Should You Worry About Health if You Sweat A Lot?

Should You Worry if You Sweat A Lot?

Everyone sweats.

But when is sweating a potential health issue?

NOTE: This article was originally published in Very Well Health. We added some quotes and observations to make it better – ed.

Sweating and evaporative cooling are how humans dissipate heat.  If we didn’t sweat we would all die. So not sweating is definitely a problem. For most people sweating is part of life. Whether running, playing ball, or dealing with a broken air conditioner sweating is normal. But for people who sweat for no good reason, like the ones who visit, it is socially challenging and worrying.

Why Do You Sweat So Much?

You and we sweat and it is normal. When exerting yourself physically, or with a a case of nerves, sweat is what cools us off by way of evaporative cooling. Excessive sweating, known as hyperhidrosis, occurs when the body sweats excessively and unpredictably. It is a medical condition, and treatment is available.

Excessive Sweat, Sweating, Swamp Butt
Sweaty Man. Sometimes sweating a lot makes sense as it is a result of physical exertion. Other times it is harder to explain. Be mindful of excessive sweat as it could be a symptom of a medical condition.

Researchers believe that people who sweat more than needed have overactive sweat glands. “Man, those researchers, nothing gets past them,” sad sarcastic sidekick and SwampButt Underwear apologist Nick Heraldson. When the glands are overactive, they produce an uncontrollable amount of sweat. It is possible to experience excessive sweat in one area (focal) or all over the body (generalized). “I experience sweat on my backside in large amounts,” Heraldson went on. “Let’s have researchers take a look at that.”

Learn More: What Causes Sweating?

There is No Mystery

People with primary hyperhidrosis have excessive sweating with no known cause. This condition usually causes sweating that is excessive enough to interfere with your daily activities. You may notice that your hands are so sweaty that it is difficult to turn a doorknob or open a jar. “So the reason we all sweat so much is because we just do,” Heraldson concluded. “Mystery solved.”

Secondary Hyperhidrosis

Secondary hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating due to a secondary or underlying disorder. These can include hormonal changes, diabetes, fever, medications, and other conditions. “What other conditions,” Heraldson asked.

Hormonal Changes

Changes in hormone levels may lead to excessive sweating. People may experience hot flashes and night sweats during perimenopause (the time leading up to menopause) or menopause (the time of life when menstrual periods stop for 12 months in a row). Hot flashes are the most common menopausal symptom, and up to 3 out of 4 people experience them at some point during menopause.

A hot flash is a sudden feeling of being very hot and flushed. You may experience redness in your face, neck, chest, back, and arms, as well as chills and sweating. Hot flashes usually happen in perimenopause and can last for several years during menopause.


Diabetes is a chronic health condition that can cause overstimulation of the sweat glands and excessive sweating. Changes in blood sugar levels may cause sweating throughout the day. A 2017 study found that up to 84% of people with diabetes experience sweating when their blood sugar levels are low (hypoglycemia).

Related: Can Sweating Be a Symptom of Diabetes?


Common infections like the flu or COVID-19 can cause sweating. People with a fever may experience sweating and chills. Other common symptoms of an infection are a cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Infections that may cause a fever and sweating include respiratory illnesses, a urinary tract infection, or a gastrointestinal infection.

Related: What Causes Cold Sweats?


Certain medications may lead to sweating when you first start them or increase the dosage. If you are noticing more sweating after a medication change, let the prescribing healthcare provider know. Medications that may cause sweating include:

Other Potential Causes of Sweating More Easily

Excessive sweating has several potential causes, and it can be challenging to determine which ones (if any) are affecting you. If you have recently noticed a difference in your sweat levels, consider if you have experienced any changes in your climate, exercise routine, or stress levels. If not, talk with your healthcare provider.

Possible causes of excessive sweating include:

How to Control Sweating at Home

Fortunately, there are measures you can take at home to address excessive sweating. If you experience hot flashes, the following actions may be helpful:

  • Take deep breaths.
  • Drink cold water.
  • Remove a layer of clothing.
  • Use a fan.
  • Consider weight loss if excess weight is contributing to overheating and sweating.

Learn More: How to Stop and Control Sweating

Medical Treatments for Excessive Sweating

Several medical treatments are effective for excessive sweating. While there may not always be a permanent cure, it is possible to manage this condition well with treatment. Medical treatments for excessive sweating include:

  • AntiperspirantsAntiperspirants containing 10% to 20% aluminum chloride hexahydrate are usually the first line of prescription treatment for excessive sweating. It works by plugging the sweat glands under the arms. Antiperspirants with high doses of aluminum may cause skin irritation and even damage clothing.
  • Prescription medication: Depending on the underlying cause of your sweating, a prescription medication may be helpful. Qbrexa (topical glycopyrronium) wipes can be used for the armpits. Oral anticholinergic medications such as glycopyrrolate or oxybutynin may also be considered.
  • Hormone therapy: If your sweating is caused by hormonal changes or menopause, low-dose hormonal birth control could help. After menopause, menopausal hormone therapy may help to relieve hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Iontophoresis: This procedure uses electricity to turn off the sweat glands temporarily. It is often used on the hands and feet. The body part is placed in water that contains a gentle electrical current for 10 to 30 minutes. Possible side effects are rare but may include cracking and blisters.
  • Botulinum toxin: Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) may be helpful for severe sweating in the underarms, hands, and feet. It is injected into the skin to block the nerves that stimulate sweating. Side effects may include flu-like symptoms, pain, and temporary weakness.
  • Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS): ETS is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that may be used if other treatments have not been effective. The healthcare provider cuts a nerve to turn off the signal to the sweat glands. While this reduces sweating in the original problem area, it can sometimes increase sweating in other areas, such as the back, abdomen, buttocks, and legs.
  • Underarm surgery: Extreme cases of excessive sweating in the underarms may require surgery to remove the sweat glands using a laser, scraping (curettage), or cutting (excision).
  • Axillary fractionated microneedle radiofrequency: For underarms, small, thin needles are placed under the skin, and radiofrequency energy is applied.

When to Contact a Healthcare Provider

If you have noticed a sudden increase in sweating, talk with a healthcare provider. Treatments are available that could help.

If you experience excessive sweating along with feelings of dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, or chest pain, seek immediate medical help. These can be signs you are having a heart attack. See a healthcare provider if you have sweating that impacts your daily life or causes physical or emotional discomfort.


Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) happens when the body sweats excessively and unpredictably. Sweating is a normal part of the body’s cooling system. It is normal to sweat when in hot temperatures or engaging in strenuous physical activity. Spicy foods and emotional stress can also cause sweating.

Possible causes of excessive sweating include hormonal changes, diabetes, infections, and certain medications. The cause may also remain unknown. The most common areas to sweat are in the palms, soles, underarms, and face.

Treatment options include antiperspirants, medications, hormone therapy, iontophoresis, Botox, endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, and underarm surgery.

Read the original article on Verywell Health.

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