Anhidrosis Definition, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment Options

Anhidrosis - inability to sweat

Even our website is intended to provide deep and detailed information about excessive sweating and to help people with hyperhidrosis; we decided to dedicate this article to a directly opposite condition. Except for people who have problem with profuse sweating, there are many others who can’t sweat at all or just a very little. If you are not able to cool your body and organism by sweat, your body tends to be overheated very soon, which can lead to several health difficulties. In this article, we are going to talk more about this problem, causes, and ways on how to stop it.


Anhidrosis Definition

There is no unite anhidrosis definition. According to Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary, it is an abnormal deficiency or absence of sweating. Mayoclinic defines anhidrosis as the inability to sweat normally. This condition is also sometimes called hypohidrosis. While the lack of sweat is not as unpleasant in terms of social impact as hyperhidrosis, the possible risks can be more serious.

Anhidrosis can be a condition itself (idiopathic anhidrosis) or a side effect of some other disease (secondary anhidrosis). While idiopathic anhidrosis has no obvious medical cause, secondary anhidrosis has several possible reasons and can be reduced mainly by treating the core disease.


Anhidrosis Symptoms

If you notice that you don’t sweat at all or very little even while doing some physical activities or in the heat, you probably suffer from anhidrosis. It makes the body unable to respond to thermal stimuli correctly. As a reaction to overheated organism, dizziness, flushing, weakness, or muscle cramps can occur. People with anhidrosis often feel hot. The lack of sweat can affect the entire body (generalized anhidrosis), but it can also happen only in some areas.

Some people also experience compensatory sweating. While some body parts are dry and unable to produce sweat, other parts can sweat profusely. When anhidrosis affects the large part of the body, it can lead to heat exhaustion or even heatstroke, especially during hard physical work, exercising or in hot weather. 


Anhidrosis Causes


Anhidrosis - an inability to sweatEvery man has between 2 and 4 millions of sweat glands all over the body. Normally these glands start to produce sweat after a signal from the brain that the body temperature rises, and the organism needs to be cooled. It means there are two main disorders that can affect anhidrosis. Either these glands don’t get this signal, or even when they get it, they are not able to produce sweat. These are the most common reasons why some people can’t sweat:


Some experts believe that inability to sweat can be genetical. People with idiopathic anhidrosis experience reduced sweating level without any other health complications. For this condition is typically a positive family history when some other family members record the same symptoms. The real medical reason is usually unknown. But there are also rare inherited conditions affecting the metabolic system, such as Fabry’s disease.

Some people can be born with a damaged gene that causes sweat glands malfunction. Another genetic predisposition called hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia causes that people are born without sweat glands or only with a limited amount of them.

Nerve damages

Several nerve dysfunction can cause the incorrect function of sweat glands. These are the most common:

  • Diabetes (The loss of sweating is caused by poor glucose control that affects the nervous system)
  • Trauma in nerves that control sweating
  • Parkinson’s disease 
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Horner syndrome (damage of sympathetic nervous system in the neck)
  • Alcoholism (long-term excessive alcohol consumption can lead to alcoholic neuropathy)
  • Sjogren’s syndrome (A connective tissue diseases that except anhidrosis cause dryness in eyes and mouth)
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome (A disorder related to an acute inflammatory polyradiculoneuropathy that causes diminished reflexes and weakness) 
  • Ross syndrome (Anhidrosis is caused by loss of reflexes and absence of tonic pupil of the eye)
  • Amyloidosis (Condition that occurs when some organs cumulate a protein called amyloid that affects the nervous system)

Skin disorders

Serious skin damaged caused by several burns or skin disorders can dramatically affect the function of sweat glands. While these are destroyed, no sweat can be produced. Skin problems related to anhidrosis are:

  • Radiation
  • Infection
  • Inflammation 
  • Psoriasis
  • Ichthyosis, 
  • Scleroderma 
  • Heat rash 

Lung cancer

This serious disease can affect the loss of ability to sweat in one part of the body and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)  in the second part.

Graft-versus-host disease

This illness can affect the recipients bone marrow when the cells from a donor attack sweat glands. 


Anhidrosis and dehydrationAnhidrosis can happen when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. Dehydration can be caused by working or exercising in hot weather, doing an extreme sport, or by some health difficulties such as diarrhea or vomiting. When your body has not enough water to manage all bodily processes, it can lead to weakness and confusion. In some cases, especially in kids, can be even fatal.


If you stay too long under hard sun, your body can be overheated, and that’s when the heatstroke can happen. It is quite a serious condition because when it stays untreated, it can lead to several complications such as brain damages, heart problems, and even death. Anhidrosis is an accompanying phenomenon of heatstroke. When your organism doesn’t have enough water for all needed bodily processes, it also has no more water for cooling the body by sweat.


Taking some drugs affecting the nervous system can result in the loss of sweat.

  • Morphine
  • Botulinum toxin A
  • Antipsychotics, antidepressant
  • Anticholinergics (benzhexol, biperiden, procyclidine, orphenadrine…)


Anhidrosis Treatment

Treatment of loss of sweat has to be focused on underlying disease or condition that cause anhidrosis. That’s why the first step you should take if you experience symptoms of anhidrosis is talking to a health care professional. People who don’t sweat or sweat less only in some parts of the body usually don’t need any treatment. The symptoms can be mitigated by some natural or home treatment we are going to discuss in the next paragraph.

Those with generalized anhidrosis can ask a doctor for prescription of corticosteroid or prednisolone. Before this, a doctor’s examination and series of tests have to be made.


Home Remedies For Anhidrosis

There are some easy natural cures that can’t cure anhidrosis but are able to suppress the symptoms.

Baking soda can help to increase capillary flow, which improves the ability to sweat. Baking soda can be consumed in the form of tablets (oral supplements) or applied as a powder mixed with water to the affected areas.

Coconut or cucumber juice can keep the body hydrated longer and increase sweat production.

Soybean supplements – Add these tablets to your diet; you can improve blood circulation and correct perspiration.

Astragalus Root, Licorice root and Ginseng. All these natural components can improve and stimulate the sweating process. These are available as diet supplements, or you can consume it as a tea. There are also other herbs that help the nervous system to manage perspiration correctly. Angelica root and white peony root can be beneficial for everybody who experiences a lower level of sweating.



If you belong to the people who don’t sweat or your perspiration level is very low, you should avoid hard work in strong sun, extremely hot weather and any activities that increase your body temperature. In the hot weather, you can use a vaporizer with cold water or cooling towel to keep refresh and cool your skin. You can find other helpful tips in the article Excessive Sweating in Hot Weather – 9 Tips on How to Stop it. 

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