dunkin’ Donuts cup of hot coffee is 24 ounces; a “Venti” at Starbucks is 20 ounces. The more coffee you drink, the longer it takes to eliminate the caffeine from your body. Half the caffeine in a cup of coffee consumed by a healthy, non-pregnant adult is eliminated in six hours. If you drink a large cup of coffee (which may have 200 milligrams of caffeine) at 4:00 p.m., 100 milligrams of caffeine will be eliminated from your body by 10:00 p.m., leaving another 100 milligrams in your body that evening. This will disrupt your normal sleep pattern and promote night sweats.”

If you’re having hot flashes or night sweats and you’re consuming lots of coffee or tea, you’ll probably want to significantly reduce your caffeine habit. It probably doesn’t matter what temperature your caffeine is, so large servings of Coke, Pepsi or Dr. Pepper (among many others) can have the same effect.

12. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs, though it can affect other organs as well. The infection is spread when a person inhales tiny droplets expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes. TB can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages, and you could have TB and not know it. An infected person can be afflicted with tuberculosis for weeks before they begin to feel sick or experience symptoms.

In addition to the lungs, TB also affects the lymph nodes. A lymph node (lymph gland) is a small gland about the size and shape of a bean. Lymph nodes are an important component of the body’s immune system. They contain lymphocytes (white blood cells) that enable the body to fight disease and infection. They act as filters, trapping bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing substances before they can infect other regions of the body. Lymph nodes are connected to each other by a network of lymph vessels. Lymph nodes are found in groups and concentrations of lymph nodes are located in the neck, underarms, chest, groin and the abdomen area.

Symptoms of TB, while sometimes difficult to detect, usually include swollen glands and night sweats. Other common tuberculosis symptoms are fatigue, weight loss, and chronic fever. Tuberculosis can be treated with antibiotics, though particularly virulent and drug-resistant strains require prolonged treatment with a cocktail of several medications.

13. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat narrows, restricting breathing while sleeping. During sleep, breathing dangerously stops and starts repeatedly. Many people suffer from sleep apnea without knowing it. Loud snoring is one of the main symptoms. Those who suffer from untreated sleep apnea are three times more likely to have night sweats than others.

Sleep apnea is treated by wearing a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device during sleep. The device sends a gentle current of pressurized air into the throat keeping it open.

14. Anxiety Disorder

Feeling anxious from time to time is something we all experience. We become especially anxious when faced with a difficult problem, taking an exam, preparing for a job interview or even before a first date. Anxiety disorder is something altogether different.

Anxiety disorders are classified as mental illnesses and interfere with everyday living. People with an anxiety disorder live in constant fear, worry and even dread. Just leaving the house can bring on an episode and leave them paralyzed. When your nervous system becomes hyperstimulated because of stress, the body can respond erratically causing dysfunctions like sweating profusely during sleep.

Sweating while sleeping is a predominant symptom of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Night sweats caused by anxiety can occur infrequently or every night. They can come and go with no real pattern, ranging from slight to severe. You could wake up with just a little sweat on your brow or be completely soaked from head to toe.

Night sweats due to anxiety will stop when the stress stops. If you think you might be suffering from night sweats due to anxiety disorder, make an appointment with your doctor to explore ways to treat your anxiety.

15. Obesity

Obesity by itself can lead to night sweats. BMI (Body Mass Index) is a measure of a person’s weight in relationship to height and measures total body fat in adults. A BMI score of 26 to 27 would be considered overweight and can lead to moderate health risks. It’s estimated that 20% of Americans are classified as overweight.

A BMI score of 30 or higher is considered obese. Night sweats are a common result of obesity. Body fat acts as insulation and will keep heat in. More heat means more hot flashes and night sweats. In women, obesity can increase the severity of menopause symptoms.

The treatment is not complicated nor is it simple. Losing weight will stop hot flashes and night sweats caused by obesity.

16. Low Testosterone (Low-T) Levels in Men

We’ve explored several causes of night sweats and hot flashes in women, now it’s time to talk about night sweats in men. While women go through menopause, the change in estrogen levels can cause night sweats. Men, on the other hand, don’t normally experience dramatic drops in testosterone, but when low testosterone does occur, it can have a similar impact.

Doctors and scientists don’t know why a drop in testosterone levels causes hot flashes and night sweats. There is speculation that the hypothalamus, the region of the brain responsible for regulating body temperature, is the guilty organ. When operating normally, the hypothalamus signals blood vessels to dilate when the body becomes overheated. The increased blood flow causes a man’s face to become flushed. To deal with the elevated temperature, sweat glands are activated. Sweating is, of course, the body’s way of regulating its temperature.

Low-T may somehow cause the hypothalamus to “jump the gun” and cause unwelcome and profuse sweating during sleep by triggering the 2 to 4 million sweat glands in your body. Hormone replacement therapy may provide relief but can also increase the chance of prostate cancer. For men who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, hormone replacement therapy is not an option.

Low-T is not the only condition that can cause night sweats in men. If you’re experiencing night sweats, be sure to see your doctor.

Treating Your Night Sweats

Night sweats are not uncommon and affect an estimated 3 percent of the population. Although most cases of night sweating are not caused by life-threatening conditions, you should always talk with a qualified physician to determine the cause. Cancer, tuberculosis and other serious diseases could be the underlying causes.

There are effective treatments that can alleviate or significantly reduce night sweats in men and women. These treatments include oral medication, changing your diet, or using a clinical-strength antiperspirant like SweatBlock. Take advantage of the tried and true remedies so that you don’t have to “sweat it” when you go to sleep.

Are you sweating profusely for no apparent reason? Is it the kind of sweating that can’t be explained by exercise or external temperature– or even unusual stress?

The cause of your excessive sweating may be diaphoresis.

In this article we’ll explore the following topics surrounding diaphoresis…

  • What is Diaphoresis?
  • What Causes Diaphoresis?
  • What Medications Can Cause Diaphoresis?
  • How is Diaphoresis Different than Hyperhidrosis?
  • When Should I Get Medical Help or Talk to My Doctor?
  • What are the Treatment Options for Diaphoresis?

Why do we sweat? Sweating is the natural way the body manages and regulates its temperature. When functioning normally, your body perspires when you’re engaged in exertion or physical exercise, exposed to external heat, and even when you’re feeling unusual mental or emotional stress.

