- 8 Signs of Excessive Underarm Sweat
- Sweaty Armpits
- What is hyperhidrosis?
- Not sure if your level of armpit sweat would quality as hyperhidrosis? Here’s how to tell.
- Hyperhidrosis treatment depends on whether you’re dealing with the primary or secondary type.
- Why Do People Sweat When Nervous? 6 Ways to Stop It
- What Can I Do About Sweating?
- 9 Ways to Prevent Sweaty Armpits
- Sweating When Cold? Use These Tips to Stay Dry This Winter
- Why You’re Sweating When Cold
- Does Sweating in Cold Weather Make You Sick?
- How to Stop Sweating in the Winter & Cold Weather
- Control Your Sweat in the Winter With Thompson Tee
- How is hyperhidrosis treated?
- Why Do I Sweat When I’m Cold? Experts Reveal Some Of The Most Common Culprits
- Hyperhidrosis happens when your sweat gland nerves become overactive, Dr. Weiler tells Elite Daily, and as a result, your body basically produces sweat when it’s not needed.
- If it’s not hyperhidrosis, though, you might be sweating a lot because of an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism.
- According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., excessive sweating can simply be a circumstantial issue.
- Hyperhidrosis: Diagnosis and treatment
- How do dermatologists diagnose hyperhidrosis?
- How do dermatologists treat hyperhidrosis?
- Inflamed/Infected Sweat Glands (Hidradenitits)
- What is hidradenitis?
- Who gets hidradenitis?
- Hidradenitis Symptoms
- Hidradenitis Diagnosis
- Hidradenitis Treatment
8 Signs of Excessive Underarm Sweat
Do you find yourself wondering why you sweat so much? Relax. Everyone sweats.
“Sweating is a normal response to heat or anxiety,” says Hunter Q. Kirkland, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons in Austin, Texas. But while sweating is the body’s way of cooling off, some people sweat excessively — sweaty armpits, sweaty necks, and sweaty, smelly feet — and for no apparent reason, making them feel as though they’re living in a sauna 24/7. This may be due to a diagnosable medical condition called hyperhidrosis, which affects almost 3 percent of the population, or about 8 million Americans.
Normally, we sweat to cool our body and control our body’s temperature. But too much sweat can cause stained shirts and body odors, affecting social relationships and even self-esteem.
According to the Mayo Clinic, hyperhidrosis (high-purr-high-DROE-sis) is abnormally excessive sweating that’s not necessarily related to heat or exercise. People with hyperhidrosis sweat so much that it soaks through their T-shirts or drips off their hands. Besides interrupting a normal life, hyperhidrosis can result in major embarrassment and social anxiety.
The most common type of hyperhidrosis is primary focal or essential hyperhidrosis, in which the nerves that trigger your sweat glands become overactive. Even if you aren’t running or hot, your feet, hands, or face will sweat.
A more serious type of abnormal sweating is called secondary hyperhidrosis, which signals a dysfunction of the central or peripheral nervous system. This type of excessive sweating is generally the result of a medical condition including:
- Heart attack
- Low blood sugar
- Menopausal hot flashes
- Nervous system disorders
- Some types of cancer
- Thyroid problems
Though excessive underarm sweat isn’t serious or life-threatening, it can be embarrassing and make you uncomfortable and anxious. There are medical treatments for hyperhidrosis, but you’ll need to make an appointment with your primary care physician. Common treatments for excessive sweat include:
- Anticholinergics or drugs that block the body’s sweat trigger
- Botox injections to block the nerve signals that trigger sweat
- Prescription antiperspirants
- Surgery (usually endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy )
One study published in the American Academy of Dermatology found that primary hyperhidrosis increases the risk of bacterial and fungal infections on the skin. So, if your excessive sweating seems too much, see a doctor to get back in control and avoid possible infections.
Here’s how to tell whether you are exhibiting signs of hyperhidrosis or if your sweating falls into a normal range.
Underarm excessive sweating, also called axillary hyperhidrosis, is an uncontrollable, annoying, embarrassing, and isolating problem (to say the least). From the discomfort of sweat running down your sides, to the embarrassment of obvious sweat stains, to the fear of being “discovered,” uncontrollable underarm sweating can feel like it’s ruining your life.
But, there is good news:
Safe treatments for excessive sweating are available, the treatments work, and you have a number of options to choose from–or combine.
The first line-of-defense against excessive underarm sweating are antiperspirants. Antiperspirants are non-invasive, topical (applied on top of your skin), and available in a number of different strengths including “regular” over-the-counter products, “clinical strength” over-the-counter products, and perhaps even prescription antiperspirants. Most physicians recommend that you start with the mildest formulations (“regular” over-the-counter products), and if they don’t give enough symptom relief, work your way up to the stronger clinical strength formulations and then, perhaps prescription antiperspirants. The recent advent of clinical strength antiperspirants have been shown to provide the same level of sweat management as prescription products, but with much less irritation. We are glad to see these new, and greatly improved, formulations on the drugstore shelves and easily available to everyone.
How you use antiperspirants is also incredibly important. Check out our information available about this, but the most important take-aways are: 1. apply antiperspirants before bed and 2. apply to totally dry skin to avoid irritation.
A wonderful addition to the wardrobe of anyone with underarm sweating (excessive or not!) are absorbent undershirts, absorbent tee shirts, absorbent dress shirts, and absorbent underarm pads. You can nab a sweet coupon for them in our Fan Faves page — note that our Fan Faves page is also a great place to learn about different antiperspirants available from companies who support our work and who understand Hh.
Another treatment option, miraDry, is a different approach to eliminating axillary hyperhidrosis (underarm excessive sweating) and was cleared by the US FDA in January 2011. Clinical data from two study sites affiliated with the University of British Columbia showed miraDry successful in reducing underarm sweat in over 90% of patients through the final study visit that was 12 months after treatment. The average sweat reduction was 82%. And, patients rated their satisfaction with the treatment at 90%. miraDry has been developed by Miramar Labs of Sunnyvale, California. While miraDry is promising for those who suffer with underarm sweating, it cannot be used to treat excessive sweating in any other area–yet. Read the research findings, and understand the procedure for miraDry here.
