Why Do I Sweat So Much?

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The Physiology of sweating

Sweating or perspiration is the process of secreting fluid which is largely water with small amounts of sodium and trace amino acids. The mechanism of body temperature regulation is through heat dissipation which is influenced by several factors. An example is when ambient temperature is higher than the human body’s temperature sweating occurs modulated by the eccrine glands (sweat glands) from evaporative heat loss. Another is a number of non-thermal factors which is the integration of internal and skin temperature. Heat is not the only trigger of sweating but also emotions take part. Emotional stress can stimulate the contraction of the eccrine glands thus expelling its content in the form of sweat.

People who are otherwise healthy can experience so much sweating that most people believe it is good to sweat out to cleanse the body. In general, we all sweat and perspire, a vital mechanism for survival.

Sweating is greatly influenced by neural activity through signaling from brain to sweat glands. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the sweat glands to secrete out water to skin surface when the body detects a rise in temperature. This mechanism (insensible perspiration) promotes cooling down of the body to regulate normal temperature.

On the other hand, sweating responses and temperature regulation may be altered in some state of diseases and in the process of aging.

What Causes Excessive Sweating and Why Sweat More Than Normal?

Hyperhidrosis is a chronic autonomic disorder. This is a condition used to describe excessive sweating beyond what is needed for body temperature regulation. Commonly affected areas are palms of your hands, soles of feet, armpits and groin. People with hyperhidrosis sweats a lot despite of having a good mood with no emotional trigger or exposed under just a nice weather. In a certain study, the cause of the majority of the cases of hyperhidrosis is unknown but probable causes were then identified that leads to formulation of diagnostic criteria from the clinical features of the disorder.

Trace it back during childhood

Excessive sweating during childhood that may persist until adolescence is referred to as primary hyperhidrosis. Children are prone to excessive sweating due to surfeit of stamina and hyperactivity but sweating more than expected may suggest something. The sweating stops while the child is sleeping but gets worse in warm weather and stressful conditions. The most common areas affected are the hands and feet. Unfortunately, in most cases no apparent reason has been identified in the occurrence of this condition.

Familial inheritance – blame it on the genes

Excessive sweating has a genetic tendency. You have a chance of developing same condition if someone in your family has it.

Medical condition

Secondary hyperhidrosis is a condition of excessive sweating caused by underlying medical problem. The most common cause is over active thyroid (hyperthyroidism) wherein the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones.


There are certain medicines whose side effect is excessive sweating. Anti-depressants specifically tricyclics and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) treatment has this adverse effect that may continue for more than six months. To add on, Beta-blockers used in the treatment of hypertension can influence the sympathetic nervous system causing excessive sweating.

Psycho-social Aspect

Though excessive sweating has no serious threat to your health, it can be embarrassing and causes disconcerting feelings to the person experiencing it. People who sweat so much usually tend to avoid physical contacts due to self-consciousness about his or her excessive sweating and eventually became socially withdrawn. In severe cases, it complicates things and can have serious consequences interfering with the person’s job such as gripping or maneuvering a steering wheel, difficulty using a computer keyboard and as simple as holding a pen or tools. Overtime, this distressing feeling may pose a negative impact on the person’s social life leading to feeling of anxiety and possible depression.

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