Contributed by: Healthians Team
The human body has approximately 2 to 4 million sweat glands that produce perspiration in order to keep the body temperature stable.
Sweating is natural in hot conditions or after a strong workout. However, abnormal sweating in excess of that required for regulation of body temperature may indicate an underlying illness known as hyperhidrosis.
In hyperhidrosis, sweating is not necessarily related to heat or exercise or in response to situations that make them nervous, angry, or embarrassed.
If you sweat excessively and the condition triggers feelings of embarrassment and anxiety about the possibility of being judged by others — you are not alone.
In this blog, we will share a comprehensive understanding of this health condition and suggestions that may help you cope with sweating and body odour.
Symptoms of hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis causes unusual perspiration in the armpits, around the back and neck, or throughout the body.
Due to excessive perspiration, the individual may experience skin problems attributed to the constant dampness.
Some possible symptoms include:
- Itching and inflammation in areas of high sweat release
- Bad body odour caused by bacteria mixed with perspiration
- Pale, discoloured, broken, or wrinkled skin
- Soggy and soft skin (maceration of skin)
- Sweating even when sleeping
Types of hyperhidrosis
There are two different types of hyperhidrosis:
- Primary focal hyperhidrosis: Focal hyperhidrosis develops during childhood or adolescence and does not suggest an underlying medical issue. It is usually caused by a mutation (change) in one or more genes and can thus be passed down to future generations. This type of hyperhidrosis causes sweating in specific areas of the body, such as the underarms, hands, feet, or forehead.
- Secondary hyperhidrosis: Adults are more likely to develop generalised hyperhidrosis. It is distinguished by profuse sweating throughout the body, which develops as a result of an underlying medical problem or as a side effect of a medicine.
What causes excessive sweating?
The causes of primary focal hyperhidrosis include:
- Foods with a strong odour like lemon, coffee, peanut butter, chocolate, and strong spices
- Severe physiological stress
- A hot and humid environment
The causes of generalized hyperhidrosis include:
- Hormonal changes due to menopause
- Certain medications like antidepressants, hypoglycemics (insulin), and selective estrogen receptor modulators
- Tumours and cancers
- Infectious disorders, such as tuberculosis
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)
- Diabetes, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Pituitary dysfunction, and gout
- Excessive alcohol consumption
How to manage hyperhidrosis at home?
Although this health condition is not detrimental to one’s health, for many people, it can be uncomfortable, inconvenient and life-altering.
The uncontrollable sweating can cause significant discomfort and psychological trauma.
The excessive sweating symptoms are exacerbated by a psychological response such as negative emotions.
You can incorporate some of these at-home solutions to help reduce sweating.
These tips won’t totally resolve the problem of excessive sweating, but they can help slow down or temporarily block excessive sweating to get you through the day.
Some of the common lifestyle changes that may help manage hyperhidrosis include:
- Avoid wearing clothing that is too tight or too synthetic, such as nylon or lycra. Instead, use soft fabrics like cotton clothes that allow the skin to breathe.
- Shower as soon as you start sweating intensely. Dry yourself off thoroughly, and pay particular attention to the nooks and crannies in your toes and underarms.
- Dress in loose-fitting garments to allow air to circulate and thus reduce sweating.
- Avoid wearing shoes that enclose the feet since they can cause excessive sweating.
- Use socks that wick moisture away from your skin. If necessary, change them at least twice a day.
- Apply over-the-counter foot powder to absorb moisture and keep your feet dry.
- Avoid triggers such as alcohol and spicy foods because they aggravate the activity of overactive sweat glands.
- Instead of deodorants, use strong antiperspirants.
- Use armpit or sweat shields to keep your garments from becoming ruined.
- Avoid using fragrance-containing harsh soaps. To retain the hydration of your skin, use softer soaps containing oils.
- Embrace relaxation techniques or mindfulness techniques such as yoga, meditation to alleviate stress.
Hyperhidrosis is the result of overactive sweat glands, which can occur due to medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, tuberculosis, and malignancies.
It can result in excessive sweating, itching, bad odour, discoloured patches, wrinkles and cracks on the skin.
The condition can be managed by wearing cotton clothes, using medicated antiperspirants, avoiding alcohol consumption, etc. to reduce or stop the release of sweat.
Consult a healthcare practitioner if symptoms of hyperhidrosis impact your daily life and psychological well-being. There are treatments and strategies to manage symptoms and impacts of hyperhidrosis. There is hope. You’re not alone.
Moreover, you should also frequently opt for preventive health screening. It provides you with vital insights into your health, allowing you to take necessary measures to improve it.