When you perspire, your brain signals the millions of sweat glands located all over your body (except ear canals, lips, and genitals) to secret moisture composed mostly of water and electrolytes. Once this sweat reaches the surface of the skin, it evaporates. The evaporation of your sweat dissipates heat which in turn cools the body.

If unusual and excessive sweating occurs for no apparent reason, then something else is going on. It may be primary hyperhidrosis (more about that later) or diaphoresis. It’s important to understand the difference to know exactly what’s happening with your body.

Diaphoresis

What is Diaphoresis?

Diaphoresis is excessive sweating caused by one or more secondary (meaning separate and not related) medical conditions. It can also be a side effect of certain medications. Diaphoresis is not a problem of a malfunctioning nervous system or overactive sweat glands, and treating it successfully usually requires medical attention to discover the specific cause.

Diaphoresis is also known as secondary hyperhidrosis because it is a symptom of a secondary disorder. Once the cause is identified and properly treated, the excessive sweating stops.

What Causes Diaphoresis?

There are dozens of diseases and medical conditions that can cause diaphoresis. Some of the most common causes are:

Menopause

A majority of women (85% or more) experience periods of increased sweating, night sweats, and hot flashes during menopause. As a woman transitions from fertility to infertility, fluctuating hormones send false signals to the brain that the body is overheating. This results in excessive perspiration and night sweats. Once the menopausal change progresses, the bouts of profuse sweating and night sweats usually cease. Some women find relief through hormone therapy for a short time.

Obesity

Obesity can cause diaphoresis in both men and women. Defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, obesity is very common in the United States and affects one-third of all adults. Losing sufficient weight almost always causes the excessive sweating to stop.

Diabetes

For people with diabetes, sweating profusely is an early symptom of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Critically low blood sugar is a result of either too much insulin or too little sugar. This causes the body to lapse into a fight-or-flight state, releasing hormones that increase sweating. Proper management of diabetes significantly reduces the occurrence of diaphoresis.

Parkinson’s Disease

Coping with Parkinson’s disease is very difficult, but when you add excessive sweating to the equation it becomes even worse. Parkinson’s disease affects the autonomic nervous system, causing the body to lose its ability to properly regulate many body functions. Changes in the sweat glands often occur and can cause Parkinson’s sufferers to sweat uncontrollably.

Pregnancy

Increased hormone levels (some may say raging hormones) in a woman’s body during pregnancy can cause heavy perspiration. As a pregnant woman’s metabolism speeds up, her body temperature rises, which can cause abnormal sweating. The extra weight gained during pregnancy may also increase the likelihood of diaphoresis. Fortunately, it’s only a 9-month-long condition, then the sweat glands return to normal.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the body’s joints, causing swelling, pain, and stiffness. A common symptom of this disorder is excessive sweating.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a medical condition in which the thyroid gland shifts into hyperactivity, producing too much of the hormone thyroxine. The overabundance of thyroxine speeds up the body’s metabolism and causes heavy sweating (among a number of other symptoms).

Heart Attack

A heart attack, aka myocardial infarction, happens when a portion of your heart muscle becomes damaged or dies. Symptoms include heavy sweating, faintness, chest pain, pain in one or both arms, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and a pale or ashen colored face.

Cancer

Diaphoresis is linked to several types of cancer. Among them are lymphoma, leukemia, bone cancer, liver cancer, testicular cancer, as well as carcinoid tumors.

Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is an intense and acute allergic reaction. One of the first signs of an anaphylaxis reaction is an instant onset of heavy and profuse sweating. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction that requires immediate attention and treatment.

Alcohol and Drug Withdrawal

Profuse sweating often occurs when those addicted to alcohol or drugs go through withdrawal. Going “cold turkey” not only leads to excessive sweating but also includes other reactions that can be temporarily life-threatening.

Gout

Diaphoresis (secondary hyperhidrosis) can also be caused by gout. Gout is a common form of arthritis that develops from high levels of uric acid in the blood. It can strike anyone. In addition to excessive sweating, other symptoms of gout include sudden swelling and joint pain, usually in the big toe.

What Medications Can Cause Diaphoresis?

There are hundreds of medicines that have been known to cause excessive sweating. The most common medicines that can cause diaphoresis include:

Antidepressants

All varieties and classes of antidepressants may cause diaphoresis. Antidepressants increase serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin affects the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that regulates the body’s core temperature.

Migraine Medication

Medicine for migraines can cause excessive sweating if they contain triptan– such as sumatriptan, rizatriptan, frovatriptan and eletriptan. These substances also increase serotonin levels.

Pain Relievers

Aspirin or ibuprofen are known to cause excessive sweating. The over-the-counter pain medicines reduce a fever by dilating blood vessels, causing heat to be dissipated through the skin. Opioids may also cause heavy sweating.

Diabetes Medication

Insulin, glyburide, glipizide, pioglitazone, and other diabetes medication are known to cause diaphoresis. Heavy sweating can occur as the body adjusts to altered blood sugar levels.

Asthma Inhalers

Certain asthma inhalers which contain beta-agonist drugs may trigger excessive sweating. Albuterol and levalbuterol directly stimulate sweat glands to produce more sweat.

Heartburn Medication

Heartburn and reflux medicines like Prilosec and Prevacid are known to cause sweating as a side effect.

Sildenafil (Viagra)

Viagra, known as sildenafil in its generic form, may also cause diaphoresis. The drug dilates blood vessels to heighten blood flow, which can cause flushing and spontaneous sweating.

Ropinirole

Also known as Requip, this medication is commonly prescribed to treat restless leg syndrome and Parkinson’s disease. It activates dopamine receptors which can lead to profuse sweating.

Breast Cancer Medication

Excessive sweating can be a side effect of certain breast cancer medications, such as anastrozole, exemestane, letrozole, and tamoxifen. These drugs are anti-estrogen compounds designed to prevent breast cancer from recurring.

Leuprolide

Luprolide, known commercially as the brand name Lupron, is a drug prescribed to treat endometriosis and prostate cancer. It lowers hormone levels in both men and women and can lead to heavy sweating and night sweats.

How is Diaphoresis Different than Hyperhidrosis?

