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

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.

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.

Sweating. It’s gross. Many people hate it. Some people find it embarrassing (sweaty hands, sweaty face, sweaty feet, sweaty underarms, and the list goes on…).

But what you probably don’t realize is that sweating is actually really good for you. There are a lot of surprising benefits to having active sweat glands that most people don’t realize. So whether you like it or not, sweating isn’t your enemy. It’s excessive sweating at inappropriate times that you want to battle — not sweating overall.

Quick Facts: 6 Benefits of Sweating You Probably Didn’t Know About

  • 1. Sweating more in the gym (when exercising) can produce endorphins which act as natural painkillers.
  • 2. It opens your pores, releasing the gunk and grime that builds up in them, which eventually results in zits.
  • 3. It helps control your mood swings by leaving you with a warm sense of well-being and relaxation.
  • 4. Helps prevent colds and other infections because it contains an antimicrobial peptide called dermcidin that helps fight infections and germs.
  • 5. Sweating regulates your body temperature so you don’t overheat — literally.
  • 6. Sweating helps keep your skin and hair healthy.

Surprising Benefits of Sweating

We know all the embarrassing parts of sweat. But let’s explore some of the lesser-known benefits of healthy sweating.

Health Benefits of Sweating Everyday

The main reason our bodies sweat is to regulate our body temperature. This is really important because it keeps you from having a heat stroke. Normal body temperature also keeps all of your internal organs functioning properly. So when your core temperature gets hot, you start to sweat as a preventative measure.

Benefits of Sweating When Exercising

When you exercise, your body heats up and your heart rate increases. This causes you to sweat, and as the sweat evaporates, your body cools down. The benefit of sweating when you exercise is that simple. It keeps you from overheating during your workout, which in turn, keeps you from passing out. So basically, sweating during your workout is a good thing. But if you don’t sweat a lot when you exercise, don’t worry. It simply means your body temperature hasn’t risen to the point that your body needs to sweat.

Benefits of Sweating When Sick

When you’re sick, it’s common to sweat. The sweat helps regulate your body temperature, which can fend off a fever. This doesn’t mean that you should hit the sauna instead of taking the medicine your doctor prescribed though. It simply means that sweating is helping your body heal faster. It’s getting rid of the germs and bacteria that made you sick in the first place, and at the same time, helping to prevent a fever high enough to be fatal.

Benefits of Sweating for Skin

When it comes to skin health, sweating actually helps a lot. When you sweat, it opens up your pores and pushes out built-up gunk sitting right underneath your skin. This is this same build up that often produces pimples. So sweating basically cleanses your pores naturally, which helps you avoid getting unsightly blemishes on your skin. In addition to preventing zits, sweating also helps prevent rashes and irritated skin — both of which are often caused when built-up grime settles back into your pores.

Benefits of Sweating for Hair

Sweating from your scalp helps unclog your hair follicles, allowing room for new hair growth. It also opens up the pores on your scalp, releasing any buildup inside your pores that could be stunting the growth of your hair. It’s important to note though, that while sweating does open up your hair follicles to promote new hair growth, the salty sweat buildup on your scalp is not good for your hair. Salty sweat build up contains lactic acid, which when mixed with the keratin in your hair can cause damage. So while it’s important to exercise regularly so that your scalp sweats, it’s also just as important to wash your hair after your workout so any excess sweat isn’t sitting on your head for a long time.

How to Get the Benefits of Sweating You Want

The best way to reap the benefits of sweating is to exercise regularly. When you exercise, you sweat. It’s that simple. Also, regular exercise has several other benefits revolved around sweating. For example, regular exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety. So if you sweat when you’re nervous, it’s a good way to offset some of the anxious feelings you typically get that cause your body to produce embarrassing nervous sweat. That’s right, regular exercise can help prevent sweaty hands caused by nervous sweating!

The more time you spend outdoors when the weather is warm, the more sweat you produce too. So make it a point to try a few new outdoor activities on occasion. That doesn’t mean you have to take up extreme outdoor sports or anything. Just spend some time in the sun to promote healthy sweating — also, the vitamin D your body absorbs from the sun helps keep you calm, cool, and collected.

Does Sweating Help Me Detox or Lose Weight?

Have you been wondering whether sweating will help you detox your body or lose weight? Both are common questions, and both have complicated answers. (Sorry! There isn’t a simple yes or no answer for these questions.)

