Why Do Some People Sweat Excessively? Causes of Increased Perspiration.

Why do some people sweat profusely

Sometimes you can see a man or woman on the bus, on the square or in a shopping center, who is drenched by sweat even everybody else is dry. Since sweat is a healthy body reaction for increased temperature, for these people, it is a nightmare. Abnormal perspiration is a condition that makes people feeling embarrassing and extremely uncomfortable.  According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, around 5% of the population suffer from abnormal sweating. In this article, we are going to discover why do some people sweat excessively and what are the triggers and symptoms of this health disorder.

Related: How to Control Sweating? 10 Ways on How to Curb Your Sweat.

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Reasons For Excessive Sweating

There are many possible causes of heavy sweating. These are the most common ones:

1. Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a medical term for excessive sweating. Doctors recognize two types of this condition. Primary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that is not caused by some other health difficulties or medicaments. There is no obvious reason for this abnormal body reaction, that’s why many dermatologists believe, the genetics stays behind it. For primary hyperhidrosis is typical topical sweating in certain parts of the body, such as armpits, head, hands, or feet. People who suffer from this condition tend to sweat much earlier and easier. Their sweat glands are more sensitive for the outer or inner condition. It means only a small temperature increase or slight physical activity can make them active.

The second type of profuse perspiration is called secondary hyperhidrosis. It is sweating affected by a certain disease or as a side effect of some medicaments (That’s why secondary – caused by some other condition). Even there are also cases of topical sweating, for this condition is typical sweating all around the body. People with some disease or health condition that triggers sweat usually experience night sweats.

2. Nervousness

Nervousness and sweatingWell, probably most of us had experienced a situation when we didn’t feel 100% when we were nervous and uncertain. Nervousness is a huge trigger of excessive sweating. The typical situations are a speech in front of many people, meeting new people, first date, business meeting, or hearing in court. Our body reacts for these situations by increasing heart rate, bodily temperature, and our bodily processes are accelerated. This, naturally, leads to sweaty shirts and wet head. In the article Nervous Sweating: 8 Tips on How to Stay Calm and Dry, you can find more information about these phenomena as well as ways how to reduce nervous sweating.

3. Hot weather

It is the most apparent trigger of sweat. Normally, we sweat when the body temperature exceeds approx. 37 Celsius degrees (98.6 °Fahrenheit). This is the ideal bodily temperature that our organism need for proper functioning. When this border is overcome, the organism needs to cool down. Our brain sends a signal to sweat glands and orders them to sweat. Since we have between 3-5 million sweat glands all over the body, the entire surface is cooled by sweat.

During summer, and whenever it is hot outside, we just react to this condition. The higher temperature is outside the larger amount of sweat we produce. Many people start to sweat very easy and more than others in hot weather. They probably have hyperhidrosis – a condition we were talking about above.

4. Physical activity

Excessive sweating while runningIt is completely normal and healthy when we sweat much more while running, exercising, or doing some sport. Physical activity increases the body temperature that provokes sweat glands to produce sweat. In terms of sweating while psychical activity, many people believe that they can lose calories by sweating. Others believe that they excrete harmful substances with sweat. Well, both of these suppositions are wrong. In the article Does Sweating Burn Calories? Myth or Reality? We explain the connection between calories and sweat. We all know that regular exercising is beneficial for the organism.  

When somebody experiences extreme sweating while doing a sport, he/she probably sweat more also while doing common activities. In that case, we recommend visiting a doctor who can confirm or disprove some possible disease-causing abnormal perspiration. Another option is to try some available treatment for excessive sweating. On this web, you can find articles divided according to the part of the body affected by sweat, or you can check the section “treatment” where you will find medical and natural ways how to stop profuse sweating.

5. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a disorder related to the thyroid gland. This gland is located in front of the neck and produces a hormone responsible for controlling metabolism, weight, temperature, heart rate, and nervous system. When the gland is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormones, it leads to several health difficulties.  Excessive sweating is one of them. People with hyperthyroidism experience sudden and uncontrolled perspiration. Fortunately, there are many options on how to treat overactive thyroid gland, for example, antithyroid medications, or radioactive iodine therapy.

