Sweating Basics

A familiar question from those who suffer from excessive sweating is, why do I sweat a lot? Discover the the answer  and more in this article.

It’s a fact that 1 person out of a 100 people worldwide suffers from excessive sweating. Why do I sweat-Hyperhidrosis map

Sweating is normal and is good for the body, but the effect of excessive sweating on a person’s daily life is irritating, embarrassing, makes you uncomfortable and in many cases it impacts the lifestyle of a person to an extent that it may influence your career choice.

Take Anne for example, Anne studies Hospitality at University with a dream of becoming a flight attendant. After graduation Anne applied for a flight attendant job at a famous airline company, she passed the interview and started with her training. The job required that she wore a uniform and maintained a clean look at all time (a light blue top and a navy skirt).

Unfortunately, Anne has a history of excessive underarm sweating that was not treated at that point, two days into the training, she quit because she knew she couldn’t maintain a clean look as her underarm will be soaking wet. Although she couldn’t keep her dream job, Anne has finally found a solution for her excessive sweating and now works as a Hotel Manager.

What is sweating

According to Healthline, sweating, which is alternately known as perspiration is an important body function that helps control your body temperature by releasing sweat.

 

How do we sweat

Sweat is excreted from your body by sweat glands. Sweat glands are small tubes like part of your skin that produce sweat. Our bodies have an average of 2 to 4 million sweat glands, but the number of glands varies from person to person.

Once your body gets overheated, you start sweating, as sweat dries up (evaporates) from your skin, the body cools down.

Moreover, when you are frightened or nervous, your body starts to sweat mostly on the palms, forehead, soles of your feet and in your armpits.

There are two types of sweat glands, i.e. eccrine sweat glands, and apocrine sweat glands.

 

i). Eccrine sweat glands;
  • Are found all over your body
  • They produce water-like sweat, which is odorless
  • Are mainly responsible for cooling your body
ii). Apocrine sweat glands;
  • Are found in your hair follicles of your armpits, groin, scalp, ear canal, nipples of the breast, Why do I sweat-Sweaty underarm eyelids, wings of the nostril, perianal region, and outside the genital area
  • They produce a heavy sweat with a fatty sweat like content which is  odorless before it mixes with  bacteria found on your skin
  • They are not used in cooling the body, but emotional stress could cause apocrine sweat glands to perspire

 

But why do I sweat

Our body sweat so it can cool itself and it maintains its body temperature in this way.

Note: Sweat is NOT made up of toxins and therefore you do not sweat out toxins. Sweat is made up of 99 percent water and 1 percent of small bits, salt, protein and urea. The kidneys and liver are the organs responsible for removing toxins from your body and not the sweat glands.

What causes sweating

Sweating is caused by many factors such as:

  • Physical activities (e.g. Exercises)

Why do I sweat-Causes of sweating

  • No reason (Hyperactive glands or inherited trait)
  • Stress
  • Hormones (e.g. Menopause)
  • Emotions
  • Heat or warm temperatures
  • High humidity
  • Medical condition (e.g. Fever,Low blood sugar, etc.)
  • Drug side effect
  • Eating certain food or drinks (e.g. Spicy food, alcohol)  and much more.

 

Is all sweating normal

It’s a fact that we all sweat in different ways, some people sweat easily than other, just as people who cry easily than others, however, you should still be able to tell when sweating is no longer normal.

Excessive sweating is also called Hyperhidrosis

Excessive sweating is sweating beyond the normal sweating function. If you suffer from excessive sweating, you may sweat heavily for no reason, sweat on a cold day, perspire when you are not stressed and sweat while sitting at home watching TV, or walking merely for 5 minutes.

Are all the excessive sweating the same?
There are two types of excessive sweating:

Primary focal excessive sweating and secondary generalized excessive sweating.

 

1. Primary Focal excessive sweating is:

  • Excessive sweating, which does not cause illness or sickness
  • Is not caused by a medical problem
  • Is not a caused by a drug side effect
  • Starts from childhood or adolescence
  • Impact specific areas, e.g. underarms or face or hand etc.
  • Occurs on both sides: e.g. Both underarms or both hands
  • You sweat for no reason
  • You are perfectly healthy

 

2. Secondary Generalized excessive sweating is:

  •  A serious medical condition
  • May be caused by a medical problem such as: (menopause, pregnancy, thyroid problems, diabetes, alcoholism, stroke, heart failures and many others)
  • Could be a drug side effect (some blood pressure medication, some dry mouth medicine, some antibiotics, some supplements and others)
  • Starts during adulthood
  • Sweating affects your whole body not only the underarm or face
  • You experience sweating while sleeping
  • May occur only on one side of the body, e.g. one armpit or one hand
  • May be accompanied by other symptoms, e.g. a cough, frequent urination, fatigue, and others

 

Dealing with excessive sweating

Axillary hyperhidrosis

Excessive sweating of the underarm is called Axillary hyperhidrosis.