If antiperspirants don’t give you the relief you need and miraDry is not in your budget, your next option may be Botox (also known as onabotulinumtoxinA). An experienced medical professional can inject Botox into your underarms to dramatically reduce sweating. In one clinical study involving 322 patients with severe underarm sweating, 81% of the patients receiving injections achieved more than 50% reduction in sweating. And, 50% of the patients had their excessive sweating relieved for at least 201 days (nearly 7 months). Some, for over a year.
The use of miraDry and Botox for the treatment of hyperhidrosis is most effective when performed by a physician who has received special training and who has experience with the procedure. To find a physician in your area who is familiar with hyperhidrosis treatments, use our Physician Finder and search for those who have the notation ‘IHHS-Educated’.
As of June 2018, there is a new treatment option for hyperhidrosis of the underarms from Dermira Inc. Qbrexza (pronounced kew brex’ zah) is scheduled to become available in October 2018. It comes in individually packaged cloths or wipes that can be used at home once per day to reduce underarm sweating. One wipe is intended to be used for two underarms. The treatment works by blocking receptors responsible for sweat gland activation. The active ingredient in Qbrexza is glycopyrronium tosylate, an anticholinergic formulation. In research studies of Qbrexza, the most common side effects were:
- Dry mouth (in 16.9-24.2% of patients)
- Erythema/area redness (in 17% of patients)
- Burning/stinging (in 14.1% of patients)
Qbrexza was shown in clinical trials to improve sweating symptoms as soon as 1 week after starting the regimen. Studies also found that patients using Qbrexza wipes once daily for four weeks improved their “sweating severity” by nearly 25% to 30% (compared with 4% to 5% with placebo) and that measured sweat volume was reduced by 50% or more (in most patients.) The wipes were well-tolerated, and any reported side effects were primarily mild to moderate (see above). Qbrexza is FDA-approved for patients who are 9 years or older. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether Qbrexza might be a good choice for you, or not.
SURGERY or PROCEDURES
While many people find that antiperspirants, Botox injections, miraDry or a combination of these hyperhidrosis treatments (or these treatments combined with an oral medication) are enough to manage even the most severe case of excessive sweating in the underarms, there are those who seek a surgical approach to treat their axillary hyperhidrosis. Underarm surgery techniques include: excision, curettage, liposuction, and laser. During excision, sweat glands may be cut out. Similarly, during curettage, they may be scraped out. During liposuction, they may be removed by suction. Using lasers, tissue containing sweat glands is liquefied. Combinations of curettage and central excision, or of curettage and liposuction may be used, as well as combinations of liposuction and laser treatments. Dermatologists often have good results with these techniques. Each of these procedures can be done under local anesthesia (meaning that the patient is not completely “out”), and in an office setting (as opposed to in a hospital setting). To learn more about these
Please note that, in most cases, we do not recommend endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) for excessive underarm sweating. While ETS is perhaps the most commonly discussed (as well as criticized) surgery for hyperhidrosis, there are other, far less risky, and far more predictable, options for people who suffer from excessive sweating of the underarms.
We hope that you’ll find the information on this site helpful as you search for the best way to manage your underarm sweating problem. For updates about new research, the latest treatments, free treatment clinics, and daily management tips, be sure to sign-up to receive our free News Blog. We also have an extensive library of hyperhidrosis articles from peer-reviewed medical journals, so you can see where we get our facts and can share reliable medical data with your healthcare provider.
You probably know the feeling of sweat trickling down from your armpits on a super hot day, or when you’re all jittery before a big meeting or presentation. And that’s normal! But for some, a hot day (or any day for that matter) doesn’t produce just a small amount of sweat—it creates a torrential downpour in the pit area.
A quick health lesson: Sweating is your body’s way of keeping your temperature in check and keeping you cool. When you’re getting overheated—say, because you’ve been exercising or because it’s a warm day—your body sweats and then the sweat evaporates off of your skin, which helps to regulate your overall body temperature, says Allison Arthur, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Orlando, Florida.
Everybody sweats different amounts, too. Some people may sweat less than a liter a day, as WH reported previously, while others may sweat several liters. This all depends on your body, your genetics, the climate you live in, and your physical activity levels. So if you notice you feel prettttyyyy damp under your armpits and your coworker seems totally comfortable temperature-wise beside you, don’t assume you have a problem—everybody sweats differently and more or less in different parts of the body.
But if you feel like your armpits are *much* wetter than they should be (and not just when it’s a scorcher out there or you’re standing body to body on public transportation) and it’s interfering with your life, you could be dealing with what’s known as hyperhidrosis.
What is hyperhidrosis?
An estimated 3 percent of people in the U.S. deal with excessive sweating, which is known as hyperhidrosis, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Someone who has hyperhidrosis sweats more than is physically necessary for the body and even when they don’t need a cool-down, the AAD explains. It’s not totally clear what causes hyperhidrosis in every case, but it could be genetic for some people, or related to another underlying health issue.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis—primary and secondary:
- Primary hyperhidrosis: This means that there’s no underlying cause to your sweat, according to the AAD. People who have primary hyperhidrosis typically start to notice excessive sweat as a child or a teenager.
- Secondary hyperhidrosis: This is when your sweating is related to some other underlying health issue—it’s not just a thing your body does. For example, you’re taking a medication that triggered excessive sweating, you have diabetes, you’re going through menopause, or you have an overactive thyroid.
Most of the time, hyperhidrosis only happens in one or two areas of the body, according to the AAD. So, you might see a lot of sweat under your armpits and on your forehead, but nowhere else.
While it sounds pretty uncomfortable, excessive sweating likely isn’t a serious risk to your health. That being said, it can be a pain and a little embarrassing. Going on first dates or job interviews could lead to some pretty embarrassing situations. Maybe you’d stop scheduling dates altogether or, at least, you’d spend a ton of time thinking up a sweat strategy before you go out, and then worry about your sweat the whole night. That sounds pretty miserable, right?
