If you're eating spicy foods, playing a high-energy sport or giving a nerve-wracking presentation for work or class, chances are you might experience a little perspiration. But for some people, excessive sweating can occur for no apparent reason — even when they're not working out or freaking out. So, what exactly causes excessive sweating and what's hyperhidrosis?
What Exactly is Excessive Sweating?
Hyperhidrosis is the official name for the medical condition of excessive sweating affecting approximately 2.8 percent of people around the nation; that’s around 7.8 million Americans. It is mainly diagnosed in kids in their childhood, teenagers, and young adults. So, it’s not too common, but it happens.
There are a few different types of excessive sweating, such as palmar hyperhidrosis (affects underarms and face), primary focal hyperhidrosis (affects palms & soles), primary axillary hyperhidrosis (affects palms, feet, armpits, groin area, and under breasts), and plantar hyperhidrosis (affects the feet).
While everybody sweats, the type of excessive sweating that characterizes hyperhidrosis is unpredictable and can happen without any specific reason. It can occur in one area of the body, like the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet, or under your breasts — but it can also be systemic and affect your entire body at once. That’s just life. For some people, hyperhidrosis symptoms are so severe that it becomes a lot, causing quite a bit of stress and discomfort, ultimately impacting one’s everyday life. If you’re dealing with it, we’ve got your back.
Well, What Causes Hyperhidrosis?
Normally, a person sweats to help their body maintain a stable and healthy temperature.Without sweat, the body would overheat. That is why you sweat when you’re outside on a warm summer day or during an intense workout. Those with hyperhidrosis, however, will sweat more than their bodies need them to.
An individual with hyperhidrosis can either have a primary form or a secondary form of the condition. Primary hyperhidrosis is not as common and causes the armpits, feet, or other areas to sweat excessively. With secondary hyperhidrosis, some side effects of sweating are related to another health condition diagnosis the person may have. The body is just interconnected like that.
Even today, doctors still don’t know what exactly causes primary hyperhidrosis, but they know it’s related to overactivity of the sweat glands. Research has suggested the condition is genetically inherited, but the exact gene that could cause the disease has yet to be tracked down.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperhidrosis?
Unsurprisingly, sweating is the primary tell-tale symptom associated with hyperhidrosis. But seeing as everyone sweats regularly, you might be wondering what constitutes hyperhidrosis-level sweating. Let us give you the tea.
Hyperhidrosis sweating can be incredibly intense and it’s pretty visible---for instance, you might see beads of sweat form on your skin, even if you’re not moving at all). It’s also common for those with the condition to sweat right through their clothes even if they’re not experiencing any of the factors that normally cause sweating, like a fever, hot weather or physical activity. The kind of sweating that characterizes hyperhidrosis is usually so extreme, it interferes with daily activities (like work, school, and hobbies),. For example, writing on paper or simply turning a doorknob can be a challenge in severe cases of hyperhidrosis.
Fungal skin infections can also be a reoccurring issue for those with hyperhidrosis because of the parts of the body where sweat tends to form, like the feet, armpits, groin, etc. Jock itch and athlete’s foot are quite common. Individuals with hyperhidrosis may experience soft, white, and peeling skin in the areas of the body where they commonly sweat -- as well as clammy hands and feet, increased body odor, and night sweats. Excessive sweating can also cause blurred vision, dry mouth, constipation, urinary retention, and irritated skin.
How to Manage Excessive Sweating
While there’s no cure right now, there are some things you can do to help manage hyperhidrosis. Below are some of the best tips and tricks to keep excessive sweating at bay:
Limit Spicy Foods And Caffeine
Spicy food, such as hot peppers or curries, and caffeinated drinks, like soda and coffee, can cause sweating, especially on your head and face. Oh, and so can alcohol! It sucks, but it’s real.
Keep a food and drink journal to help you identify which foods or drinks make you sweat heavily. Also, try milder herbs instead of strong spices to add flavor to your food. Gustatory sweating can occur on your head and neck after eating hot or spicy foods. It can lead to nerve damage in serious cases, so be careful.