There are two types of hyperhidrosis– primary hyperhidrosis (also called focal hyperhidrosis) and secondary hyperhidrosis (sometimes called generalized hyperhidrosis).

Diaphoresis and secondary hyperhidrosis are synonymous they are different medical terms for the same condition. But diaphoresis is different from primary (focal) hyperhidrosis. Let’s explore how diaphoresis is like secondary hyperhidrosis but different from primary hyperhidrosis.

Primary or focal hyperhidrosis is a serious medical disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable sweating not related to heat or exercise. Recent research indicates that it affects about 5% or the world’s population. It can be focused on the underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis), the hands or palms (palmar hyperhidrosis), the feet (plantar hyperhidrosis) or the head and face (craniofacial hyperhidrosis).

What causes primary hyperhidrosis is unknown, but it is thought to be hereditary. The nervous system triggers localized sweat glands, known as eccrine glands, into hyperactivity for no apparent reason and without external stimuli such as elevated body temperature and exertion. This extreme perspiration can negatively affect the physical, emotional, mental and social aspects of life. There is no cure. However, there are numerous effective treatments that can reduce or eliminate the excessive sweating due to primary hyperhidrosis.

The cause of secondary hyperhidrosis, or diaphoresis, is something else entirely. While the symptoms of diaphoresis and primary hyperhidrosis are identical– profuse, uncontrollable sweating– diaphoresis is caused by a secondary or underlying cause not related to over-active sweat glands. The possible causes include the disorders and medications identified above as well as dozens of other less common ones. Unlike primary hyperhidrosis, once the underlying disorder is successfully treated, the excessive sweating usually stops.

When Should I Get Medical Help or Talk to My Doctor?

It’s normal to sweat when you work out, become hot, or find yourself in a nervous or anxious situation such as a job interview, important presentation, or on a first date. Nervous sweating is also normal, though darn inconvenient at times. But you should become concerned if you find yourself frequently soaking through your shirts or socks, or trying to hide your perpetually wet, clammy hands. Yes, it’s embarrassing, but thankfully your excessive sweating can be treated. Don’t suffer in silence out of shyness or shame. Start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she can refer you to a specialist if necessary.

What are the Treatment Options for Diaphoresis?

The best and most effective treatment of diaphoresis is to treat the underlying disease or disorder that is triggering the profuse sweating.

In the meantime, here are some remedies that may help reduce your excessive sweating. When it comes to some of these natural and home remedies, your mileage may vary. The International Hyperhidrosis Society has concluded there is “little research to recommend such natural remedies, but this does not discount their potential.”

Natural Remedies for Treating Diaphoresis

Camphor

Camphor was once made by distilling wood from the camphor tree. Today it is synthesized chemically. It’s used in such products as Vicks VapoRub. Dissolve a small portion of camphor or some camphor oil in some fractionated coconut oil. Apply the mixture to affected areas and leave it on the skin for 40 to 60 minutes. Then wash the area gently with cool, clean water. Camphor can also be added to bath water to help reduce sweating.

Vinegar

When applied directly to your skin, vinegar acts as an astringent that eliminates many bacteria and will also close up pores. Use a cotton ball to dab a little apple cider vinegar on the desired areas overnight. Simply wash it off when you shower or bathe in the morning.

Tomato Juice

A glass of tomato juice or a tomato-rich diet can help control profuse sweating by regulating your internal body temperature.

Green and Black Tea

Green tea contains magnesium and vitamin B. These act as astringents and constrict sweat glands. A cup of green tea in the morning may help reduce sweating. Black tea is also an astringent. Brew one or two black tea bags, allowing the tea to steep for 10 minutes. Apply the tea directly to your underarms with a clean washcloth.

Essential Oils

Those who prefer natural remedies often recommend essential oils as a remedy for excessive sweating. If you want to try essential oils, you should thoroughly study the potential benefits and hazards of each beforehand.

Here are 3 of the most popular essential oils for controlling sweat:

  • Sage oil has long been used to ease the symptoms of menopause.
  • Cistus oil is an astringent that can shrink pores.
  • Clary Sage oil contains linalyl acetate which has calming properties.

Other Effective Remedies

There are several effective remedies for primary hyperhidrosis. However, because of their permanence, expense, or invasiveness, they likely wouldn’t be appropriate for treating diaphoresis. It’s important to remember that curing diaphoresis means identifying and successfully treating the underlying, unrelated disease or disorder that triggers the excessive sweating.

Short of overcoming the disorder that’s responsible for diaphoresis, here are two remedies that can treat the profuse sweating without permanently altering, removing or destroying sweat glands:

Clinical-Strength or Prescription-Strength Antiperspirants

These powerful antiperspirant products, like SweatBlock, are different than the antiperspirants you find on the shelves of your local grocery or drug store. They contain higher concentrations of the aluminum chloride, a compound that temporarily blocks the sweat glands from secreting sweat. When aluminum chloride comes in contact with water (your sweat), it forms a gel-like plug that blocks sweat from reaching the surface of the skin. A single application of a prescription strength antiperspirant may last up to a week before it must be reapplied.

Botox Injections

Botox is a natural, purified protein that can temporarily impede the chemical that “turns on” the body’s sweat glands. It blocks the nerves that cause sweating. Botox injections are shallow and the medicine is injected just below the surface of the skin. The desired effects will last 6 to 12 months before the treatment must be repeated. While effective, this treatment is very expensive and can be painful.

A Final Note

Diaphoresis, by definition, is always caused by another illness or medication. The best treatment is always to identify and appropriately treat the underlying condition. Once that happens, the excessive sweating almost always stops. If treatment for the secondary cause is not possible or requires a prolonged period to take effect, there are treatments and remedies that can help in the meantime. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and available treatment options.

Do you suffer from chronic, excessive sweating? Hyperhidrosis, the official medical term for profuse sweating, affects millions here in the USA and around the world. Antiperspirants with aluminum chloride are the first line of defense against extreme sweating.

6 Things You Should Know About Aluminum Chloride

  • What is aluminum chloride?
  • How does aluminum chloride stop sweating?
  • Is aluminum chloride safe? False claims debunked
  • What are the side effects of aluminum chloride and how to minimize them?
  • Other forms of aluminum used in antiperspirants
  • Discovery and history of aluminum chloride

aluminum chloride facts

What is aluminum chloride?