Hopefully, that kind of debilitating sweating would lead you to a doctor’s office. But it often doesn’t, the AAD notes. Lots of people with excessive sweating likely never reach out to a doctor for help, either because they’re too embarrassed to talk about their sweat problem or because they assume it’s a burden they have to bear.
But that’s a mistake, because a doctor could help you figure out how to stop the sweat—and whether your sweat is excessive in the first place.
Not sure if your level of armpit sweat would quality as hyperhidrosis? Here’s how to tell.
“Normal” is hard to quantify, Dr. Arthur notes. Sweat is one of those things that can easily freak us out, so it’s possible that you *think* you sweat way too much, but you actually have a totally normal amount of sweat.
So imagine this scenario: It’s a nice day—80 degrees, sunny—and you’re sitting in the park with friends. You’re not playing frisbee or running around or exerting yourself in any way. You’re just sitting. It’d be normal to sweat a little bit, sure, but you shouldn’t feel sweat dripping from your armpits, down your back, or anywhere else. “If sweat is dripping down the sides of , or frequently soaking through your shirts at rest, that would be considered excessive sweating,” Dr. Arthur explains.
So if a day like that does make you drip sweat, you might have hyperhidrosis. Even if you’re *still* not sure, it’s worth making an appointment with a dermatologist. The first thing your dermatologist will do is determine if you have primary hyperhidrosis or secondary hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis treatment depends on whether you’re dealing with the primary or secondary type.
Your doctor will ask about your sweating history to try to determine which category you fall under. And, if it’s secondary hyperhidrosis, addressing the root cause (i.e. diagnosing and treating a thyroid issue or getting through menopause) should help dial down the amount you sweat.
If your hyperhidrosis is primary, then your dermatologist might first suggest that you try an antiperspirant like Certain Dri. Antiperspirant is different from deodorant because of its active ingredient, aluminum chloride, which plugs the sweat glands when you sweat and signals to your body to stop sweating, says Chris Adigun, MD, a dermatologist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Antiperspirants are also great for people who don’t have a hyperhidrosis diagnosis but still want to quell armpit sweatiness, and you can buy antiperspirant products at the drugstore. But just FYI, if you have sensitive skin, a product like Certain Dri could cause a rash or irritate your underarms due to its active ingredients, Dr. Arthur says—so patch-test it first.
Certain Dri Antiperspirant Deodorant amazon.com $8.29
If antiperspirants don’t work, there are also prescription medications (such as special wipes and pills) that could help reduce excessive sweating, Dr. Arthur says. And, finally, you can consider in-office procedures like Botox injections, iontophoresis, or Miradry.
Most people know of Botox for its power to smooth fine lines and wrinkles. But the injection has also proven to be helpful for a number of medical conditions, including excessive underarm sweat. Getting Botox shot into your underarms suppresses your sweat glands so they no longer create as much sweat. “We can identify areas of excessive sweating with a starch iodine test,” Dr. Adigun says. For this test, iodine is wiped on the skin and then a layer of cornstarch is spread over top. Purple dots will mark where your sweat glands are, allowing dermatologists to target those spots for treatments.
With Botox, for example, those purple dots are where your doc will stick the needle (don’t worry, they numb the area first). Botox is safe and long-lasting, Dr. Arthur notes. Typically, you’ll need to have Botox injections done twice a year. Of course, in-office procedures like this do tend to get expensive, which means they’re typically a last resort.
The other two treatments, iontophoresis and Miradry, are also FDA-approved and safe. These use electrical currents and thermal energy, respectively, to either seriously damage or completely kill the sweat glands causing your excessive sweat. Iontophoresis is most often used for the hands and feet, but Miradry is great for your underarms. “MiraDry targets the underarm sweat glands that produce sweat and odor,” Dr. Adigun says.
Miradry works like this: First, your armpits are marked with a temporary tattoo that indicates where your sweat glands live under the skin. Then, a technician uses a big, hand-held device that sends thermal energy underneath your skin while simultaneously cooling the top layer (so it’s not too uncomfortable for you). The heat kills the sweat glands so they’ll never again create any sweat.
You’re probably thinking, but isn’t sweat important? Yes, it is. But you don’t need to sweat everywhere. These types of long-term or permanent treatments target specific sweat glands in the armpits, head, hands, or feet, but they don’t stop your sweating overall. So even if you choose to destroy the sweat glands in your armpits, you’ll still sweat from your forehead, back, and other body parts, giving you that much-needed cooling effect.
The bottom line: If sweat—in the armpits or anywhere else—is derailing your life, speak up. Your primary-care physician can refer you to a dermatologist, who can help determine whether or not you’re dealing with hyperhidrosis and craft a plan of attack to get rid of your underarm sweat.
Why Do People Sweat When Nervous? 6 Ways to Stop It
When sweat starts to pour from your pores, it’s usually trying to cool you down. But have you ever experienced a time when you sweat and it wasn’t hot out or you weren’t working out? For instance, you might just be waiting to go to a meeting and feeling a little nervous. Nervous sweat, it turns out, is a little different from the other kinds. Here’s why it can come without warning, why it smells bad and what you can do about it.
Sweat to cool the body
That salty fluid called sweat is your body’s response to rising temperatures. You can get hot when the temperature rises or from burning calories during exercise.
When the “thermostat” in your brain thinks your body’s getting too hot, it sends a message to one set of sweat glands called the eccrine glands. These glands are spread all over your body and release sweat that is about 90% water. Sweating usually starts slowly and builds.
Sweat connected to emotions
Stress sweat comes from nervous excitement. It usually hits you all at once. When something excites or scares you, your body releases stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). They set your heart to pounding. And when they tell those eccrine glands to get busy, they also alert other glands: the apocrine glands.
Located in your armpits and crotch, the apocrine glands react instantly. Before long, you may feel drenched. This is because the sweat in these glands is only 80% water and 20% fat and protein.
Why the smell?
The bad smell comes from bacteria that feed on and reproduce in the fat, moisture and protein. Scientists are trying to determine why the body wants to send that strong smell signal when people are scared, stressed or sexually aroused.
