Sweating is our body’s way of letting off steam, so to speak, releasing heat into the universe and away from our skin.
Temperature control, however, is just one reason why we sweat. Sweating is a complex set of interactions that involves multiple systems within us. We use the skin, glands, and the nervous system, plus areas of the brain that control our core body temperature.
Hyperhidrosis is a condition that affects an estimated third of all humans, with ‘primary focal hyperhidrosis’ the term used to describe ‘excess’ (as in, we don’t like it) sweating that appears in certain areas: palms, underarms, and your face. The sweating is deemed to be in ‘natural’ areas and appears on both sides equally.
Why? We don’t really know. Those with hyperhidrosis do not have larger or more sweat glands than anyone else, so like everything else: when we don’t know, we like to blame genetics. Excessive sweating treatments for hyperhidrosis are available at our Melbourne clinic, and you can read more about excessive sweating treatments here.
Many pregnant women complain of sweatiness, which usually happens due to an increase in body temperature during pregnancy. Hormone levels cause increased blood flow to the skin, increase your metabolism, and cause sweating.
An overactive thyroid
The thyroid is responsible for managing our metabolism, so when your thyroid dials itself up, we sweat more. Hyperthyroidism produces excess thyroid hormones, causing your sweating to ramp up along with all your other body systems.
Sweating is not the only symptom of hyperthyroidism, since a rushing metabolism means weight loss, sleeplessness, and fatigue. See your doctor if you think you may have these symptoms, since hyperthyroidism can be treated. Excessive sweating treatments for those with overactive thyroids is most likely to revolve around treating the thyroid.
Perimenopause is the time just prior to a woman entering menopause – meno meaning menstruation (periods) and pause meaning, well, pause – stop – period stop. This stage of a woman’s life causes hormonal changes that can result in hot flushes that cause sweating.
These hot flushes can happen at any time, night or day, and can be quite disruptive and are pretty uncomfortable. Luckily, hot flushes will eventually end as menopause kicks in for real. Excessive sweating treatments for those in perimenopause are management strategies, and for some, perhaps hormonal modulations.
Type I and II diabetes
Diabetics can have increases in sweating as a physiological response to either low blood sugar, a peculiar food response, or even at night. A marker of blood sugar falling below proper levels is sweating.
The peculiar form of sweating is called ‘gustatory sweating’, which occurs in some diabetics with nerve damage. Gustatory sweating occurs when a diabetic thinks about food or eats food, with the sweating typically only occurring from the shoulders up. Diabetics can also get night sweats (nocturnal hyperhidrosis) but this is not just for diabetics – those with infections, sleep apnoea and hormone issues may sweat at night. Excessive sweating treatments in diabetics are likely to focus on blood sugar regulation and management strategies.
Sweat by medication
Some drugs can cause sweating, in particular, a class of drug called a diaphoretic. You can find a long list of these sweat-inducing drugs at the International Hyperhidrosis Society. If you suspect your medicine may be causing your sweating, check the list and known side effects in the drug information sheet that comes in the packet.
Excessive sweating treatments for those on medications could include switching or reducing the dose of medications, and in the case where this is not possible, establishing management strategies.
Being nervous or anxious
Your body is hardwired to produce sweat when you get nervous or anxious – that is, if you feel threatened. Stress hormones are deemed to be responsible for this. Some theories suggest that we sweat more during stressful times so that water can be eliminated via the skin (as opposed to the kidneys), possibly to reduce the need to urinate in an emergency.
Your breathing and heart rate will also increase to push blood into the areas of your body – muscles, heart – that you need to run away or fight if necessary. This causes an increase in temperature; thus sweating is used to regulate body temperature. Anyone with anxiety disorders may need management strategies that include excessive sweating treatments. Speak to your doctor for more information on your individual case.