Swipe On An Antiperspirant
Antiperspirants contain physical sweat blockers -- like aluminum chloride -- which plug up sweat glands, making them a great option to combat sweat.
Pro Tip: Swipe on a good quality antiperspirant (look for “extra strength” or “clinical strength”) at night for best results, as this is when sweat glands are less active. Then, reapply in the morning. Deodorants reduce odor but don’t affect wetness. For severe symptoms, your doc may suggest a prescription-strength antiperspirant.
Procedures and Medication
Although surgery can be the last resort with helping your sweat decrease, there are some procedures to choose from. Liposuction can help to remove sweat glands, which will result in a decrease in sweat over time. Also, botulinum toxin, otherwise known as botox, can be injected into overactive nerves to slow sweat production. In more severe cases of hyperhidrosis, endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy surgery may be recommended by your doctor.
Shop For Moisture-Wicking Fabrics
If you’re dealing with underarm sweating, reach for sweat-absorbing fabrics. You’ll want to avoid cotton and instead reach for fibers such as nylon, polyester, micro modal, and polypropylene. Dark colors are also a good choice, since they help to hide perspiration much better than lighter colors. And to help minimize foot sweating, breathable shoes are an absolute must.
Bathe Or Shower Daily With Lots Of Care
Bathe or shower daily, using a mild cleanser like Faded from Topicals. This powerful gel serum will help balance your skin tone while smoothing rough and textured skin, leaving it soft and feeling good..
We’ll be honest, you may feel the need to shower more than once a day. If the odor from sweating bothers you, try using soap to reduce bacteria on your skin. When bacteria mix with sweat -- they cause odor. Be sure to dry off completely since germs and bacteria thrive in damp environments.
Manage Night Sweats And Hot Flashes
Apply a cool, damp washcloth to your skin, or try drinking a tall glass of ice water for quick relief at night. Prescription meds and hormone therapy may also help to relieve hot flashes.
Many folks will try popular alternative, natural therapies, such as black cohosh, ginseng, or red clover, but there’s no conclusive proof that they work. Your best bet? Talk to your doctor to decide what’s best for you.
It’s a cycle: stress can cause sweating, and excessive sweating can cause stress. Thankfully, relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help control your triggers and lessen the effects of sweating. Join a local yoga class, listen to guided meditation, or just set aside a little bit of time every day to just relax. You deserve it.
Show Your Feet Some Love
If sweaty feet are causing you stress -- avoid pantyhose. Instead, stick with socks made from materials that wick moisture from the skin, and be sure to change your socks often. And, make sure your shoes are completely dry before wearing them again. This may mean not wearing the same shoes two days in a row or going barefoot. Absorbent insoles may also prove to be helpful. Plus, keep in mind that antiperspirants aren’t just for underarms -- you can use them on your feet and hands, too.
Have A Cool Girl Summer
Lower temps at work or home can help to reduce sweating, so run a fan or air conditioner, or simply open the windows to keep air moving. Drink plenty of cold H2O throughout the day and take cool showers or baths. Dress in layered clothing so you can remove or add layers as the temperature changes. In the warm summer season, do your best to stay out of the sun and do vigorous activities (such as working out) in the morning.
Believe it or not, drinking alcohol, smoking, and weight can cause or intensify heavy sweating. So limit your booze intake, say no to cigarettes and do your best to maintain your health.
Hyperhidrosis can be debilitating, causing unavoidable stress, tension, and more. While there’s no cure at this time, there are some things you can do to help manage symptoms. For instance, keeping yourself healthy, using a strong antiperspirant, and following a great skincare routine can do wonders to keep sweat down to a minimum.
For the best skincare products, head on over to Topicals, the new standard -- medicated botanicals. Whether you’re looking to hydrate your sensitive skin or combat a blemish flare-up, Topicals has everything you need to look and feel your best.