Do you sweat excessively? Even when others around you aren’t? And is excessive sweating making you self-conscious? Let’s get to the root of why some people sweat a lot more than others and see if there are any workarounds to this common problem.
Relax. Everyone Sweats.
You’re not alone. Perspiration or sweating is a normal body function by which our body releases fluids through the sweat glands located under our skin. It is our body’s way of maintaining the optimal body temperature by cooling it down. Apart from water, our sweat contains sugar, salts and a few other chemicals. Sweat in itself doesn’t have a particular odor, but when it mixes with the bacteria present on our skin is when it creates an unpleasant odor.
Experts explain that there are two kinds of sweating: one called thermoregulatory sweating, that happens to regulate the body’s temperature and the other known as emotional sweating, that is caused by stress or excitement and is usually experienced in the palms, soles, armpits and forehead.
Why Do Some People Sweat More Than Others?
There are 2-4 million sweat glands under our skin that are responsible for our sweat. And women happen to have more sweat glands than men, although sweat glands are more active in men than in women. In a nutshell, how much you sweat depends on the number of sweat glands you have, your gender, the temperature outside, your activity levels and your emotional state.
The amount of sweat produced also varies from one person to another as different people have sweat glands that have differing capacities to produce sweat. Generally speaking, men sweat more than women as women’s sweat glands produce less sweat as compared to men’s. People with a sedentary lifestyle tend to sweat more as the fat in their bodies acts as an insulator and increases the core body temperature.
Hyperhidrosis – What Is It?
Some people have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, in which their sweat glands are overactive and cause excessive sweating. And this condition impacts people in different parts of the body. For instance, palmar hyperhidrosis affects people in their palms, and in plantar hyperhidrosis people experience excessive sweating in their feet and axillary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating experienced in the armpits. When excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis is caused by another medical condition, like hyperthyroidism for instance, it is called secondary hyperhidrosis.
People who suffer from this condition don’t just sweat slightly more than an average person. They sweat even when there’s no reason for the sweating to happen. There isn’t an increase in temperature and they aren’t doing any rigorous activity. There isn’t a diagnostic test to determine if you suffer from this condition and the diagnosis is usually quite subjective. A rule of thumb can be, to see if the illness impacts the daily life of the person in question. A few people, for instance, find writing very difficult because of profuse sweating in their palms. In this case, it is definitely a nuisance and may require treatment.
There are several levels of treatment available for this condition. Botox usually happens to be the initial line of treatment and although it is effective for axillary hyperhidrosis, the effects fade fairly quickly. Surgery can be a long-term solution for severe cases, which requires cutting the nerves to the sweat glands that renders them inactive.
So, Is There Light At The End Of The Tunnel?
There are a few things we can do to control sweating. Caffeine can increase sweating. So, if you are an avid coffee fan, you may want to consider cutting back a little. Even alcohol has an impact on sweating. Going easy on alcohol will make you sweat less. Smoking also increases the amount of sweat our body produces as the nicotine in cigarette smoke affects our hormones, skin and even our brain.
Using antiperspirants can help reduce the amount of sweat our body produces. They can be applied to other parts of our body apart from the armpits to reduce sweating in those places. If you happen to sweat excessively in your feet, then changing the socks that you wear frequently will help keep the odor under control. And so will choosing socks made of natural fibers like cotton and wool and shoes made of natural materials like leather that will keep your feet dry.
Choose clothes made of cotton, wool and silk fabrics that will allow your skin to breathe and absorb sweat easily. Regular bathing also helps keep odors from sweating, to a bare minimum. If your sweating is triggered by anxiety, relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation can help you calm down and find your balance.