(Read on with caution – scientific terms to follow)

The chemical formula for aluminum chloride is AICI3. As its name implies, it is a chemical compound of aluminum and chlorine. For you chemistry buffs, AICI3 has three electrons in its valence shell. It forms a covalent compound with chlorine. It doesn’t form an octet by combining with chlorine, so it can take 2 more electrons. This makes it a Lewis Acid (Lewis acid is a compound that can take an electron from a donor compound.) Whew!

The molar mass of aluminum chloride is 133.34 g/mole. (What the heck is a mole?) A mole is a unit of measurement used by chemists. It indicates the number of atoms, ions, molecules, etc., in a given chemical sample. Fun fact: Aluminum chloride can exist as a solid, liquid or gas.

Aluminum chloride is classified as an aluminum salt. It is found naturally in rocks that were formed as the earth was born. It can also be synthesized. As a solid, it is a coarse white powder. Often it is found contaminated with iron which gives it a yellow color. Aluminum chloride has a low melting point, and a low boiling point as well. It is highly reactive when it comes into contact with water. It has a strong, sharp odor, and can’t burn or catch on fire.

The uses of aluminum chloride are varied and include the production of pure aluminum metal. Large amounts are also produced for use in other industries too. It is used in the making of paint, synthetic rubber and in making petrochemicals. Aluminum chloride is found in nail strengtheners and air fresheners, and it can also treat wastewater. It has a lot of uses!

Most importantly, aluminum chloride is used to make antiperspirants, which offers the greatest benefit of all — it helps stop excessive sweating. By the way, if you’re looking for a strong antiperspirant, this one works pretty good 😉

How does aluminum chloride stop sweating?

There are two types of sweat glands found in your body, apocrine and eccrine. The eccrine sweat glands are far more numerous. They’re responsible for most of the sweat your body produces.

When an antiperspirant like SweatBlock is applied to the underarms (or other areas of the body), aluminum ions are absorbed. Dr. Eric Hanson of the University of North Carolina’s Department of Dermatology says, “The aluminum ions are taken into the cells that line the eccrine-gland ducts as the opening of the epidermis, the top layer of the skin.”

Dr. Louis Kuchnir, a physical chemist who practices in Marlborough, Massachusetts, describes the process in more detail. He explains that an aluminum chloride molecule can bind six water molecules. It can also tightly bind additional layers of 12-20 water molecules, “making the water very viscous such that the weak muscles that push sweat out of our sweat glands are unable to move the sweat to the surface of our skin,” he says.

Dr. Kuchnir continues, “When aluminum chloride gets close to water, it soaks it up and thickens it. By spreading it over the areas that perspire, it thickens the water in the top of the duct where the sweat’s coming out, and that thickening, like a gel, will block it.”

In layman’s terms, aluminum chloride and other aluminum compounds react to sweat. The resulting reaction forms a gel-like plug that blocks sweat from reaching the skin’s surface.

There you have it. That’s how antiperspirants with aluminum chloride work. Isn’t medical science amazing?

Is aluminum chloride safe? False claims debunked

You may have read something somewhere or heard rumors asserting that aluminium chloride is not safe. Some deeply flawed studies have linked its use to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and even kidney disease.

So, what’s the truth?

The International Hyperhidrosis Society notes that aluminum chloride has been safely used for over 80 years and has proven to be effective and non-toxic.

Let’s briefly consider one of the most persistent rumors: Aluminum chloride in antiperspirants causes breast cancer. This is simply not true.

The authors of these now discredited studies asserted that the chemicals in antiperspirants, including aluminum chloride, are absorbed through the skin in the underarms. They claimed the chemicals then interact with DNA creating malignant mutations.

Because most breast cancers begin in the upper and outer portion of the breast, the region closest to the armpit where antiperspirants are used, they assumed antiperspirants must be responsible for some breast cancers.

Not so!

“Why you would think that antiperspirant would somehow go upstream and get into your lymph nodes and then somehow get into the breast is unclear,” states Dr. Timothy J. Moynihan. Dr. Moynihan, an oncologist, serves as the Education Chair and consultant for the Division of Medical Oncology at the Mayo Clinic. “It doesn’t make sense other than the fact that it’s in the neighborhood.”

Any claims that aluminum chloride in antiperspirants can also be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease and kidney disease have been similarly disproven. “These products can be used with high confidence of their safety. They’ve been used for many years, and there’s no evidence that suggests a problem,” states John Bailey, Ph.D., Chief Scientist with the Personal Care Products Council.

There’s much more reliable information available regarding the safety of aluminum chloride.

What are the side effects of aluminum chloride and how to minimize them?

The possible side effects of aluminum chloride are mild. The most commonly reported side effects are itching or a mild burning immediately after application. Tingling or a prickly sensation are also common side effects. These are short-lived and normally disappear shortly after application. If skin irritation persists you should talk to your doctor.

The possibility of itching, burning or tingling or other skin irritation due to aluminum chloride in deodorants or antiperspirants can be minimized by observing these precautions:

  • Wait 24 to 48 hours after shaving before applying.
  • Never apply an aluminum chloride antiperspirant to broken or infected skin.
  • Let your underarms or other areas where antiperspirant has been applied to completely air dry before putting on your clothing.

For people with extremely sensitive skin, aluminum chloride antiperspirants or antiperspirant deodorants may not be a viable solution.

Other forms of aluminum used in antiperspirants

While aluminum chloride is the most common aluminum compound used in today’s antiperspirants, there are other forms of aluminum that are also used to reduce sweating and treat hyperhidrosis. They are:

  • Aluminum Chlorohydrate (also known as Aluminium Chlorohydrate).
  • Aluminum Zirconium Tricholorohydrex Glycine
  • Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate
  • Aluminum Hydroxybromid

All of these aluminum salts work in the same fashion as aluminum chloride. However, not all forms of Aluminum are created equal. Some forms are stronger than others and may have longer lasting results. For example, an antiperspirant with 10% aluminum chloride is not the same as an antiperspirant with 10% aluminum zirconium.

Discovery and history of aluminum chloride

Aluminum chloride was discovered in 1825 by Hans Christian Oersted, a distinguished Danish physicist and chemist. It is one of the oldest chemicals used in organic chemistry.