They don’t really know the answer. Researchers found that people who get a whiff of sweaty excitement also become more alert. Maybe it tells them to stay away. In the case of sex, maybe it delivers the pheromones that say you’re ready.
Nervous sweat might have meant something in the evolutionary jungle. But in the meeting, smelling bad and having wet armpits is no advantage.
What can you do about it?
Nervous sweating now and then is just a fact of life for everyone. So if possible, don’t sweat it. Accept sweat with humor. When you know you’re going into battle—er, that meeting—here are some tips for preparing:
- Wear layers and absorbent natural fiber clothing.
- Try stronger antiperspirants.
- Use disposable underarm clothing shields to absorb sweat.
- Lose weight if you’re overweight to reduce sweating.
- Get lots of exercise to reduce stress.
- Practice meditation or deep breathing before you go into a stressful situation to calm your mind and body.
If you need more help for nervous sweating, check with your health care provider. You may have a medical problem or anxiety that needs treatment. Some of the tools doctors can offer include:
- Prescription antiperspirants.
- Anxiety medications.
- Stress reduction counseling.
- Botox injections under the arms (can reduce sweating for up to six months).
- Surgery to remove the sweat glands (a last resort for most people).
So the next time your apocrine glands break out in a sweat, don’t sweat it. Just remind yourself that you live an exciting life.
What Can I Do About Sweating?
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I’m 14 and I sweat constantly. I never had a sweating problem before. Is there anything I can do?
Though it can be embarrassing, sweating — even lots of sweating — is usually normal. One of the many physical changes of puberty is that the body’s 2 to 4 million sweat glands become much more active. This is true not only when you exercise or get hot, but also when you’re feeling some emotions, like anger or nervousness. Some of the glands, such as those in the armpits, also start to make a strange new odor.
Your best bet is to take a bath or shower every day and after exercising or getting hot. Try to find a deodorant or a deodorant-antiperspirant combination that works well for you. Look for one containing 10% to 20% aluminum chloride hexahydrate. It can help to wear clothes made of natural fibers, like cotton. Dressing in layers helps too. That way, if you start to feel hot, you can cool down easily and hopefully avoid sweating.
In rare cases there are medical reasons for lots of sweating. If you notice that you are sweating when resting, when you are sleeping, or if your hands or feet sweat a lot, tell your doctor. In fact, it can help to speak with your doctor anyway; there may be something he or she can do.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Reviewed by: Julia Brown Lancaster, MSN, WHNP-BC Date reviewed: November 2015
9 Ways to Prevent Sweaty Armpits
There are several natural and over-the-counter remedies that can reduce or eliminate excess underarm sweating. Some of these include:
1. Use topical antiperspirants
Tired of the sweat stains on your shirt? Try ditching your standard deodorant and switching to antiperspirant. Deodorant might kill the odor under your arms, but it’s not designed to stop you from sweating completely.
Antiperspirants both kill odor-causing bacteria and actively block your sweat glands from producing underarm sweat. This could help alleviate your discomfort.
For some people, however, over-the-counter antiperspirants don’t quite do the trick. If you find that regular antiperspirants don’t work for you, search for stronger antiperspirants with a higher amount of aluminum chloride, the active ingredient (at least 13 percent). And if that doesn’t work, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for stronger antiperspirant.
It’s also important to make sure you’re applying your antiperspirant correctly so that it can do its job as intended. This means you should:
- Only apply antiperspirant to dry, clean skin (don’t apply it to already-sweaty armpits or armpits that are still damp from showering).
- Use your antiperspirant at night, after you bathe, when your body is coolest; this allows the active ingredient to take its full effect.
- Shave under your arms, as hair can block antiperspirant from doing its job. (However, be sure not to shave immediately before applying it, as antiperspirant can irritate your freshly shaved skin.)
- Give it time to work; it could take up to four days for you to experience the antiperspirant’s full effect.
2. Wait between showering and dressing
After you shower, wait a few minutes before you get dressed for the day. This is especially important if you take hot showers or live in a hot, humid climate. Allowing your body to become cool and dry before you put on clothes could help prevent your underarms from sweating right after you bathe.
3. Shave your armpits
Shaving your underarms could reduce excessive sweating. Hair holds moisture, and underarm hair is no exception. If you’re already experiencing heavy sweating under your arms, shaving is essential. And if you’re constantly fighting body odor alongside the sweat, shaving could also help reduce or eliminate it.
4. Avoid sweat-inducing foods
Did you know that your diet can impact how much you sweat? And some foods can cause your body to produce more sweat than others. If you feel like you’re sweating too much, reducing or eliminating sweat-inducing foods in your diet could help.
Foods with a low fiber content force your digestive system to work overtime to break down your foods. A high-sodium diet means your body will be detoxing all that salt in the form of excess urine and sweat. And eating foods that are high in fat causes your insides to warm as your body processes the fat.
Some other foods and beverages that could trigger sweaty armpits include:
- processed foods
- liquor and beer
- garlic and onions
- foods that have a high fat content
- hot, spicy dishes
- ice cream
5. Eat more foods that reduce sweat
Some foods can actually reduce the amount of sweat your body produces and calm overactive sweat glands in the process. When looking to reduce sweat through your diet, it’s important to focus on foods that won’t tax your digestive system. You’ll also want to seek out foods that don’t overstimulate your nervous system and calm it instead.
Some sweat-reducing foods you might want to incorporate include:
- foods with a high calcium content (like dairy products and cheese)
- vegetables and fruits with high water content (e.g., watermelon, grapes, cantaloupe, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, bell pepper, eggplant, red cabbage)
- olive oil
- green tea
- sweet potatoes
6. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water and eating foods with a high water content can keep your body cool and prevent excessive underarm sweating.
7. Wear breathable, loose-fitting clothing
Wearing tight clothes — especially clothes that are snug beneath your arms — can cause underarm stains on your shirt. They can also make you sweat more. Instead, try wearing fabrics that are breathable and clothes that fit more loosely. This will allow your underarms to cool properly and could help prevent them from sweating and staining your clothes.