Benefits of Sweating When Working Out

Everyone is different. Some people can workout for an hour and leave the gym looking as if they simply walked out of their house, while others leave the gym drenched in sweat. But should you worry about not producing enough sweat when you engage in physical activity? The answer is no.

See, sweating when you workout is important for regulating your body temperature, but that’s it. The amount of sweat you produce during a workout doesn’t really matter, because the amount of sweat you produce during your workout doesn’t affect the number of calories you burn.

Are There Benefits of Sweating for Weight Loss?

Here’s the thing. The weight you lose from sweating is simply water weight. Sweat doesn’t burn fat. It regulates your body temperature. That’s it. When you rehydrate, any weight loss from sweating comes right back. So there’s absolutely no point in wearing warm clothes while you exercise in hopes that you’ll sweat more.

The key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume. Exercise helps you do that, which is why it’s an important part of weight loss. But it isn’t the sweat your body produces that helps you reach your weight loss goals. Instead, if you want to lose weight, focus on the duration and intensity of your workouts to ensure you’re burning enough calories.

Benefits of Sweating in a Suana

Some people believe that sitting in a hot sauna will keep them from getting sick or will help them lose weight, but that simply isn’t true. When you take a sauna, the heat and steam work to open the pores on your skin and make you sweat.

Many people believe that saunas make you sweat out any toxins in your body. But that’s not true. Toxins are primarily released from your body through your liver and kidneys.

So while a steam room may help you clean out your pores, you aren’t really ridding your body of toxins. Basically, unless you need a quick fix for blackheads, you can skip the sauna completely.

Benefits of Sweating in Hot Yoga

It’s a common misconception that doing hot yoga — or any other kind of “hot” workout — helps you burn more calories. It doesn’t. The benefit of hot yoga is that the heat helps loosen up your muscles, making you more flexible during your session. So while you’re less likely to pull a muscle trying to get into the Downward Facing Dog position, you won’t burn any more calories than you would during a normal yoga session.

When Sweating Becomes a Problem

The benefits of sweating can be easily overlooked when you’re plagued with embarrassing sweat on a daily basis. Excessive sweat can do extreme damage to your confidence, social life, and career. If sweating has become a problem for you, there are things you can do to treat excessive sweating. Some of those treatments include:

  • Clinical Strength Antiperspirant (NOT DEODORANT – learn more about the differences between antiperspirant and deodorant.)
  • Relaxation & Meditation
  • Exercise and Weight Loss
  • Botox Injections
  • Miradry Treatment
  • Iontopheresis
  • Nerve Blocking Medications

Check out this article on how to stop sweating for more details on extreme sweating treatments.

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.

Everyone sweats. Some… more than others.

Perspiration is the body’s way of cooling down, both physically and emotionally. Sweat is healthy and normal in most circumstances, but not always.

To understand the science of sweat, we first need to understand how sweat glands work.

There Are Two Major Types of Sweat Glands

Sweat glands are also called sudoriferous glands. This is from the Latin “sudor” which simply means “sweat”.

Sweat glands are endocrine and exocrine glands. The major glands in the endocrine system are the pituitary, pineal, adrenal, parathyroid and thyroid glands, the pancreas, testes, ovaries, parathyroid gland, and the hypothalamus.

There are more than 2.5 million (up to 4 million on some people) perspiration glands spread out all over the dermis layer of the average person’s skin. A sweat gland consists of a long, coiled tube of cells. The coil is actually sweat ducts connecting the gland to the pore or hair follicle on the skin’s surface. Myoepithelial cells are above the base membrane of blood vessels. They are the cells that contract and excrete the secretions, like in salivary glands. The seromucous glands are in your nose, to keep it moist.

There are also nerve cells from your sympathetic nervous system that connect your nervous system to the sweat glands. That’s why both being nervous, or being hot can make you sweat.

The two major types of sweat glands are eccrine glands and apocrine glands.

Eccrine Glands

The most numerous of the two types are eccrine sweat glands. They are found in virtually all of your skin. They are most dense on your palms, the soles of your feet, and your forehead. There are some, but fewer, on your trunk and on your arms and legs. On the skin surface, each eccrine sweat gland ends in a pore.