Excessive underarm sweating is one of the most uncomfortable types of sweating. The perspiration soaks your blouses and shirt underarms, making it impossible to stay dry. Underarm sweat also produces undesirable odors when it mixes with bacteria found on the surface of the skin.

Over the years, I have been using deodorants to try and reduce sweating, little did I know “Deodorants are not meant to reduce sweat but the odor”. What reduces sweat are antiperspirants and other similar solutions!

Know the difference between the two (deodorants and antiperspirants)

dealing with hyperhidrosis

 

Antiperspirants are products that help control sweating by reducing the flow of sweat to the surface of the skin.

Deodorants, on the other hand, are products that help control odor by masking the underarm odor caused by the bacteria interacting with sweat and also by reducing odor causing bacteria.

Note: Odor is NOT caused by sweat, the bacteria on your body skin causes the odor when there is sweat. Controlling sweat could eliminate odor too.

 

If you are like me and suffer from excessive underarm sweating, what you need is an antiperspirant or other solutions that will treat the excessive sweating symptoms.

hyperhidrosis side effects

You don’t have to cover your body under layers of clothes, wear stained clothes and wear dark colors all your life to mask sweat.

Some people avoid dating, socializing, avoid certain jobs just because of sweating, and all this could change your lifestyle.

These solutions can reduce sweating by 98%, you can use one type of treatment or a combination of two treatments depending on your preferences.

Axillary hyperhidrosis is controlled by treating the symptoms depending on whether you suffer from primary focal hyperhidrosis or secondary generalized hyperhidrosis.

 

Palmar hyperhidrosis

Palmar excessive sweating affects the hands. If you suffer from Palmar excessive sweating you will have wet and slippery hands that lead to suffers;

  • Avoiding handshakes
  • Leaving wet marks on papers
  • Difficulty in handling equipment such as electronics
  • Trouble writing neatly, as the pen keeps slipping
  • Easily develop blisters

 

Plantar hyperhidrosis

Plantar excessive sweating affects the feet soles. Plantar hyperhidrosis leads to;

  • Unpleasant shoes smell
  • Shoe damage by sweat
  • Prone to blistering
  • Suffer from secondary infections such as tinea pedis, a fungus type

Other body areas prone to excessive sweating include; the face and head, back, groin, under breasts, etc.

Excessive sweating in all these areas (hands, feet, face, head, back, groin,under breasts) can be treated by either the use of antiperspirants, Botox injection, oral medication and surgery for very extreme hyperhidrosis and Iontophoresis specifically for hands and feet.

Please visit the Sweating Solution section for details on specific solutions for each problem area.

However, to find the right solution for your problem, some effort need to be put in diagnosing the type of excessive sweating that you suffer from.

 

These are some questions to ask yourself before deciding on which solution best solves your problem:

 

1. Do I suffer from primary focal excessive underarm sweating or secondary generalized excessive underarm sweating?

* Diagnosing what type of excessive sweating you suffer from is very important, as it determines what treatment or solution best suits you. Primary focal excessive sweating is easy to treat as the focus is to reduce or stop sweating.

* Secondary excessive sweating, on the other hand, require diagnosing the cause of sweating, once the cause is known,  the focus should be treating the medical condition or the symptoms causing secondary sweating. In most cases, once the medical condition or symptoms are treated, then sweating will automatically stop.

 

2. Am I looking for a temporary solution?hyperhidrosis treatment

* Temporary solutions are pharmaceutical products that will need to be re-applied once and then, it could be every night, every week, or every six months, e.g. antiperspirants. They stop or reduce sweating for a short time.

 

3. Am I looking for a Long-lasting solution?

*  Long-lasting solution can be termed as permanent solutions that are once off procedures performed in less than three visits to the doctor with limited follow up e.g. surgery. They stop or reduce sweating for good or a long haul.

 

4. Am I looking for conventional or natural methods to ease the effect of excessive sweating?

* Conventional or natural methods are tried and acceptable ways that minimize the impact of sweating, e.g. clothes fabric type, food etc.

 

Benefits of being sweat-free

Being sweat free could help;

  • Increase your self-esteem
  • Boost your physical appearance
  • Improve your health
  • Increase your social engagements
  • Boost your confidence and
  • Overall improve your work life and personal life for better

 

Conclusion

The effect of sweating on a person’s lifestyle can be detrimental to your daily life. It’s therefore, important to diagnose the sweating problem and get a solution for it as early as possible.

You will be amazed how life changing it is when you are sweat free. The Sweating Solutions page discusses the different solutions available for excessive sweating.