8. Skip the caffeine
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and increases sweating. It also causes your blood pressure to rise, raises your heart rate, and kicks your sweat glands into high gear.
And if you’re a fan of coffee or other hot drinks that contain caffeine, you could be in for an extra-sweaty day since hot drinks raise your body temperature and induce sweating. Try decreasing or eliminating caffeine altogether.
9. Stop smoking
The nicotine you take in when you smoke — much like caffeine — raises your body temperature, makes your heart beat faster, and causes your sweat glands to work overtime. Smoking is associated with a host of other hygiene- and health-related concerns like bad breath, stained teeth, and cancer. So, if you’re ready to reduce the excess sweat and improve your overall health, quitting smoking might be the answer for you.
Sweating When Cold? Use These Tips to Stay Dry This Winter
Why do you sweat when you’re cold? Sweating in the summer is normal and expected. But wintertime? Coming to work with sweat marks in the dead of winter draws unwanted attention from co-workers and clients. Here’s why you’re sweating when cold and ways to cope.
Why You’re Sweating When Cold
Sweating in cold weather seems ironic. Yet overheating in winter is a common and serious issue (especially for those who sweat heavily).
To brave the blistering cold, you layer up. Rushing to work in cold weather — under your dress shirt, suit jacket and coat — leaves you sweating. And once inside a heated office environment, you’re nearly suffocating. If your office environment is too warm, wearing heavy clothing in winter makes you sweat even more.
Aside from the temperature, there may be a few other reasons as to why you’re sweating while cold:
1. Axillary Hyperhidrosis
Do you experience sweaty armpits when cold? You could have the sweating condition axillary hyperhidrosis. Known as excessive underarm sweating, people with this condition sweat heavily in their armpits without warning.
Nearly 5% of the U.S. population suffers from hyperhidrosis, and millions more live undiagnosed. So, feeling cold and sweating at the same time may be more common than you think.
Not sure if you have hyperhidrosis? Here’s how to seek medical advice for sweating.
2. Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can also contribute to cold sweats. Stress sweating and nervous sweating occurs as a natural response to nerve-wracking, exciting or tense situations (unrelated to the temperature or any medical condition).
A lack of exercise can add to the likelihood of both stress and cold sweats. Light exercise and relaxation techniques can help reduce stress sweat and cold sweat. If you’re especially prone to stress sweat, read on for tips on reducing anxiety.
3. Medical Conditions and Medications
Certain medications or medical conditions can also lead to secondary hyperhidrosis or diaphoresis, where you sweat across your body regardless of temperature.
For instance, medications like antidepressants and diabetes drugs have potential side effects such as sweating in hot or cold environments. Hypoglycemia (having extremely low blood sugar), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) and diabetes can also cause sweating in any temperature.
Some medical conditions and medications can also cause excessive sweating at night.
Does Sweating in Cold Weather Make You Sick?
You’ve grown up believing cold weather and wet clothing make you sick. But is there any truth behind this?
Sweating in the dead of winter won’t bring on the flu or a cold. Flu season tends to revolve around winter when people spend more time indoors. Research has shown that rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, may thrive in low temperatures. So you can catch a cold in brisk weather — but not as a direct result of sweat or temperature.
How to Stop Sweating in the Winter & Cold Weather
Feeling cold and sweating at the same time is frustrating. You layer up to brave the cold, but overheat the second your heart rate ramps up or you step indoors.
Here are some tips you can use to stop sweating when cold and protect your clothing in the wintertime:
1. Ask your doctor about side effects of medications or medical conditions
Were you recently diagnosed with an illness? Or did you start taking medication around the same time your cold sweats began? If you suspect a medical condition or medication might be causing you to sweat when cold, consult your doctor.
2. Wear a sweat proof undershirt
While a sweat proof undershirt won’t help you sweat less, it will hide those wet marks in winter that puzzle your friends and co-workers.
Thompson Tees’ Original Fit Long Sleeve undershirt is the perfect addition to your fall and winter wardrobe. Available in crewneck or v-neck styles, these revolutionary undershirts have a built-in sweat proof barrier that traps sweat and odor. They’re made with 50% Supima cotton and 50% MicroModal blend for ultimate comfort.
Whether you perspire a little or sweat profusely, know you can count on the protection of Thompson Tees’ soft, durable undershirts in any situation. Stay warm and keep the sweat stains away – what more can you ask for?
Shop sweat proof undershirts now.
3. Rethink your diet
Did you know some foods cause sweating while others reduce perspiration? Avoid sweating-inducing foods and beverages like (spicy food or caffeinated drinks), and store foods that reduce sweat nearby.
4. Wear more lightweight layers
Instead of piling on heavy sweaters and thick jackets, think lighter. Wear a few extra layers (like a sweat proof undershirt, dress shirt, light cardigan, etc.) so you can adjust your clothing to match the indoor temperature. This will leave you feeling cooler throughout the day and less obsessed with those sweat marks forming around your armpits.
5. Take action to reduce stress
Reducing stress is easier said than done. It takes a conscious effort and well-defined plan to put your mind at ease.
Start by incorporating regular exercise (like walking or weight training) into your weekly routine. Stress management tactics like concentrated breathing can also keep you calm, collected — and less sweaty.
What other tips do you have to reduce sweating when cold?
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How is hyperhidrosis treated?
- Drysol: (brand name for aluminum chloride hexahydrate): This medication is commonly prescribed for hyperhidrosis. Generally, treatment is repeated nightly until sweating is under control. This may happen after as few as two treatments. Thereafter, you can apply Drysol once or twice weekly or as needed.
- Botox: Botox injections have been used for the hands and the armpit area. The treatment requires many injections of Botox during a single session. These are usually effective in reducing the sweat, and the effect will last for three to six months.
- Iontophoresis: This treatment involves placing hands or feet in water with low-voltage DC electrical current.
- Anti-anxiety drugs: These types of drugs have been tried but they have very little role in the treatment of hyperhidrosis. While sweating may increase with tension and anxiety, these symptoms do not necessarily point to hyperhidrosis.
- Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy has been tried but seems to play little role in the treatment of hyperhidrosis, because while the sweating may increase with tension and anxiety, these symptoms do not necessarily point to hyperhidrosis.
- Drying medicines: There are pills that can be taken to dry up the sweating, but these medicines can cause dry mouth and dry eyes.
Surgical treatment options
Surgery for hyperhidrosis has been performed for 70 years. The procedure is performed with minimally invasive surgery and on an outpatient basis. There are several methods for surgical treatment of hyperhidrosis, including cutting the affected nerve, clipping the nerve and removing the nerve.
Almost all patients have substantial reduction in sweaty hands after the operation, however, improvement in the armpit and plantar (foot) sweating is much less consistent and predictable.
While the procedure is usually performed with low risk on an outpatient basis, there are risks to every procedure, including bleeding, infection and collapsed lung. Normally, patients have mild chest pain for a few days (though it can last longer or be severe). But they are normally able to work after a few days.
After surgery, most patients experience compensatory hyperhidrosis, which means they experience increased sweating in other areas of the body, such as the scalp, chest wall, thighs or feet. The increased sweating may decrease in the months following the operation, and patients usually do not mind mild increased sweating because the hand sweating has improved so much.
About 5 percent of patients experience severe compensatory sweating. Some patients may find this so severe that they are unhappy that they underwent the procedure.
Horner’s Syndrome (droopy eyelids) occurs in about 1 percent of people undergoing the procedure. If this occurs, it may be temporary or may require eye surgery to correct the droop.
Why Do I Sweat When I’m Cold? Experts Reveal Some Of The Most Common Culprits
Are you the kind of person who, no matter what the weather’s like outside, always has clammy palms, sweaty pits, or a trail of sweat running down your back (or all three at the same time, all day every day)? It’s all good, girl, no judgment here. There’s probably a reason why you sweat so much, even when you’re cold, and TBH, it may turn out to be something that’s totally not even in your control. Whatever the root cause is, there are experts who can help you a) pinpoint what’s going on, and b) find some solutions to your sweaty struggles.
First of all, just because you tend to sweat more than the average person, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s a hygiene issue (unless you really aren’t bathing, like ever — you know who you are), so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
According to Dr. Jonathan Weiler of RealSelf, sweat is completely normal and helps you maintain a stable body temperature. But if you sweat while doing little to no activity, he says, you may have an underlying issue to address.
“This is called hyperhidrosis: You sweat way more than you need to,” Dr. Weiler tells Elite Daily.
If you deal with excessive sweating on the reg, but there’s no known, underlying medical cause, Dr. Weiler explains, you might be experiencing what’s called primary hyperhidrosis, which he says could be partially hereditary in some cases.
Hyperhidrosis happens when your sweat gland nerves become overactive, Dr. Weiler tells Elite Daily, and as a result, your body basically produces sweat when it’s not needed.
Treatments for the condition, according to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, include things like prescription antiperspirants, injections like Botox into the area where you’re sweating, medication, and various types of surgery.
Then, of course, if there’s such a thing as primary hyperhidrosis, that means there’s also secondary hyperhidrosis, Dr. Weiler explains, which is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as anxiety or diabetes. According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s website, the secondary version of this condition can be a bit more complicated to treat, purely because it’s, well, secondary to some other medical condition. The best thing you can do is talk to your doctor about it to help you pinpoint what’s really causing the excessive sweating, whether it’s a health condition you’re not yet aware of, or even a side effect of a medication you’re on.
If it’s not hyperhidrosis, though, you might be sweating a lot because of an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism.
Dr. Nilem Patel, a California-based endocrinologist, explains that your thyroid gland sits in the front of your neck, and is shaped somewhat like a butterfly.
“It produces a hormone called the thyroid hormone, which circulates through the blood to affect the body’s metabolism, and regulates many of the body’s functions,” Dr. Patel tells Elite Daily.
That thyroid hormone affects a whole lot of stuff in your body, she explains, including your temperature, heart rate, muscles, brain, and much more. Oftentimes, Dr. Patel says, symptoms of an overactive thyroid may go unnoticed for a while, since they tend to be gradual and non-specific.
Moreover, those symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be pretty widely varied, according to Mayo Clinic, and can include things like sudden weight loss (even when your appetite is the same), fatigue, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, or sudden shifts in your menstrual cycle. If you notice some of these signs, along with your sweating, it’s best to check in with your doctor and get some blood work done.
But if you know for sure that neither form of hyperhidrosis is causing those clammy hands, and that your thyroid isn’t the issue either, what else could it be?
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., excessive sweating can simply be a circumstantial issue.
Think about where you are when the excessive sweating seems to happen most. Is there a pattern that emerges? Dr. Dean tells Elite Daily it’s not uncommon to sweat more when you’re in an area with high elevation, for example, or even in a high-pollution area, where you’re not getting enough oxygen from the air around you, she explains.
“Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can be another cause of perspiration, despite feeling cold,” Dr. Dean tells Elite Daily. “Is the person diabetic, or pre-diabetic? Are they running a marathon, or going on a long bike ride, and have they exhausted their blood sugar levels as a result? Have they skipped a meal? These can all be causes .”
Dr. Joseph Cruise, a board-certified, California-based plastic surgeon,also points out that drinking a lot of caffeine tends to boot your blood pressure and increase your heart rate, which may exacerbate sweating, too. In that case, he tells Elite Daily, the solution may be as easy as cutting back on your coffee intake a bit. He does, however, recommend checking in with a professional no matter what, as this will be the most effective way of pinpointing the issue.
Regardless of what’s causing you to sweat so much, remember not to judge yourself for it. Everybody (and every body) has their own quirks and differences; some are just a little wetter than others, you know?
Take it from this Italian girl, the fear of sweating too much at the wrong moment or while wearing the wrong outfit (hello, silk!), is a very real thing. But where do you draw the line between normal and excessive sweating? Are aluminum chloride deodorants safe to useevery single day? And, is it OK (re: not unhealthy) to get sweat-halting Botox injections before a big event such as your wedding? (Asking for a friend). As it turns out, hyperhidrosis, aka excess sweating, is more common — and relative — than you might think.
