Have you ever wondered “Why do I sweat so much?!“
Guess what… you’re not alone. Millions of people just like you are asking similar questions…
“Why do I sweat so easily?”, “Why do I sweat ALL the time?”, “Why am I sweating a lot for no reason?”
Any of these questions sound familiar?
There are a host of reasons you could be sweating excessively. To save you some time, we’ve listed the most common reasons below…
11 Possible Causes for Excessive Sweating:
- Hyperhidrosis – Excessive, uncontrollable sweating.
- More Sweat Glands – Can result in more sweating.
- Diet – Certain foods will trigger your sweat glands.
- High Temperatures – Your body releases extra heat via sweat.
- High Stress – Common stressors will stimulate sweat glands.
- Exercise – Intense physical activity raises core body temperature.
- Pregnancy – Metabolic and hormonal changes can lead to profuse sweating.
- Menopause – Changes in hormone levels can lead to excessive night sweating.
- Diabetes – Nerve damage from diabetes can result in abnormal sweating.
- Puberty – Hightened emotions, changing hormones can lead more sweating.
- Medications – Some prescription drugs can cause diaphoresis (unusual sweating)
Understanding how sweat works is the first step to understanding why you might be sweating more than normal.
WHY DO I SWEAT?
In layman’s terms, sweating (that thing that happens when water mysteriously oozes from your skin) is the way your body cools itself. In fact, you’re probably sweating right now and you don’t even know it.
If we compare your body to a car, your metabolism would be the engine. As your engine works to run your bodily functions, it produces heat that can cause problems if left unchecked. This is where your sweat glands come in. Your body releases the extra heat through your sweat, just like a radiator cools down a car engine. When sweat hits the surface of your skin, it evaporates, dispelling the extra heat and keeping you cool.
When things start to really heat up, your body will produce sweat faster than it evaporates. This is when you actually see and feel sweat droplets on your skin.
Underarms, lower backs, and foreheads are just a few common places that become outrageously sweaty with exercise, hot afternoons, first dates, or other high stress / high anxiety situations.
Here’s the thing: for some of us, excessive sweat happens when we’re doing ANYTHING, or NOTHING at all! Even mere breathing can produce a set of sizeable sweat tacos.
Which leads us to the question at hand:
WHY DO I SWEAT SO MUCH?
Like a choose-your-own-adventure book, this question can take us down a few different roads leading to very different conclusions. Let’s explore some of the reasons you might be sweating more than normal.
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive, often unpredictable sweating. The sweating can occur at virtually any time and for absolutely no reason. Hyperhidrosis affects an estimated 8+ million people in the United States. It can affect the whole body or be isolated to certain areas of the body (hands, feet, face, etc.).
Excessive underarm sweating, also known as axillary hyperhidrosis, is one of the most common types of hyperhidrosis. Other types of hyperhidrosis include: palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands), hyperhidrosis of the feet, and craniofacial hyperhidrosis (sweaty face and head).
Unfortunately, how or why hyperhidrosis occurs is still a mystery. In some cases, hyperhidrosis is a mere side affect of more serious health conditions. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about irregular or excessive sweating.
2. More Sweat Glands
If you feel you sweat more than normal, the answer could simply be that you have more sweat glands than the average person. More sweat glands equals more sweat. In other words, you just won the genetic lottery when it comes to sweat glands! Aren’t you lucky?
Your diet matters. You really “are what you eat” and your eating habits will most certainly have an impact on your sweating. Take for example, Capsaicin, a chemical commonly found in spicy foods. This little-known chemical fools your body into thinking that temperatures are rising. The result… a side of sweat tacos with those spicy nachos.
Spicy foods aren’t the only guilty party – processed fatty foods, coffee, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, and foods high in sodium can also contribute to excess sweating. If your diet includes high amounts of these foods, this could explain your elevated levels of sweat. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a helpful article on foods that make you sweat more and another about foods that can make you sweat less.
4. High Temperatures and High Humidity
Hot, humid days are when most of us get hit with tsumani-like waves of sweat. Like built in fire supression sprinklers, your sweat glands will cool you down with refreshing sweat secretions. It’s normal, it’s healthy, it’s how your body keeps from overheating. If you live in a hot climate, you’ll sweat more. If you wear heavy, baggy, non-breathable clothing, you’re going to sweat.
5. High Stress, High Anxiety
Grueling workouts and sweltering afternoons are not the only times that you find yourself drenched in sweat. If you think about it, we’ve all had uncomfortable, sweaty moments during first dates, tense interviews, big presentations, and nerve wracking proposals. What do these situations have in common? They all deal with higher levels of stress, anxiety and nervousness.
As humans, we experience stress and anxiety almost daily. Stress puts your body on high alert and activates your flight or fight reaction. This human survival mode increases blood flow, heart rate, body temperature, and sweat output. Sweat production during high stress situations is completely normal and healthy.
If sweating is excessive during stressful situations, it could indicate a more serious condition like hyperhidrosis. This kind of heavy sweating is often called “nervous sweating” or “stress sweat” and can usually be controlled with a strong antiperspirant.
6. Physical Exertion and Exercise
Exercise will cause you to sweat, and the more strenuous the activity, the more you’ll perspire. “But,” you ask, “why do I sweat so easily when other people stay dry?” One factor could be your health and fitness. For example, a person who is out of shape, overweight or not physically fit is most likely going to sweat more profusely than a trained athlete.
Pregnancy can bring on more than weird food cravings and mood swings. Pregnancy increases hormone levels, metabolism and blood flow through your body, which in turn, increases sweat production. Some women tend to sweat even more after pregnancy as their body regulates their hormone levels and sheds stored water weight.
Unfortunately, hot flashes and night sweats are some of the most common symptoms of Menopause. Like pregnancy, doctors believe that these flushes are caused by changing levels of hormones. Do you see a pattern here? Changing hormone levels = more sweat.
There are a couple reasons why those who have diabetes sweat more than normal. One of the reasons is because those with diabetes tend to be overweight. When your body has to carry around extra weight, it means more work, and you guessed it, more sweat. Another reason is high glucose levels. A loss of nerve function can occur when blood sugar levels are elevated for too long. If the sweat gland nerves are damaged, they can’t communicate clearly with the sweat glands. Mixed messages can mean excessive sweating.
Pimples, voice cracks and growth spurts are all common symptoms of puberty. A less common symptom of puberty is overactive sweat glands. During puberty, your body experiences hormonal changes, body growth and a myriad of new emotions which all can lead to some sweaty situations. This all seems truly unfortunate, since going through puberty is hard enough without having to throw in extra sweat with the awkward middle school pictures.
Think back to the last drug commercial you watched on TV. Remember that lighting-fast list of side-effects that comes at the end? When everyone is flying kites, riding bikes and jumping around like hobbits?
Diaphoresis is a side effect you’ll often hear on these ad disclaimers. This inconvenient sweat condition is characterized by “sweating, especially to an unusual degree as a symptom of disease or a side effect of a drug.” Medications may help relieve specific symptoms, but they also bring a host of their own side effects… like diaphoresis. Ask your doctor if your medication could be causing you to sweat more than usual.
There are a lot of reasons to sweat, but excessive sweating shouldn’t take over your life. (dictate your wardrobe, limit your social life, hold you back in your career…) Wanna sweat less? Here’s a few tips to help you stop excessive sweating.