Aluminum salts were marketed as an antiperspirant as early as 1903 in a product named Everdry. Another notable and popular brand was Odo-ro-no, invented by a Cincinnati surgeon who suffered from sweaty hands. His daughter promoted Odo-ro-no throughout the country. Her company embarked upon an aggressive marketing campaign in 1919 featuring ads highlighting “a subject too often avoided.” That subject was the foul-smelling underarms of women. The popularity of Odo-ro-no skyrocketed and sales doubled almost overnight.

Three years previous to the debut of Odo-ro-no, an Illinois dermatologist, Arthur W. Stillians, published a cure for profuse sweating. Dr. Stillians observes, “the knowledge that an unpleasant odor clings to one makes the sensitive person dread to meet others.” Those who suffer from hyperhidrosis will confirm Dr. Stillian’s statement. Hyperhidrosis messes up the lives of those who have it— emotionally, physically, and socially.

This was a time when people with hyperhidrosis symptoms were often dosed with X-rays. But instead of zapping his patients with dangerous radiation, Stillians offered a much better solution in the form of a revolutionary hyperhidrosis treatment: An aluminum chloride cream that could be applied three times a week to the underarms. He wrote in a medical journal of the period, “In 20 cases in which I have used this lotion, it has never failed to give relief.” It was a harbinger of things to come.

Unfortunately, both Stillian and Odo-ro-no suffered from a common problem. The aluminum chloride contained in these early products could stain clothing and irritate the skin. Stillians notes in his medical journal, “The drug is not wholly bland. For excessive use of it will cause a sharp itching or stinging sensation.”

It would be 1940 before anyone found a way to reduce the unpleasant side effects of antiperspirants made with aluminum chloride. A chemist, Jules Montenier, found a way to buffer the acidity. He filed a patent for the process and an antiperspirant product called Stopette, (great name, BTW) was introduced. In postwar America, a significant uptick in office life led to the increased popularity of deodorants and antiperspirants. In the early 1950’s, roll-ons were born. Aerosol products hit store shelves in the late 1960’s. Today the deodorant and antiperspirant market is almost $76 billion worldwide.

It’s worth noting that while Everdry was the first antiperspirant, deodorants were actually introduced much earlier. They smelled nice but didn’t stop sweating. In the 1860’s, doctors found that certain chemicals used as disinfectants could eliminate body odor. A commercially available disinfectant made specifically for armpits found its way into the market in 1888. It was called Mum (another great name).

In conclusion

It’s easy for people who DON’T sweat excessively to say things like “Antiperspirant is bad!”

For those who suffer with hyperhidrosis, aluminum-based antiperspirants can be life-changing (in a good way). It works non-invasively to eliminate or significantly reduce profuse sweating for millions of people around the world.

According to qualified experts, aluminum chloride is safe. It’s been tested for over eight decades. Study after study demonstrates that there is no connection between antiperspirants and breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease or any other malady. The American Cancer Society and the International Hyperhidrosis Society, among others, attest to its safety and efficacy.

You’ve heard the rumors. If you use (or have considered using) an antiperspirant containing aluminum chloride, you’re probably aware of the controversies. Is antiperspirant bad? Does it really cause cancer, alzheimer’s and kidney problems? Let’s take a few moments and separate fact from fiction.

4 Popular myths about aluminum-based antiperspirants:

  • Myth #1 Antiperspirant causes cancer
  • Myth #2 Antiperspirant causes Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Myth #3 Antiperspirant causes kidney problems
  • Myth #4 Antiperspirant prevents the body from releasing toxins

antiperspirant myths

In the age of “fake news” anybody can put out false information that snowballs into perceived reality. Just because it’s widely believed and accepted does not make it true. Information, true or false, travels at the speed of light in the age of the Internet. Once launched, no matter how well-intentioned, misinformation can take on a life of its own. It spreads like wildfire.

Aluminum chloride and aluminum chloride hexahydrate, the active ingredients in many underarm antiperspirants, continue to be maligned by multiple sources. Let’s answer the question posed by this article, “Is antiperspirant bad?” and get to the bottom of why some people may think that it is.

What is aluminum chloride and how does it work?

Aluminum chloride is one of a group of aluminum salts that also includes aluminum chloride hexahydrate, aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum zirconium. When it’s partially neutralized, it’s used as the active ingredients in many antiperspirants. Aluminum chloride hexahydrate is the hydrated (water added) form of aluminum chloride. The International Hyperhidrosis Society notes that aluminum chloride has been used for over 80 years and has proven effective and non-toxic.

Aluminum salts work by combining with the water in your sweat to create a chemical reaction. A gel-like plug is formed and deposited in the treated sweat ducts. The plug forms a blockage that prevents sweat from reaching the skin’s surface.

Aluminum chloride’s effectiveness decreases over time and normal sweat function will return. Normal antiperspirants must be reapplied daily to renew the desired anti-sweat effect. Clinical strength antiperspirants like our Sweatblock towelettes can last up to 7 days before there is a need to reapply.

Antiperspirant vs. Deodorant

Perhaps there is another mini-myth or misconception we should debunk before moving on. Deodorants are not the same as antiperspirants. Deodorants can prevent body odor by killing bacteria, but they cannot prevent sweating. Natural deodorants containing essential oils may also inhibit bacteria growth and control odor, but they cannot prevent perspiration. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, may contain ingredients to control odor and kill bacteria, but they also contain an aluminum salt ingredient that acts to prevent sweating.

Now on to the myth-busting.

Does Antiperspirant cause cancer?

Breast cancer is the primary focus of this myth. The myth gained traction from the claims of flawed medical studies and from an anonymous email chain letter that made the global rounds in the early 1990s. The letter claimed that antiperspirants cause cancer.

The chain letter claims that preventing perspiration with the use of antiperspirants traps toxic substances in the body that would otherwise be secreted through the sweat glands. These harmful substances then form cancers. Is antiperspirant bad? If this theory were true, the answer would be yes. But it’s not.

It has been repeatedly shown that sweating does not purge unwanted compounds from the body. Sweat is mostly electrolytes and water. Urination and liver function are responsible for eliminating most harmful or unwanted substances.

Statistics show that one in every eight women (16%) will develop breast cancer at some time in her life. Pointing the finger at aluminum chloride-based antiperspirants as a contributing cause is a serious accusation.