What exactly is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is “the excessive production of sweat” by the body, explains Lily Talakoub, a board-certified dermatologist at McLean Dermatology in Virginia.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis: primary and secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis, which is the most common type, has no known underlying physical cause. “Primary hyperhidrosis is due to overactive signaling of sweat glands to secrete sweat without stimuli,” explains New York City-based dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali.
In other words, your body starts sweating without any explicable reason (like feelings of anxiety, hot temperatures, or exercise). This kind of hyperhidrosis can occur at any given time or during any season of the year, even if the person is not physically warm or is completely at rest. “Primary hyperhidrosis is most commonly seen in the underarms, palms, and soles of the feet,” says Bhanusali.
Other less-common areas can also include the head, back, and even face. So basically, it can pretty much happen anywhere on your body.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that’s caused by an external factor such as medication or illness, like a tumor, diabetes, or thyroid issues.
Of these two types, there are also different degrees of hyperhidrosis that experts differentiate between: mild, moderate, and severe. “If you sweat through a shirt when you are at rest in normal temperature, I would say that is moderate hyperhidrosis,” Talakoub says. “If you have sweat dripping down your hands and through your socks at rest with no triggers, then that is severe hyperhidrosis.”
How can you tell the difference between normal and excessive sweating?
Of course, the next question then becomes: What’s the threshold between normal and worrisome sweat levels? Are there any other symptoms to look out for that don’t involve perspiration?
“Excessive sweating, or how someone perceives it, is very personal in that what might be excessive to you is normal or not troubling to somebody else,” explains Lyall Gorenstein, surgical director at Columbia University Hyperhidrosis Center.
Because sweat is not really a quantifiable thing, like blood pressure, it’s really complicated to measure someone’s sweat levels throughout any given day. With enough time and “sophisticated equipment,” it is doable, but even so, “there’s a big variability in how much people sweat under similar situations,” Gorenstein says. “So, it’s hard to define exactly what hyperhidrosis is, but it could be something along the lines of: increased amounts of sweating, which causes social or personal embarrassment, withdrawal and/or avoidance behavior.” That “sophisticated equipment” is known as an evaporimeter, says Gorenstein, and it’s a machine that measures the rate of water evaporation (aka sweat).
That is, hyperhidrosis is a relative disorder and most people diagnose themselves. For someone whose job depends on their physical appearance, like an actor or a performer, sweating too much would be a bigger deal than to, say, someone who works from home.
Is hyperhidrosis treatable?
Good news: Yes, there are many treatment options, including topical creams, injections, and oral medications. What your physician prescribes will likely depend on the area where you’re experiencing the hyperhidrosis as well as the severity.
Hyperhidrosis: Diagnosis and treatment
Dermatologists help many patients control excessive sweating. Before treatment begins, it is important to find out why a patient has excessive sweating.
How do dermatologists diagnose hyperhidrosis?
To diagnose this condition, a dermatologist gives the patient a physical exam. This includes looking closely at the areas of the body that sweat excessively. A dermatologist also asks very specific questions. This helps the doctor understand why the patient has excessive sweating.
Sometimes medical testing is necessary. Some patients require a test called the sweat test. This involves coating some of their skin with a powder that turns purple when the skin gets wet.
To find an underlying medical condition, other medical tests may be necessary.
How do dermatologists treat hyperhidrosis?
Treatment depends on the type of hyperhidrosis and where the excessive sweating occurs on the body. Your dermatologist also considers your overall health and other factors.
Treatments that dermatologists use to help their patients control hyperhidrosis include:
This may be the first treatment that a dermatologist recommends. It is affordable. When applied as directed, an antiperspirant can be effective. Your dermatologist may recommend a regular or clinical-strength antiperspirant. Some patients need a stronger antiperspirant and receive a prescription for one.
Uses: Apply to underarms, hands, feet, or hairline
How it works: The antiperspirant sits on top of your skin. As you sweat, the antiperspirant is pulled into your sweat glands. This plugs the sweat glands. When your body senses that its sweat glands are plugged, this should signal your body to stop producing so much sweat.
Side effects: Where they apply the antiperspirant, some people develop:
If these occur, be sure to tell your dermatologist. Changing how you use the antiperspirant can reduce these side effects.
Do antiperspirants increase risk of breast cancer, Alzheimer’s?
Some patients are concerned that antiperspirants can cause breast cancer. Others worry about getting Alzheimer’s disease. To date, we do not have evidence that using an antiperspirant causes breast cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
If you want to know more about this, read:
Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer (National Cancer Institute)
Risk factors: Aluminum not a cause (Alzheimer’s Association)
Iontophoresis (the no-sweat machine)
If excessive sweating affects your hands, feet, or both areas, this may be an option. You will use this treatment at home. It requires you to immerse your hands or feet in a shallow pan of tap water. As you do this, a medical device sends a low-voltage current through the water.
Many people obtain relief. Some people dislike that this treatment can be time-consuming.
Uses: Hands and feet
How it works: The electric current shuts down the treated sweat glands temporarily.
Most people need about 6 to 10 treatments to shut down the sweat glands. To get improvement, you begin by using the device as often your dermatologist recommends. At first, you may need two or three treatments per week. A treatment session usually takes 20 to 40 minutes.
Once you see results, you can repeat the treatment as needed to maintain results. This can range from once a week to once a month.
If this treatment is right for you, your dermatologist will teach you how to use the device and give you a prescription so that you can buy one. Some patients also receive a prescription for a medicine that they add to the tap water.
Side effects: Some people develop:
Discomfort during treatment
If you experience any side effects, tell your dermatologist. Making some changes often eliminates these side effects.
Botulinum toxin injections
Your dermatologist can inject a weak form of this medicine into your underarms. To treat excessive sweating, a patient will need to have very tiny amounts injected in many areas of the underarms. When performed properly, patients have little pain or discomfort.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this treatment for the underarms. Findings from some research studies suggest that this treatment may be effective for other areas of the body. It may help post-menopausal women who sweat excessively on the head. It may be effective for excessive sweating that affects the hands and feet.
