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Hyperhidrosis - The Science of Excessive Sweat (And How to Stop It)

Sweat -- it’s a necessary (if, inconvenient) biological process. It helps to regulate core temperature and cool our bodies during intense workouts; however, at certain times, it can also be extremely inconvenient -- resulting in sweat stains, which may lead to feelings of insecurity or anxiety.


Profuse sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis (“excessive sweating”) is a very common problem, experienced by both men and women, typically occurring under the arms, on the palms, across the face/scalp, and on the feet.


If you’ve had to navigate the irritation and discomfort of excessive sweating, then this is the article for you!


What Causes Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)?


Sweating is a normal biological response in which particular nerve cells instruct the body to start sweating. At certain times (and in particular individuals), the body’s nerves may overreact, resulting in excessive sweating.


Researchers and dermatologists have stated that both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems play a role in why the sweat glands produce an excessive amount of sweat. The primary cause of hyperhidrosis is genetics.


Additional explanations/reasons for excessive sweating include various health conditions, including CVD, hyperthyroidism, and menopause. Two other possibilities that cannot be ignored are diet and lifestyle -- certain foods, beverages, and habits (especially stressful ones) can signal the body to start sweating more than it normally would.


Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis


Hyperhidrosis is often accompanied by various symptoms, including (the obvious) excessive sweating, are:


  • General discomfort
  • Body odor
  • Itching
  • Skin irritation
  • Difficulty sleeping


How to Stop Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)


Completely eliminating excessive sweating depends on a few factors, including genetics and dietary/lifestyle choices. Your ability to treat hyperhidrosis hinges on how you address the main issue causing you to sweat profusely. Using a stronger anti-perspirant than you currently are may be an option as well as speaking to a dermatologist. It can also be helpful to experiment with food timing and/or restricting eliminating certain foods and drinks from your life.


For instance, many individuals choose to have an alcoholic beverage or two before bed to “take the edge off” and hasten the onset of sleep. While alcohol can help you to fall asleep, it actually can reduce sleep quality as well as increase body temperature, leading to night sweats. The same can be said for eating large meals before bed. While this isn’t applicable across the board to every human being walking the planet, it should be something to consider if you presently struggle with excessive sweating at night.


Lastly, make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothes that breathe during the day and night as this will promote greater air circulation to help you stay cool and less likely to sweat excessively.




Hyperhidrosis affects a considerable number of individuals, and it can be an area of great concern, stress, and anxiety (which can also exacerbate sweating). There are many factors that can contribute to hyperhidrosis. As such, if you’re experiencing excessive sweat, then it can be helpful to speak with your physician or dermatologist to see if there is a more serious concern at play and how best to address it.


Additionally, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding large meals/alcohol before bed, consuming enough vitamins and minerals, and staying adequately hydrated all contribute to a healthier lifestyle.


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