The apparent thinking used by the authors of these now disproved studies asserts that the chemicals in antiperspirants, including aluminum chloride, are absorbed through the skin in the underarms. They claim that nicks from shaving and small abrasions facilitate entry into the body. The studies further assert that these chemicals interact with DNA and lead to malignant mutations in cells. They also say that antiperspirants may interfere with the female hormone, estrogen, known for influencing how cancerous cells multiply.

These studies also point out that most breast cancers begin in the upper outer quadrant of the breast. This is the region closest to the armpit where antiperspirants are used. The flawed logic amounts to guilt by association, geography rather than biology.

“Why you would think that antiperspirant would somehow go upstream and get into your lymph nodes and then somehow get into the breast is unclear,” states Dr. Timothy J. Moynihan. Dr. Moynihan, an oncologist, serves as the Education Chair and consultant for the Division of Medical Oncology at the Mayo Clinic. “It doesn’t make sense other than the fact that it’s in the neighborhood.”

Moynihan concludes that lifestyle changes, including exercise and not smoking, are more important than worrying about antiperspirants. “Everyone worries about underarm antiperspirants,” he says, “but nobody quits smoking.”

Other reputable medical experts say that these so-called studies do not hold water. Ted S. Gansler, MD, MBA and Director of Medical Content for the American Cancer Society stated in an email interview, “There is no convincing evidence that antiperspirant or deodorant use increases cancer risk.”

Gansler goes on to say that many of the studies that claim antiperspirant is bad for you are inaccurate. A few of them found small amounts of antiperspirant compounds including aluminum salts and parabens in cancerous breast tissue, but that their presence does not prove any causal effect. He cited one carefully designed study that compared 793 healthy women with 813 survivors of breast cancer. No evidence that antiperspirants increase the risk of breast cancer was found.

According to the National Cancer Institute, a smaller 2006 study that included 54 women with breast cancer and 50 healthy women, found “no association” between the use of underarm antiperspirants and breast cancer risk.

Finally, this from the American Cancer Society. “There are no strong epidemiologic studies in the medical literature that link breast cancer risk and antiperspirant use, and very little scientific evidence to support this claim.”

Is antiperspirant bad in regards to causing cancer? NO.

Myth busted.

Does Antiperspirant cause Alzheimer’s Disease?

The myth that aluminum chloride in antiperspirants causes Alzheimer’s Disease dates back to the 1980s. At the time, a few studies found high levels of aluminum in the brains of people suffering from this debilitating disease. These studies ignited a firestorm of concern in the general public. Suddenly the use of everyday items like aluminum cans, aluminum foil, antacids, cooking utensils and antiperspirants were labeled as dangerous.

In later research, the findings of the earlier studies could not be replicated. The New York Times pointed out that, “Of all the studies that examined the rumor, at least one, in 1990, suggested a possible link. But the study, which compared the habits of 130 patients with the disease to those of a group of healthy subjects, had a serious flaw: It relied on surrogates to answer for the Alzheimer’s patients.”

Experts, such as William Theis, Vice President of Medical and Scientific Relations at the Alzheimer’s Association of Chicago also refuted the earlier conclusions. “One of the things that happens in Alzheimer’s brains is that they shrink. So you have accumulated a certain amount of aluminum in your brain, and as your brain shrinks, the concentration is going to appear high.”

As for aluminum in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, researchers say that this is likely a result, not a cause, of Alzheimer’s. Aluminum is omnipresent and traces of the metal are found in everyone. In patients with Alzheimer’s, the dying cells are unable to eliminate toxins which may account for the higher levels of aluminum.

Heather M. Snyder, Ph.D., Senior Associate Director of Medical and Scientific Operations for the Alzheimer’s Association echoes the later findings and conclusions regarding aluminum in deodorant and antiperspirants. She says, “There was a lot of research that looked at the link between Alzheimer’s and aluminum, and there hasn’t been any definitive evidence to suggest there is a link.”

As with the false claim that aluminum chloride causes cancer, the rationale was that somehow the aluminum in antiperspirants, applied topically, somehow makes its way into the body. Not so states David Pariser, MD, Professor of Dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School and Past President of the American Academy of Dermatology. “The aluminum salts do not work as antiperspirants by being absorbed in the body. They work by forming a chemical reaction with the water in the sweat to form a physical plug… which is deposited in the sweat duct, producing a blockage in the areas that it’s applied. Even [with] nicks from shaving, the amount is so negligible that it doesn’t make a whole lot of scientific sense.”

The science is conclusive. There is no credible, science-based evidence that aluminum chloride used in antiperspirants causes Alzheimer’s Disease. The studies show that aluminum in antiperspirants is safe. Again, to the question, “Is antiperspirant bad?” the answer is NO.

Myth busted.

Does Antiperspirant cause kidney problems?

Is aluminum in antiperspirant bad for your kidneys? After all, the FDA requires a warning on the labeling of all antiperspirants containing any form of aluminum.

For healthy people whose kidneys function normally, the warning does not apply. They are able to process and eliminate aluminum efficiently. The warning is only cautionary for people who already suffer from serious or advanced kidney disease. It’s meant for those whose kidneys are functioning at 30% efficiency or less. It is intended to be overly cautious.

Concerns about aluminum in antiperspirants first surfaced some years ago. People undergoing dialysis for diseased kidneys were given a drug called aluminum hydroxide. It was prescribed to control high phosphorus levels in their blood.

Because their kidneys were not functioning or functioning at severely reduced levels, their bodies could not remove the aluminum hydroxide quickly enough. Researchers became concerned that patients with high levels of aluminum in their systems were more likely to develop dementia.

As a result of these concerns, the FDA mandated that antiperspirants carry this caveat: “Ask a doctor before use if you have kidney disease.”

The reality is that it’s almost impossible to absorb enough aluminum by way of the skin to damage the kidneys or any other part of the body. According to nephrologistLeslieSpry, MD, FACP, spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation.”Unless you eat your stick or spray it into your mouth, your body can’t absorb that much aluminum.”

The overwhelming evidence demonstrates that aluminum chloride in antiperspirants does not cause kidney disease.

Is antiperspirant bad for our kidneys? If you don’t have kidney disease, a resounding NO. If you do, still, probably not.

Myth busted.

