Why Do I Sweat So Much? And Ways to Deal
Does the thought of “why do I sweat so much?” or “why do I sweat so easily?” keep you up at night? Are wet marks and yellow stains the bane of your existence?
Profuse sweating and pit stains can be frustrating, uncomfortable and embarrassing, but understanding potential causes of sweating can help you find the right solutions.
Today, we’re tackling sweat science and sweating causes to help you uncover the best ways to deal with excessive perspiration.
WHY DO I SWEAT SO MUCH?
But first, let’s review why we sweat in the first place so we can better understand these health conditions.
Sweating is an essential, biological process that cools the body. Unlike most animals, humans lose heat, not retain it. We cool down by sweating (instead of panting), allowing us to stay cool in circumstances that would overheat other animals.
Normal perspiration is a response to several conditions, such as weather, exercise or consumption of certain foods. When these factors amplify, our nerves signal our sweat glands to cool us down.
Hyperactive sweat glands, however, can cause individuals to sweat more than average. According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, hyperhidrosis occurs when “the nerves responsible for signaling your sweat glands become overactive, even though they haven't been triggered by physical activity or a rise in temperature.”
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH SWEAT?
Most adults sweat a certain baseline amount, approximately 1.5 gallons per day, but it’s impossible to measure daily sweat output to the tee.
For the most part, you can self-diagnose hyperhidrosis. If you notice you’re sweating much more than those around you, you probably have a sweating condition.
Here are some other signs you might have hyperhidrosis:
- Sweat interferes with your daily life. You struggle with simple activities, like writing or raising your hand.
- You wipe yourself down or change clothes throughout the day due to wet marks or stains.
- You avoid public or social situations because you’re nervous about sweating.
- You find yourself sweating for no reason.
Excessive sweating isn’t harmful to one’s physical health. But hyperhidrosis can be psychologically damaging. Sweating issues can cause anxiety or depression and a lack of confidence in public and social situations.
Next, we’ll talk about the biggest factors that can cause or aggravate hyperhidrosis. By pinpointing other underlying causes of sweating, you can determine which remedies are most suitable for you.
TOP 10 CAUSES OF EXCESSIVE SWEATING
- Physical fitness and activity
- Body weight
- More sweat glands
- Your emotions
- Your diet
1. Physical fitness and activity
Did you know? The more fit you are, the more you sweat.
As your body becomes stronger, you become more efficient at burning calories and this generates more heat. Sweat cools your body and allows you to train for more extended periods. That’s why top athletes sweat much sooner into a workout in comparison to sedentary people.
Stay dry by using an antiperspirant, keeping a towel nearby and drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Excessive sweating is a hereditary condition influenced by your genes. Studies show that 50% of people affected by hyperhidrosis have a known family history of it.
People with hyperhidrosis sweat heavily in various areas of the body, such as the underarms, hands or feet. Other individuals can sweat excessively from the face, chest, back, and groin areas.
3. Body weight
Higher body mass = more sweat.
Fat insulates the body, raising its core temperature. Increased body weight puts a strain on circulation and generates more internal heat. When your body temperature is higher, you need to sweat more to cool down.
Keeping your body weight within normal ranges can help you stay cooler and drier.
4. More Sweat Glands
The average person has about two million sweat glands, but some have as many as five million. The more sweat glands you have, the more you are capable of sweating excessively.
Most sweat glands are eccrine sweat glands in your armpits, the soles of your feet, the palms of your hands, your forehead and cheeks. The sweat from these glands is a clear, odorless fluid that controls your body temperature when the sweat evaporates.
Apocrine glands are in your armpits and genital region and produce a thicker fluid. Sweat from these glands produces body odor when it comes in contact with bacteria on your skin.
According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is a surgical procedure that “interrupts the transmission of nerve signals to the sweat glands.” Sweat gland removal should be considered a last resort due to its invasiveness and potential of serious, lifetime side effects.
Men and women have about the same number of sweat glands, but men produce more sweat. Wondering why?
Scientists point out that testosterone increases men’s sweat response. Conversely, estrogen levels in women promote lower body temperatures, which generally causes women to sweat less.
Hot, humid environments raise your body temperature, activating your glands to sweat more and cool you off.
Whenever possible, regulate the air temperature around you with fans and open windows. Dressing in layers will also help you stay cool and comfortable in volatile weather.
