Do You Sweat Too Much? How to Know

Article posted in: Lifestyle
woman wiping sweat off of her forehead

You can hate how sticky it makes you feel and how it makes you smell. But when it’s hot out or when you’re pushing through a power walk, sweating is normal and necessary—it’s your body’s way of cooling down and protecting itself from overheating. Some people sweat a little more, others less so. But if you sweat a lot (like a lot, a lot) in situations that don’t seem to call for it, it could be a sign of hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. “Sweating profusely even when it’s not hot seems to be the biggest division between a ‘normal’ sweater and someone with hyperhidrosis,” says Chris G. Adigun, MD, board certified dermatologist in Chapel Hill, NC.

If the heavy sweating occurs in specific spots, like your underarms, hands and feet, and started during childhood or adolescence, that’s called primary hyperhidrosis. This type occurs when the body’s mechanism for cooling itself is overactive; think of it like sweat glands being stuck in the ‘on’ position. Secondary hyperhidrosis causes sweating from head to toe, usually starts in adulthood and is often attributed to an underlying medical condition, like menopause, thyroid problems or diabetes.

It’s time to see your doctor when sweating disrupts your daily routine or adversely affects your work, social life and relationships. There’s no reason to suffer in silence; treatments are available that are very effective, and can improve your quality of life, says Adigun. If you suddenly start to sweat more than usual, or you experience night sweats for no apparent reason, your doctor may suggest a full medical work-up to rule out a hormonal disorder or malignancy, and determine the root of the problem.

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