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- What is Excessive Sweating?
- What Causes Excessive Sweating?
- Diagnosing Excessive Sweating
- Help for Excessive Sweating
- More Information on Excessive Sweating
What is Excessive Sweating?
We have all experienced that clammy sweaty feeling after a hot day, or a session of strenuous physical activity, and for most people it is not something to worry about. Sweating is a normal reaction to a variety of factors such as stress, heat and physical activity and it serves the important function of regulating body temperature.
In order to perform this function, there are millions of sweat glands all over the body, although they are highly concentrated in certain areas namely under the arms, on the soles of feet, the palms of hands, the upper lips and between the legs in the groin area. When stimulated by hormones, these sweat glands release sweat which evaporates and in turn cools down the body.
For some people however, sweating can be excessive and may actually become such a problem that it affects many aspects of life. Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis is a clinical disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Not only is the condition frustrating and inconvenient, it can also be very embarrassing affecting areas of life such as work and personal relationships, and in some cases, the condition may result in body odor.
What Causes Excessive Sweating?
In some cases, excessive sweating is caused by an underlying condition such as an infection, chronic illness, anxiety disorders or a disorder that affects the hormones in the body, such as hyperthyroidism. Other factors that contribute to excessively sweating include genetics, alcoholism, and side effects to certain medications. In these cases, the sweating is usually general, rather than localized to specific areas.
In other cases, excessively sweating is a medical condition all on its own and the cause is often unknown. The hypothalamus regulates and controls sweating, however in cases of hyperhidrosis, something goes wrong between the message the brain sends to the sweat nerves and the amount of sweat produced.
Diagnosing Excessive Sweating
Excessive sweating can usually be diagnosed with an examination, and self report of the condition. Paper tests and starch iodine tests can be used to measure the amount of sweating and to determine the problem areas; however, these are often not necessary. You doctor may also want to run a few additional tests to determine if there is an underlying condition that is causing the excessive sweating.
Help for Excessive Sweating
There are a number of ways how to treat excessive sweating and it does not need to be a condition that continues to disrupt your life.
Conventional treatments of excessive sweating vary depending on the severity of the condition. The first and simplest treatment option is to use an effective antiperspirant rather than a standard deodorant. Anticholinergic drugs are also often used.
These work by drying bodily secretions, and tend to come with unwanted side-effects such as dry mouth, blurry vision, dizziness and cardiovascular concerns. Other treatments include iontophoresis (which involves using electric currents to reduce perspiration for a couple of weeks), botox injections and surgery.
More Information on Excessive Sweating
Tips on coping with excessive sweating
- Wear loose fitting and light clothing that allows your skin to breathe. Cotton and linen are great, but avoid synthetic fabrics and silks whenever you can.
- Wear light colored clothing that will not absorb the heat.
- Maintain good personal hygiene to prevent body odor. This may mean showering 2-3 times a day with hot water and a good anti-bacterial soap.
- Keep a handkerchief on you at all times if facial sweating, or sweaty hands are a problem.
- Use antiperspirants, deodorants and talcum powders regularly and keep an extra bottle of these on you or at work so that you are never stuck without.
- Shave or was under your arms as the hair makes a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria that causes body odor.
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and replace lost fluids.
- Whenever possible, try walking barefoot or open shoes. This helps cool the entire body, and prevents sweating from the feet.
- Make sure you eat a healthy balance diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Foods to avoid include spicy foods, and strong smelling foods such as garlic, onion and hot peppers.