Does Antiperspirant prevent the body from releasing toxins?

Is antiperspirant bad for ridding the body of toxins? There’s bad news for those who believe sweating purges toxins.

Sweating out toxins is the real myth here.

Sweating is a bodily function designed to cool us down. If excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) isn’t an issue, it does its job well. But, sweating does not eliminate toxins or waste products. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend in the sauna. As we pointed out earlier, that’s what the kidneys and liver are for. We can no more sweat out toxins than we could sweat bullets, as the saying goes.

As with some falsehoods, there is a grain of truth in this one. A very small grain. While sweat is mostly composed of water and electrolytes, it can contain trace amounts of various toxins. A new study published in the journal Environment International, shows that even if we do excrete environmental toxins out through our pores, the amounts are minuscule. Not enough to make a difference.

Joe Schwarcz is a chemist who directs McGill University’s Office for Science and Society. Its purpose is to debunk science myths. He says, “When you look at sweat, you can find many substances, [but] the presence of a chemical cannot be equated to the presence of risk.”

Pascal Imbeault is an exercise physiologist at the University of Ottawa in Canada. He recently led a recent study focused on pollutants that are stored in body fat. His study found that a person exercising at high intensity for 45 minutes could sweat a total of two liters a day, including normal, non-exercise induced sweat. All that sweat contains less than one-tenth of a nanogram of pollutants and toxicants.

Using an antiperspirant containing aluminum does not inhibit the body from excreting toxins by sweating. Sweating does a very poor job of that without any outside influence.

Do aluminum chloride based antiperspirants prevent your body from releasing toxins? Nope.

Myth busted.

The bottom line

Is antiperspirant bad? With the possibility of causing skin irritation for users with sensitive skin, the consensus answer is NO. There is no viable scientific evidence that aluminum chloride, or any aluminum salt compound used in antiperspirants, presents a threat to our health.

“These products can be used with high confidence of their safety. They’ve been used for many years, and there’s no evidence that suggests a problem,” states John Bailey, Ph.D., Chief Scientist with the Personal Care Products Council.

Antiperspirants have no measurable effect for elevating the risks of cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, kidney disease of the body’s ability to rid itself of toxins.

So, why do the rumors persist? The Internet is a perfect vehicle for recycling old issues and raising questions that have already been answered. And, there are those who stand to profit from peddling misinformation. Self-interest over honesty. Sad but true. That’s the world we live in.

So, the next time the question comes up, “Is antiperspirant bad?” you’ll know the answer.

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.

Have you ever wondered why your favorite foods are often followed by an unexplained PDES? (Public Display of Excessive Sweating).

Soggy armpits and sweaty palms are just a few of the places this inconvenient sweat might rear it’s ugly head.

Here’s the deal… your diet affects your health, physique, skin complexion, and yes… even how much you sweat.

There are foods that will lead to profuse sweating and other foods that help tame overactive sweat glands.

In this article we’ll explore common foods that trigger embarrassing sweat and how to control it.

We’re not oblivious to the fact that a lot of these foods are delicious, convenient, and hard to avoid. If you’re not ready to give them up, use a clinical strength antiperspirant to keep heavy sweating under control.

Why We Sweat After We Eat

Gustatory sweating is the sheen of perspiration you get when eating or even just thinking about food. It can leave you in a sweat puddle faster than you can say, “Hold the jalapenos.”

If you eat enough of anything – except maybe celery or cucumbers – you’ll eventually start to sweat. That’s the thermic effect of eating food, also called “thermogenesis” or the “thermogenic effect.” But some foods have higher thermogenic effects than others, which makes your body produce more heat (sweat) during or soon after eating.

This can be for a number of reasons:

  • Your body is working overtime to digest fat, carbs, sugar or protein – or just a lot of calories.
  • Your nervous system is being overstimulated.
  • Your body is flushing excess compounds formed during digestion.
  • Your brain is chemically fooled into thinking your core temperature is too high.
  • Your heart rate is elevated and your blood vessels are expanded (vasodilation).
  • You’re experiencing a true increase in body temperature.

Is Sweating After Eating Normal?

Yes, usually. All of the reasons listed above are normal and not a cause for concern. Also keep in mind that there are lots of factors that can trigger excessive sweating – and many times they work together. If you can isolate your triggers, that can help.

What About Excessive Sweating on the Head, Neck and Face While Eating?

Let’s face it (ha!) – this kind of sweating is tough to deal with. In fact, many people battling excessive sweating have the hardest time coping with sweat on their face or neck — mostly because it’s nearly impossible to hide at the dinner table.

Some medical conditions, such as diabetes or chronic heart conditions, can cause you to sweat on the head, neck or face. If you are sure you don’t suffer from these conditions, your excessive head, neck or face sweating could relate to your diet.

The good news is that for head, face and neck sweating, an antiperspirant like SweatBlock can be really effective. It might sound weird, but it really does work. Before going to bed, wipe down your face and neck with a SweatBlock towelette, which will do its magic while you sleep, when your sweat glands aren’t as active. One nighttime treatment should be enough to reduce excessive sweating for four to seven days, but you can also carry a SweatBlock towelette with you — just in case.

You can also carry alcohol wipes to use in an emergency. If a situation pops up that calls for eating Kung Pao Chicken, quickly wiping down your face with an alcohol wipe can close your pores so the sweat can’t pour.

These tips on how to stop face sweating can also be helpful.

10 Foods That Will Make You Sweat

For your convenience we’ve put together list of the most common foods and food types that will lead to embarrassing sweat.

1. Processed, Fatty Foods

These snacks and treats are low in fiber and lack enzymes your body needs for digestion, so your body works twice as hard to process them. Some of the worst offenders? Chocolate, white bread and fast food. When your body works this hard, you can look forward to sweating profusely. Think of it like running a 5K – complete with rapid heart rate and sweating, but without the toned glutes and calves.

2. Sugar and High-Carb Foods

Some people report sweating after eating sugar, sweating after eating carbs, or sweating after eating a heavy meal. These calorie-filled options have high thermic effects in general, so it’s not uncommon for them to trigger a sweaty dining experience.

It’s more rare, but some people also can experience an insulin spike that drives blood sugar dangerously low after eating sugar or carbs. Symptoms include sweating, dizziness, fatigue and or perhaps you feel light-headed after eating. If you have any of these symptoms you should be checked out by a doctor.