6. Obesity

You have probably seen oversize people who sweat a lot. Overweight people often complain about heavy sweating to their doctor. Practically there are two reasons why these people are more sweaty. First, due to their bigger bodies, they have also more skin and more sweat glands. After their activation, these glands produce more sweat. The second reason why oversize people sweat more is that the condition affects other function and body processes. The patient who suffers from obesity runs out very soon, even while doing physically unpretentious activities, such as walking up/down the stair or cooking. In this case, excessive sweating is a side effect of obesity, and if somebody with this diagnosis wants to sweat less, he/she should try to work on removing the right cause.  

7. Pregnancy and menopause

Pregnancy and excessive sweatingMany pregnant women, such as menopausal women, experience profuse sweating. Night sweats and hot flashes are typical symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. Hormonal changes happening in the woman’s body can affect several body reactions. Hormones are also responsible for increased perspiration level in pregnant women. This sweating usually ends after the childbirth. 

8. Diabetes

Hypoglycemia can also affect excessive sweating. Diabetes affects many people with other health disorder called diabetic neuropathy. It is a condition when our nerves don’t work properly. In relation to the perspiration, damaged nerves send wrong information to sweat glands, and these react by producing sweat. You can find more about this problem in the article How Does Diabetes Cause Sweating?

9. Psychiatric diseases

Anxiety and depression are other examples of secondary hyperhidrosis when some underlying condition causes excessive sweating. Psychic problems can often lead to night sweats but also excessive sweating during a day. There is also the other side of the coin. Excessive sweating and strong hyperhidrosis can cause depression and mental discomfort that can lead even to social isolation. Several types of research took place to confirm this claim. Hyperhidrosis makes people feeling embarrassing, nervous, and uncomfortable what can be a real problem in professional and personal life.

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Excessive Sweating Treatment

As you can see above, there are many possible causes of why somebody sweat more than others. Except for these health conditions, other factors are affecting how do we sweat, such as age, gender, or origin. Whatever cause your heavy sweating, some treatment can bring you relief and make you feel more clean and comfortable. We are not going to talk about particular treatments options, because you can find them in other articles on our page (in the section treatment).

Choosing the appropriate treatment depends on sever factors, such as affected area, the seriousness of sweating, and other symptoms. Sometimes it is not easy to define your condition, and that’s why we have designed SweatChecker. It is a quiz that helps you to recognize the symptoms and navigate you on how to choose a proper excessive sweating treatment. Try SweatChecker now.

4 Comments on “Why Do Some People Sweat Excessively? Causes of Increased Perspiration.”

  1. I also sweat excessively but with my health check-up, I’m not suffering from any illness except for occasional nervousness that’s related to overconsumption of coffee. Since I’m a blogger, I drink 4 to 5 cups of coffee a day. It helps me in staying awake and smart. 

    I’d like to ask, is excessive sweating in palm related to my overall body sweating? I feel ashamed whenever I shake hands with a guest or a new acquaintance. My palm is always wet and sweaty.

    1. Thanks, Homer, for your comment. When your palms are often sweaty, you might have palmar hyperhidrosis – an excessive sweating that affects hands. In this case, we recommend to use an antiperspirant in the form of lotion. Some of them you will find in the article Why are my hands always sweaty? Palmar hyperhidrosis and how to stop it. Iontophoresis is another ideal option for sweaty hands. Here you will find more information about this treatment and available iontophoresis machines. We wish you the best!

  2. It’s true, it is so embarrassing when you sweat too much in front of people. It’s not a nice feeling.

    I sweat a lot when I’m nervous, especially during school examination and giving speeches.  My sweat just flow down my forehead and my face feel hot…. not nice at all.

    I will try the sweat checker to understand my problem better.

    Thank you.

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