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Proven Ways to Stop "Excessive Sweating"

Everything to know about excessive sweating.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

We all sweat and while it can feel gross and sticky at times, it's actually a healthy thing our body does to cool off to prevent overheating. But when you sweat through your clothes or in a temperature that doesn't typically require your body to sweat, you could have hyperhidrosis, which Mayo Clinic defines as "abnormally excessive sweating that's not necessarily related to heat or exercise. You may sweat so much that it soaks through your clothes or drips off your hands." While the condition can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, there are methods to help treat hyperhidrosis. Eat This, Not That! health spoke with Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies explains to Eat This, Not That! Health who explained what to know about hyperhidrosis.  Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What's Considered Excessive Sweating?

Man with hyperhidrosis sweating very badly under armpit in blue shirt because of hot weather

Dr. Mitchell says, "Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, is a condition that results in excessive production of sweat. While we all sweat as a natural response to heat or exercise, people with hyperhidrosis produce sweat in excess of what is necessary to regulate their body temperature. This can be a problem for sufferers as it can lead to uncomfortable sweaty clothing, body odor, and skin infections. There are two types of hyperhidrosis – primary and secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis is not caused by another condition and often runs in families. Secondary hyperhidrosis is caused by another condition, such as an overactive thyroid or menopause." 


How Common is Excessive Sweating?

Shortness of breath. Unhappy mature woman sweating and touching head

Dr. Mitchell explains, "According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, an estimated 5% of the world suffers from excessive sweating, making it a surprisingly common condition. While it can occur at any age, excessive sweating often begins in adolescence or young adulthood. For many people, the condition is mild and does not interfere with their everyday activities. However, for some people, excessive sweating can be extremely debilitating. It can cause social anxiety and lead to avoidance of work or other activities. In extreme cases, it can even cause depression and isolation. If you think you may be suffering from excessive sweating, talk to your doctor about treatment options. With the right treatment, you can manage your symptoms and regain your quality of life."


Different Types of Excess Sweating

Close-up Of A Woman With Hyperhidrosis Sweating Very Badly Under Armpit

"There are two main types of excess sweating: primary and secondary," says Dr. Mitchell. "Primary hyperhidrosis is a condition in which the body sweats more than is necessary to regulate its temperature. This type of sweating can be localized, affecting only certain areas of the body, or generalized, affecting the whole body. Secondary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that is caused by another underlying medical condition, such as an infection, a thyroid disorder, or menopause. treating the underlying condition can often help to reduce the amount of sweating. Excessive sweating can be a nuisance and can cause significant discomfort. It can also lead to embarrassment and social anxiety. If you are experiencing excess sweating, it is important to seek medical advice so that the cause can be identified."


How is Excess Sweating Treated?

talk to doctor

Dr. Mitchell shares, "Many people suffer from excess sweating, or hyperhidrosis, which can be a debilitating condition that affects quality of life. There are a few different ways to treat hyperhidrosis, depending on the severity of the condition. For milder cases, over-the-counter antiperspirants may be effective. These products work by temporarily blocking the sweat glands and can provide relief for up to a week. For more severe cases, there are prescription strength antiperspirants that contain aluminum chloride,bleach ichthammol ,formaldehyde ,and glutaraldehyde which are much more effective in reducing sweating. If antiperspirants don't work, other options include Botox injections, which can provide relief for up to six months."

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Botox Injections

Patient is afraid of syringe and needle.

Dr. Mitchell explains, "Botox is best known for its ability to smooth out wrinkles, but it can also be used to treat a condition called hyperhidrosis, which is characterized by excessive sweating. The treatment works by temporarily paralyzing the sweat glands, which prevents them from producing sweat. In most cases, the effects of Botox last for four to six months. While the treatment is generally safe, there are some potential side effects, such as temporary bruising or swelling at the injection site. For people who suffer from hyperhidrosis, however, the benefits of Botox far outweigh the risks. By reducing sweating, Botox can help people feel more comfortable and confident in their appearance."

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woman with deodorant at home

"For people who suffer from excess sweating, antiperspirants can be a godsend, Dr. Mitchell emphasizes. "These products work by temporarily blocking the pores that release sweat, providing much-needed relief. In addition, antiperspirants can help to reduce the bacteria that cause body odor. Most products contain aluminum chloride, which forms a temporary barrier on the skin. Some products also contain other ingredients, such as triclosan, that help to reduce bacteria growth. For best results, it is important to choose an antiperspirant that is specifically designed for excessive sweating. These products are often more concentrated and may need to be applied more frequently than regular antiperspirants. However, they can provide vital relief for people who suffer from this condition."


Anticholinergic Medications

woman holds medications

Dr. Mitchell reveals, "Anticholinergic medications can help to reduce sweating by blocking the chemical acetylcholine. This chemical is responsible for triggering the sweat glands, so by blocking it, anticholinergic medications can effectively reduce sweating. These medications are available in both pill and topical form, and they can be used either as needed or on a regular basis. While they are generally safe and effective, anticholinergic medications can cause dry mouth, constipation, and blurred vision." 



Side view of young female surgeon tying her surgical mask

"In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the sweat glands, Dr. Mitchell states. However, this is typically only recommended for people who have severe sweating that has not responded to other treatments. By understanding the different treatment options available, you can help to find the best solution for your individual needs."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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