3. Caffeine

Your morning espresso is good for more than a wake-up jolt – it can also fire up those sweat glands. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, increases your heart rate and raises blood pressure, all while cranking out the sweat. Basically, your body responds to caffeine like it would respond to a grizzly in the kitchen – you’re in fight-or-flight mode. And coffee can be a double-edged sword, because unless you take your java iced, you get the caffeine stimulation plus the extra temperature from the hot liquid that naturally triggers your internal fire alarm and heart palpitations.

4. Too Much Salt

Consuming too much sodium forces your body to dispose of the excess through your urine and skin – which, you guessed it, makes you sweat. Cutting down on salty snacks can reduce excessive sweating after eating, and this one seems like an easy place to start. Most Americans consume about 12 grams of sodium daily compared to the recommended 4 grams.

5. Spicy Foods

Didn’t see that coming, did you? But why, why, why all the perspiring after dining on the most delicious spicy foods? My stomach wants the spicy food, but my sweaty scalp is begging me to stay away. Short answer: Capsaicin. This chemical fools your brain into thinking your core body temperature is rising. The mouthwatering food triggers your parotid gland and the false alarm goes off triggering your sweat glands (your body’s cooling system). Here come the water works, just like your office sprinklers going off when someone lights a match. To prevent hot flashes and other excessive sweating, watch out for some of the worst offenders:

  • General Tso’s Chicken
  • Spicy Curries
  • Spicy Hot Wings
  • Wasabi
  • Hot Peppers

6. Alcohol

If you routinely down a few beers, cocktails or glasses of wine, you may find yourself feeling light-headed, sweating profusely or even waking up with night sweats. Alcohol does a lot of fun things to the body, but it also has some unpleasant effects – like increasing your heart rate and dilating the blood vessels in your skin. Sure enough, then your body heat increases and your natural cooling system – aka excessive sweating – kicks in. As your blood vessels widen (vasodilation), your pores also enlarge, making it easy for sweat to flow.

7. Ice Cream

It’s true – that cold, beloved treat on the hottest of days will betray you. The high levels of fat in your favorite scoop can actually heat up your internal thermostat. Remember the warning above about fatty foods and increased blood glucose from sugary foods?

8. Hot Foods and Beverages

Hot coffee, tea and soups, along with the steam that’s coming from your mug or bowl, can also rev up the sweat glands. Your body will do everything in its power to cool you down while you slurp. And if the soup you’re sipping happens also to be spicy, get ready for a double sweat whammy.

9. Onions and Garlic

So many health benefits… and so much sweat. Onions and garlic – and really any foods high in Vitamin B – can lead to excessive sweating. B vitamins raise the body’s internal temperature, which (surprise!) can make you sweat more than usual. Plus, the aroma from a garlic- or onion-induced sweat can curl your toes.

10. Protein ( Meat Sweats )

High consumption of protein causes the body to dispose of urea (a substance formed as your body breaks down protein) through – you guessed it – excessive sweating. Think back to the thermogenic effect: High protein foods give up at least 25 percent of their energy content as heat, which means that for every four bites of that scrumptious steak, an entire bite radiates from your body as pure heat – or pure sweat.

11. Smoking

As if the risk of emphysema and lung cancer weren’t enough, smoking can also lead to excessive perspiration. As nicotine is ingested, it causes the body to release acetylcholine. This raises the heart rate, increases body temperature and stimulates the sweat glands. You know the rest.

How to Stop Sweating After Eating

Rest assured, you don’t have to resort to a constant juice and water fast to prevent excessive perspiring after eating. If you are serious about controlling your excessive sweat, try some of these simple diet and lifestyle changes.

Fight Food With Food

Not every delicious food triggers a sweat storm. Here are a few foods that can actually help reduce excessive sweating:

Water

It might seem weird to add water to a sweat-fest, but keeping your body cool will keep it from working so hard to lower your internal temperature by sweating. So drink up!

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

These healthy foods help because of their high water content and digestive power. Some of the best are:

  • Grapes
  • Watermelon
  • Red cabbage
  • Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a metabolism and digestion superhero. It can prevent surges in body temperature and the profuse sweating that follows. Try using it instead of vegetable or canola oil – or even butter. Other side effects include healthy blood pressure and lower cholesterol – so you’re winning either way.

Low-Fat or Skim Milk

Just like ice cream, that tasty whole milk you use on your morning cereal can turn up the heat. Swap it out for skim milk and enjoy the drop in temperature.

Oats

Your body can digest oats quickly because they’re rich in fiber and low in fat. You’re not working as hard, so you don’t need to sweat buckets to cool back down.

Bananas

With a powerful kick of potassium, bananas actually help you hydrate (potassium is an electrolyte). And good hydration means less excessive sweating. Winning!

Green Tea

Known for its calming effects, green tea can be a great meal addition that keeps your nervous system (and sweat) at bay.

Overall, one of the best things you can do is make sure you eat a balanced diet that includes essential nutrients and vitamins. Try substituting some of these foods or at least eating them in combination with your spicier, fattier favorites.

Studies show that a regular exercise routine can help regulate body temperature, too (Sorry – had to throw in that bit about exercise). 

When All Else Fails: Arm Yourself with a Strong Antiperspirant

Life – and great food – happens. You can’t avoid every potentially sweaty situation. But you can fight excessive sweating after eating by using a clinical strength antiperspirant like SweatBlock. Unlike deodorants that simply mask odor, antiperspirants have the ability to actually block sweat. Applying antiperspirant to clean, dry skin before going to bed can help you absorb it better.

Bottom Line: Can I Control Excessive Sweating After Eating?

Most of the time, yes, and it can be addressed using some of the tips here. We all sweat, and nearly everyone has started to perspire after eating something – whether it be spicy food or just something that doesn’t agree with us.

But if you find yourself sweating excessively after every meal, no matter what you eat or what tips you try, you should probably visit with your doctor to make sure you’re not dealing with an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or Frey’s Syndrome.

The fact is, excessive sweating after eating isn’t appetizing, and can be really embarrassing too. But with a combination of clinical-strength antiperspirants, such as SweatBlock, and your doctor’s recommendations, you can rein in eating-induced hyperhidrosis and get back to enjoying your feasts.