We all sweat at almost every point during the day, and sweating is a normal part of everyday functioning. We sweat when it's hot, when we work out, or when we feel stressed. We even sweat some when we're sitting in a room that is a comfortable temperature. Although it's normal to sweat, too much sweat is actually not normal. Not only does it create awkward social situations and discomfort, but it is sometimes even a sign of a physiological condition or even a more serious medical condition.
Why Do We Sweat?
Sweating is a normal part of our bodies' cooling systems. We sweat to keep ourselves cool and to release toxins from our bodies, lowers the risk of kidney stone formation, as well as many other positive benefits. But if you sweat a lot, you might wonder, "Can sweating be bad for you?" Sweating itself isn't usually bad for your health, but it can be a sign that there is something else going on in your body.
What is a Normal Amount of Sweating and What is Too Much?
Although we all sweat, some people sweat more than others. There's even a name for this. It's called hyperhidrosis, and there are two kinds. In the United States, 15 million people are affected by hyperhidrosis, and most are affected by too much sweating under the arms and other places that have Apocrine glands like the genitals and scalp. The other portion of people with hyperhidrosis has excessive sweating through the Eccrine glands which are everywhere else on the body.
While it's normal to sweat some, you know you're an excessive sweater if, when you become nervous or work out, sweat soaks your clothes and drips to the floor. Again, it's normal to sweat during physical activity and during times of stress, but if you can wring your clothes out afterward, you probably have a sweating problem.
What Are the Reasons That People Sweat Too Much?
There are two kinds of hyperhidrosis: primary hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis is a physiological condition, and most people who have this type of hyperhidrosis experience profuse sweating on the underarms, forehead, feet, and genitals. Secondary hyperhidrosis is triggered by other health factors such as cancer, obesity, gout, diabetes, and heart problems. This type of hyperhidrosis is characterized by profuse sweating all over the body. In this circumstance, too much sweating might even be a sign of an underlying illness, but once the illness has been addressed, the sweating will stop too.
If you think that you might have hyperhidrosis, you're probably wondering how it is diagnosed. Many times, a medical practitioner will run blood and urine tests to figure out if there is another medical condition, such as hypothyroidism or cancer, that is causing you to sweat. This is an important step because these are serious conditions, and you would hate to ignore your body's warning system.
After other medical conditions are ruled out, a medical practitioner will run a series of tests. For instance, the medical practitioner might run a sweat test on your hands called a thermoregulatory sweat test. Other options are an iodine-starch test and a skin conductance test.
Treatment for Hyperhidrosis
Among the less invasive treatments for this condition are prescription deodorant and creams. Other options include botox injections, antidepressants, and nerve-blocking medications. Finally, nerves that control the sweat glands can be destroyed with microwave therapy, or the sweat glands can be removed. Finally, for some kinds of sweating in certain areas of the body, the nerves that control the sweat glands can be cut or burned so that your body can no longer sweat in those areas.
Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms
When you have a medical condition, you don't just want the symptoms to be masked by treatments that create as many problems as they solve. Instead, you want practitioners who are able to address the underlying problems that are manifesting in the symptoms you're experiencing.