How it works: The injections temporary block a chemical in the body that stimulates the sweat glands. Most patients notice results four to five days after receiving treatment.
Reduced sweating lasts about four to six months, and sometimes longer. When the excessive sweating returns, you can be retreated.
Side effects: The most common one is temporary muscle weakness, which can occur when this is injected into the hands.
Prescription cloth wipes
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this treatment for people who have excessive underarm sweating and are 9 years of age or older.
How it works: These individually wrapped cloths contain an active ingredient, glypyrronium tosylate, that can reduce underarm sweating.
Uses: Most people use one wipe per day at home to treat both underarms.
Side effects: Possible side effects include dry mouth, redness on the treated skin, and burning or stinging where the wipe touched your skin.
Some patients receive a prescription for a medicine that temporarily prevents them from sweating. These medicines work throughout the body.
How it works: These medicines prevent the sweat glands from working. Athletes, people who work in a hot place, and anyone who lives in a warm climate should use extreme caution when using this treatment. The body may not be able to cool itself.
Uses: These medicines can effectively treat sweating that involves entire body. This medicine also can be an effective treatment for post-menopausal women who sweat excessively only from their head.
Side effects: The medicines that prevent the sweat glands from working can cause:
Heart palpations (abnormal heartbeat)
The risk of side effects increases with higher doses. Before taking this medicine, you should talk with your dermatologist about your individual risks and benefits.
If other treatments fail to bring relief, surgery may be considered. Surgery is permanent and carries risks. The following surgeries can stop excessive sweating:
Surgically remove sweat glands
How it works: A dermatologist can surgically remove sweat glands from the underarms. This surgery can be performed in a dermatologist’s office. Only the area to be treated is numbed, so the patient remains awake during the surgery.
A dermatologist may use one or more of the following surgical techniques to remove sweat glands from the underarms:
Excision (cut out sweat glands)
Liposuction (remove with suction)
Curettage (scrape out)
Laser surgery (vaporize)
Sympathectomy is another surgery used to treat hyperhidrosis. This is major surgery, which a surgeon performs in an operating room.
During sympathectomy, the surgeon tries to stop the nerve signals that your body sends to the sweat glands. To do this, the surgeon will cut or destroy certain nerves. To find these nerves, the surgeon inserts a mini surgical camera into the patient’s chest just beneath the underarm. The patient’s lung must be temporarily collapsed so that the surgeon can cut or destroy nerves.
Surgical removal of sweat glands is used to treat the underarms
Sympathectomy is mainly used to treat the palms
Side effects: All surgeries carry some risk. When sweat glands are removed from the underarm, there is risk of developing an infection. Patients may have soreness and bruising. These will go away.
Permanent side effects also can occur. Loss of feeling in the underarm and scarring are possible.
Advances in endoscopic surgery have reduced some risks from sympathectomy. Serious side effects can still occur. Some patients develop a condition known as compensatory sweating. For some people, this causes them to sweat more heavily than did the hyperhidrosis.
Other possible side effects from sympathectomy include damage to the nerves that run between the brain and eyes, extremely low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and inability to tolerate heat. Patients have died during this surgery.
Hand-held medical device destroys sweat glands
This is a newer treatment approved by the FDA. A medical doctor such as a dermatologist must give these treatments.
If this is an option, the dermatologist uses a machine that emits electromagnetic energy. This energy destroys the sweat glands. In one or two office visits, the glands can be destroyed. Once destroyed, the sweat glands are gone forever.
This device can only treat the underarms because this area of the body has enough underlying fat to protect itself. This device cannot be used to treat the hands and feet because these areas do not have enough fat.
This is a newer treatment option. Unlike other treatments, there is not a lot of information about this treatment for hyperhidrosis. We do not know how long the results last. Long-term side effects are not known.
By seeing a dermatologist, many people find treatment that effectively controls their excessive sweating. This often greatly improves their quality of life.
Many people control their hyperhidrosis by combining treatment with tips for managing.
Bechara F, Gambichler T, Bader A, et al. “Assessment of quality of life in patients with primary axillary hyperhidrosis before and after suction-curettage.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007;57:207-12.
Inflamed/Infected Sweat Glands (Hidradenitits)
Hidradenitis occurs when the hair follicles and nearby apocrine glands (sweat glands) on the underarms, groin, buttocks and under the breasts become infected and inflamed.
What is hidradenitis?
While what actually causes hidradenitis is poorly understood, the process itself is clearly documented.
Hair follicles and glands which produce sweat on the underarms, groin, buttocks and under the breasts for some women, become clogged, unable to slough out dead skin cells. When this happens, the clogged follicle or gland provides a breeding ground for bacteria. There is no way for the infectious material to escape the clogged hair follicle, so a cyst forms, similar to a large, thick pimple.
When the cysts do burst, the inflammatory material spreads to nearby hair follicles and the process begins again. After a while, connections between the cysts develop, called sinus tracts, which connect the follicles together and makes it even easier for the inflammation and secondary bacterial infections to travel back and forth.
This painful condition can cause social isolation and depression. Many patients feel their quality of life is severely affected.
Who gets hidradenitis?
Hidradenitis affects 2-3% of the US population, but the number may be higher because so few people discuss this painful condition with their doctors. Other factors associated with developing hidradenitis, include being:
Female: Hidradenitis affects four times more women than men
Hormonal influences are also thought to influence who will develop the condition, but there is no clear evidence that this is the case.
The symptoms of hidradenitis are the cysts themselves. The severity of the symptoms is equal to how severe the condition is in each person, but in general, people can experience
Sinus tracts: those “canals” that join each follicle
Depression and withdrawal from social activities
Doctors diagnose hidradenitis by examining the cysts and follicles, and listening carefully to a patient’s history. There is no specific blood or laboratory test.
Our doctors are firmly committed to helping patients manage this long-term chronic condition, not only to treat the cysts and prevent further infections, but also to improve quality of life.
While there is no cure, there are many treatments for hidradenitis, including oral medications, controlled opening of the cysts and laser hair removal.