Sweat is a natural biological human function.
It could be the weather, a particularly stimulating cardio session at the gym, or an extremely stressful first date. Much like a refined AC, your body automatically produces sweat to cool you down when temperatures get a little hot.
In the absence of heat, sweat could be an indication that your body is fighting something off. Sweat occurs in cases of fever to help the body regain equilibrium.
However, there are cases of people who sweat excessively during relatively mild weather or in the absence of sickness.
The problem could have genetic roots. Some people are born with excessive sweat glands situated in their hands, feet, and armpits. Others could be affected by overactive nerves, which in turn overstimulate their sweat glands.
Let’s Take a General Look at Some Other Possible Causes of Excessive Sweating:
Gender Influences How Your Body Sweats
There are so many intricate variables in the Battle of the Sweats: Gender Edition.
- Body temperature to external temperature ratio
- Fitness levels
- Lifestyle choices
Generally speaking, both men and women have the same number of sweat glands—a seemingly innocuous two million of them.
Two main types of sweat glands exist in this complicated gland system:
Eccrine sweat glands: These vary in density, are found all over the body and are a human’s go-to solution for cooling the body. Eccrine glands open directly onto the skin’s surface.
Apocrine sweat glands: Found in the ears, armpit, and eyelids, these glands are inactive before puberty. But after puberty, they are generally more active during times of stress or extreme energy. These glands empty onto the skin through hair follicles.
Men and women have both types of glands, but studies have found that men not only sweat more “efficiently,” but they also sweat slightly more than their female counterparts.
Fitness Levels Affect Sweat Patterns
Your excessive sweating could be an indication that you’re physically fit.
The PLOS ONE Journal published research in 2014 that confirms this line of reasoning.
Extremely fit and active people, mainly those who participate in high-endurance sports such as running and cycling, sweat faster and more profusely than people who rarely engage in physical activity.
Most people are unaware of this, but a generally inactive person engaging in the same physical activity as a fit person is more likely to sweat sooner and reach their maximum uptake faster. Conversely, the fitter candidate will record more sweat efficiency overall.
However, fitness levels are a complicated determinant for gauging sweat patterns, as was found in a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Sometimes, an overweight person may sweat more because their body biologically needs to exert more energy to accomplish daily functions. In addition to that, more body mass requires more energy to cool down.
The research revealed that sweat rates heavily depend on heat production, which is based on dynamics such as environment and body size rather than overall cardiac fitness.
Your Diet Affects Your Sweating
We are what we eat.
Cumulatively, your diet affects more than your health, physique, and skin complexion. It can also determine how much you sweat, and why.
For most people, eating hot and spicy food results in sweating.
But there exists a unique kind of perspiration known as gustatory sweating.
This happens when a person sweats at just the thought of food, during a meal or immediately after eating.
With the exception of cucumbers or perhaps carrot sticks, eating most foods in abundance has an effect known as thermogenesis.
Some foods have greater thermogenic effects than others and will, therefore, make the body sweat more during or soon after a meal.
Foods that may give a thermic effect include:
- Processed, fatty foods
- High-sugar, high-carb foods
- Alcoholic drinks
- Certain proteins
- Garlic and onions
In some cases, excessive sweating could be the result of an underlying medical condition known as hyperhidrosis.
This condition causes profuse and even spontaneous sweating because the sweat glands fail to shut off. It can happen anytime: standing directly under air conditioning, sitting at a desk, making conversation.
There have even been cases of people sweating while in a swimming pool thanks to this condition.
People who go through hyperhidrosis usually experience sweating so excessive that they can even have moisture dripping from their hands.
Hyperhidrosis affects approximately 1% to 2% of the total population and is classified into two categories:
This condition causes excessive, unprovoked sweating in the hands, underarms, face, and feet. Primary hyperhidrosis is also referred to as focal hyperhidrosis.
In layman terms, consider a scenario where sweat glands have an “on” switch.
Someone suffering from primary hyperhidrosis would always have their switch flipped upwards.
People with primary hyperhidrosis sweat from their eccrine sweat glands.
There are no known or documented causes of primary hyperhidrosis, but doctors suspect it may be hereditary.
Some methods of dealing with primary hyperhidrosis include:
- Prescription-strength antiperspirants that have aluminum in them
- Anticholinergics: medications that directly affect nerve signals to sweat glands
- Iontophoresis: low-intensity electrical current treatments
- Underarm Botox injections
- Removal surgery as a last resort
Sweating from secondary hyperhidrosis differs from primary hyperhidrosis because of its tendency to spread the sweating across the entire body or on general, but larger surface areas of the body.
It can be a symptom of a medical issue, a reaction to certain medications or caused by excessive heat.
Another term for this condition is known as generalized hyperhidrosis.
Unlike primary hyperhidrosis, this type is more likely to cause sweating even when a person is asleep.
There are a known number of medical conditions with the potential to cause hyperhidrosis. Some of them include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Drug withdrawal
The most effective way to treat or decrease the sweating caused by secondary hyperhidrosis is by uncovering the underlying condition and handling it directly.
Stay Fresh, Always
From hot subway rides, humid days and cycling adventures, as well as life in general, sweat can and will always happen.
Luckily, a quality undershirt from Sweatshield can be very helpful in making the dampness, stains, and smells one less thing to worry about.