The word “eccrine” is from the Greek word “ekkrinein”, which means “secrete”.Sometimes referred to as the merocrine sweat glands, these function to keep us cool. Your eccrine or merocrine glands are in charge of thermo regulation, the hard work of regulating our temperature and kicking into action when we are too hot.

The eccrine sweat glands are activated by the neurotransmitters connected through your nervous system. Your nervous system recognizes when you are too hot, and then uses the neurotransmitters to communicate with your eccrine sweat glands when you need to cool down.

Eccrine sweat has no odor. It is 98-99% water, with some sodium chloride and is used for thermoregulation.

Apocrine Glands

Your apocrines are mostly in your armpits. They are also in your eyelids, groin, and around your nipples. As they reach the surface of your skin, they end up in hair follicles instead of just a pore.

When we say something “smells like sweat”, we are referring to the odor of the apocrine sweat glands. Apocrine secretions are scented, in armpits, groin and around the nipples on the mammary glands. They function to create the odor, but don’t contribute to keeping us cool.

Chemically, the secretions from your apocrine sweat glands are very different than the eccrine sweat glands that secrete mostly water. They secrete steroids, proteins and lipids. The secretions don’t smell as they leave, but when they encounter outside bacteria, the chemicals start to decompose. It is that decomposition that we smell and recognize as “body odor”.

This is what is responsible for causing some people to produce a stronger odor than others. As you would expect, they are located on the palms and soles and your armpits (axillae).

The ceruminous glands are specialized sudoriferous glands that are located subcutaneously in the outer third of your ear canal. This is why some people also have excessive ear wax.

Our bodies are constantly sweating, even when we don’t realize it. You are always working at maintaining a constant temperature, and much of that means staying cool. The amount you sweat depends on the external temperature, but it also depends on your physical activity level. Of course, perspiring can also be a nervous reaction, as it often accompanies anxiety. Your glands function in many positive ways, unless they become overactive to make you sweat excessively.

Why Some People Sweat Excessively

Some people sweat more than other people. Some people perspire excessively. When you sweat too much it is called hyperhidrosis. Some people say they sweat so much, they even sweat while in a swimming pool.

Most of the time, even sweating excessively is harmless. Sometimes, it can be a symptom of an underlying condition that may require medical treatment. Doctors will only diagnose you as having a medical condition if you are perspiring more than would be required to maintain your temperature.

When it is hot outside, everyone will perspire some. It is not a medical problem until the person is dripping wet to the point where the perspiration could actually drip right from the palms of your hands. The profuse wetness can happen without cause; without physical activities, without high external temperatures, a fever and without internal anxiety.

Hormones play a part, too. Puberty, pregnancy and menopause are all prime times for extra sweat. The sweat glands that cause odors during puberty are present in the body from the time of birth. The glands are activated by the puberty hormones, which is why teens are prone to so many unpleasant odors.

Usually, the perspiration that is produced gets carried to the epidermis when one of the triggers for the neurotransmitters signals that there is a reason.

Basal cells make up the innermost layer of the epidermis. They continually divide, so new cells push the older ones towards the skin’s surface, where they are shed.

When the temperature rises, if you have a fever, when you exercise, or when you feel nervous, anxious, or are under stress, your perspiration controls get signalled to go to work. After these issues are no longer a factor, the nerve fibers signal the actions to go on hold.

With hyperhidrosis, between 1% and 2% of the population have glands that never shut off. Even when the situation doesn’t call for cooling down, their bodies don’t get the message to take a rest.

What Is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is an extreme sweating condition that affects an estimated 4.8% of the worldwide population.

There are two types of hyperhidrosis

Focal, or primary hyperhidrosis, causes excessive perspiration on the palms of the hands, the underarms, the face, and the feet without any apparent cause.

Generalized, or secondary hyperhidrosis causes excessive perspiration over a larger area, or all over. This can be caused by some medications or by some underlying medical conditions.

Primary Causes

Primary hyperhidrosis is somewhat mysterious. Experts have yet to identify a specific cause or causes. But recent research suggests that genetics might play a role.

Secondary Causes

Unlike primary, secondary hyperhidrosis has many known causes:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Some medications
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Gout
  • Lymphoma
  • Infections

Complications – Can Sweat Glands Get Infected?

Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a long-term chronic disease of the apocrine sweat glands. The glands in the groin and underarm areas clog and become infected. The inflammation of the apocrine sweat glands leads to painful lumps of pus. Often, this is a very painful sweat glands disease and causes an unpleasant body odor.

Since the condition is chronic, flare ups happen repeatedly. The flare-ups do not tend to go away over time, so the skin becomes significantly scarred. The flare ups are often as a response to stressful situations.

Some doctors advocate for a long-term treatment using systemic antibiotics such as tetracycline, or erythromycin combined with metronidazole, but generally the disease treatment tends to have poor outcomes.

Treatment Options

Now we know that the apocrine glands contribute to focal (primary) hyperhidrosis so that’s where we need to focus for treatments. Since apocrine glands are not essential to keeping us cool with thermoregulation, they can be targeted for treatment without risking any bodily functions.

Options for the treatment of primary hyperhidrosis include:

  • Botox injections for armpits
  • Aluminum containing prescription-strength or over-the-counter antiperspirants
  • Iontophoresis: Treatment using a low-intensity electric current
  • Anticholinergics: A medication that affects nerve signals

Botox

Botox is actually Botulinum toxin. Injecting botulinum toxin A is a treatment option. This is the same medicine that is injected into the face to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Botox is specifically FDA approved for the treatment of excessive sweat in the underarms, but it is also used by some doctors on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands.

Botox blocks the neurotransmitters that signal the glands to begin their activation. The treatment may require several Botox injections at once, but results often last for up to a year.

Antiperspirants

Antiperspirants are generally the first step for treatment. Most people already use an antiperspirant daily. Antiperspirants use aluminum salts to block the perspiration when you apply them to your skin.

Antiperspirants are available over-the-counter at supermarkets and drug stores, or there are prescription-strength antiperspirants, too. The over-the-counter products are often less irritating than the prescription-strength antiperspirants. Always begin with over-the-counter brands before asking your doctor about prescriptions.

Often antiperspirants are combined with deodorants. This combination will help to control the odors from your sweat as well as the wetness.

You can apply antiperspirants on any area where you sweat. You can apply them to your hands and feet or even to your hairline.

Applying antiperspirant more frequently will keep your drier. Apply it at bedtime as well as in the morning.

A proprietary formulation such as SweatBlock often manages excessive sweat in almost all cases. If you have not used it yet, do so before moving to the more invasive treatments.

Iontophoresis

A low-level electric current moves through water in a shallow tray. You place your hands and/or feet in the tray for 20 to 30 minutes. The treatment needs to be repeated several times a week, but some people find that after several treatments, they no longer need more.

You can purchase a home-use machine. You may only require a few treatments monthly after the initial period, for maintenance.

Experts tell us Iontophoresis blocks the sweat from the skin’s surface but, no one knows exactly why it works.

Iontophoresis is generally considered safe, but because of the electrical current, it is not recommended for pregnant women, those with pacemakers or metal implants, heart conditions, or epilepsy.

Anticholinergics

Doctor occasionally recommend prescription medicines like anticholinergic drugs after several other treatments have failed. Taken orally, these anticholinergic drugs are able to stop the activation of perspiration.

They do have some side effects for some people, like heart palpitations, blurred vision and urinary issues.

Surgery – Can Sweat Glands be Removed

As a last resort, surgery is considered for severe issues with the hands and underarms. Removing glands entirely or destroying the nerves that send the messages, are both surgical options.

Steps to Take at Home to Control Excessive Perspiration

In addition to any recommendations from your doctor, here are some home remedies to help support your treatments:

  • Wear light, breathable clothing.
  • Bring along an extra shirt.
  • Wear merino wool or polypro socks that wick moisture away from your feet. Bring along a second pair.
  • Shower daily using an antibacterial soap. This controls the bacteria that can cause odors.
  • Dry yourself off completely afterwards. Then apply antiperspirant.
  • Consider using an antibacterial cream.
  • Use shoe inserts and underarm liners to absorb the sweat so it won’t ruin your clothes or smell.
  • Eliminate spicy foods and alcohol. Both can make you sweat.
  • Avoid hot drinks like coffee and tea.

At the risk of sounding brash, we can’t end this article without recommending SweatBlock. Although it may not cure hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating for everyone, it can help most people. It’s certainly worth a try with our “Love it, or it’s free!” guarantee. Try our clinical strength antiperspirant today!

The Science of Sweat Infographic