7. Your Emotions
Are you anxious? Stressed? Being emotionally upset can often trigger a “fight or flight” response, causing your sweat glands to go into overdrive.
Our brains put our bodies in motion when we sense a perceived threat, anxiety or stress. Our heart beats and breathing patterns quicken, increasing body heat and sweat production.
Sleep, relaxation, meditation and yoga are useful ways to keep anxiety at bay. Plus journaling, spending time with supportive friends and having an overall healthy lifestyle can improve happiness and reduce stress.
8. Your Diet
What you eat and drink may be causing you to sweat too much.
Certain foods and beverages activate neurotransmitters in your brain, which stimulate your sweat glands. If you find yourself sweating during meals, you may want to avoid or cut back on the following:
- Spicy foods like hot sauce and jalapeños
- Pungent foods and spices like curry, pepper and garlic
- Hot beverages like coffee, tea and soup
- Stimulants like alcohol and caffeine
9. Hyperhidrosis: Localized, Excessive Sweating
Hyperhidrosis affects nearly five percent of the U.S. population. There are two types of hyperhidrosis: primary and secondary.
People with primary hyperhidrosis (focal hyperhidrosis) experience excessive sweating in one area of the body (most notably the underarms, forehead, feet or hands).
Those with secondary hyperhidrosis (diaphoresis) experience all-over excessive sweating. This is due to a medical condition or side effect of a medication. More on this below.
Hyperhidrosis usually develops during adolescence, but can also occur later in life.
10. Diaphoresis: All-Over, Excessive Sweating
Diaphoresis is sudden, drenching sweat that can develop at any time, and is caused by an underlying condition. Once the cause is treated, sweating subsides.
Common conditions causing diaphoresis include:
- Menopause or changes in hormones, especially in women
- Illness (such as the flu)
- High blood pressure
Excessive Sweating in Localized Areas
Read on for more information if you have concerns about excessive sweating in specific areas of the body.
Why Do My Armpits Sweat So Much?
Axillary hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive underarm sweating.
Most of the body’s sweat glands are in your armpits, which is why you may experience more underarm sweating than in other parts of your body.
To combat armpit sweat, use a good antiperspirant/deodorant. Practice good hygiene and wear breathable clothing or a sweat proof undershirt, like a Thompson Tee.
Why Do My Head and Face Sweat So Much?
Excessive sweating on the head and face is called craniofacial hyperhidrosis. This form of hyperhidrosis is very noticeable, which can increase anxiety and affect relationships and social life.
Antiperspirants can be used on your face, head and scalp as long as you apply carefully to avoid irritation. You can also try Botox injections or prescription medications (anticholinergics). These solutions offer temporary relief, but side effects can be taxing.
Why Do My Feet and Hands Sweat So Much?
Excessive foot sweating is called plantar hyperhidrosis. Wear antiperspirants on your feet along with absorbent socks when possible. Botox and oral medications (for short term use) may also be effective against sweaty feet.
Profuse sweating of the hands is called palmar hyperhidrosis. As with sweaty feet, botox and oral medications serve as short-term remedies.
Sweating of both the hands and feet is called palmoplantar hyperhidrosis. To treat this health condition, consider iontophoresis. During iontophoresis, a mild electrical current passes through water and the skin’s surface. Iontophoresis can be an effective treatment option for palmoplantar hyperhidrosis (up to 91% of cases).
Why Do I Sweat So Much Between My Legs?
Sweating “down there” is common, especially during exercise and hot weather. Since apocrine glands are present in the groin area, odor also tends to be a problem. How can you deal with groin sweat and avoid embarrassing dampness on your yoga pants?
- Avoid tight-fitting underwear. Choose cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics.
- Use clinical-strength antiperspirants between the legs, avoiding the genital area.
- Bathe or shower twice a day.
- Use cornstarch (not talc) as an additional method to control moisture and odor.
- Keep pubic hair trimmed.
- Keep your weight within a healthy range.
Tackle Underarm Sweat with a Thompson Tee
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Our undershirts are built with Hydro-Shield technology that traps heat and moisture, allowing sweat to evaporate rather than seep through your clothes and stain your outer layers.
Don’t sweat it! Try the Thompson Tee risk-free today.
*PLEASE NOTE: As with any medical-related issue, it's best to talk to your doctor or seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner. Do not use the information provided for any diagnostic purposes or as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.