Why do I sweat so much?
Excessive sweating causes and treatments, West Malling, Kent
Sweating is an entirely normal bodily function and is a crucial part of your body’s cooling system, helping to prevent you from overheating. Most of the time, sweating stops after we cool down, and we give it no further thought. But if you’re one of the two million people in the UK who live with excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, you sweat more than you need to. When normal sweating turns excessive, it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing and leave you feeling anxious and isolated. So why exactly are you sweating so much? And what can you do to minimise that extra sweat?
What makes people sweat more?
Hyperhidrosis can be more than just an inconvenience – it could also signify underlying medical issues. That’s why it is essential for those suffering from excessive sweating to get checked by a medical professional to rule out any potential internal problems, such as an overactive thyroid or low blood sugar.
Diabetes causes nerve damage, and some of that damage can be to nerves that control sweat glands. As well as this, those who take certain medications for diabetes management may find increased perspiration a side effect of their prescription.
Hormonal changes and imbalances (often caused by puberty, pregnancy, or menopause) can wreak havoc on your body, and they may also be the reason why you’re sweating so much. This is why hot flashes are so common during menopause – when your oestrogen and progesterone levels change, it impacts your internal thermostat, and your body has to adapt to a new sense of temperature regulation.
When you’re feeling anxious, your body’s stress response is triggered, which drives activity in your nervous system. This can trigger your sweat glands to overreact, causing you to sweat.
Certain foods can trigger extra sweating. Some of the most common sweat triggers include spicy foods, caffeine, meat, salt, alcohol, and fatty processed foods. In addition, caffeine activates your central nervous system, raising your blood pressure and increasing your heart rate, which can cause you to sweat.
How do I stop sweating so much?
First, identify the cause. Start by figuring out if you have focal hyperhidrosis or generalised hyperhidrosis. Focal hyperhidrosis generally appears in adolescence or early adulthood, and typically, you’d sweat profusely in one area or a few specific areas (like your feet, hands, face, or armpits). Generalised hyperhidrosis, however, affects the entire body or large areas (like the whole back, abdomen, arms, or legs).
If it’s generalised, try to understand why it’s happening and eliminate the potential cause. This may involve speaking with your GP to change a certain medication or tweaking your diet.
If you’re dealing with hormone imbalances, medical conditions, or focal hyperhidrosis (where there’s no identifiable sweat trigger), several treatment options are available, including clinical-strength antiperspirants and oral medication. But one that we have found to be particularly effective is Botox…
Treating excessive sweating with Botox
Yes, the very same injectable that you might get to minimise wrinkles around your eyes can also help prevent excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis is caused by an over-stimulation of sweat glands. We have between two and four million sweat glands in our bodies, which are activated by our sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. Botox temporarily inhibits the release of acetylcholine, the chemical messenger that our nerve cells release to activate the sweat glands. Therefore, by blocking this chemical pathway, Botox temporarily stops sweating in the area where it has been injected.
It can be used to treat various areas of the body, including the armpits, palms, soles, forehead and scalp. Some areas are more responsive than others, and others may be more painful. However, topical numbing creams can be used to minimise discomfort.
Would you like to discuss the options available to eliminate excessive sweating effectively? Click here to make an enquiry or book a consultation.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.