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What Causes Excessive Sweating - and How Can You Prevent It?

Update Date: Mar 24, 2021 11:33 AM EDT
What Causes Excessive Sweating - and How Can You Prevent It?
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Excess sweating can be frustrating for any individual, but there's a good reason why our body needs to sweat. We sweat to regulate our metabolism, hormone levels, temperature, and blood flow, but when does sweating become excessive? If you sweat while the air conditioner is blasting or sitting calmly in your chair, you may have one of the following conditions.

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis (PFH)

The most common cause of excessive sweating is from a condition called Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis. People who have PFH don't have larger or more sweat glands than the average population, but this medical issue is likely a genetic disorder related to the nervous system. The most common manifestation is in the armpits, but the palms, feet, and groin are other typical areas. To learn how to stop armpit sweat, discuss with your doctor which medications could relieve discomfort. They may suggest ways to paralyze sweat glands through treatment.

Thyroid Issues

Hyperthyroidism is a common medical condition in people who have difficulty gaining weight due to the production of thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Thyroxine accelerates your body's metabolism, which leads to rapid weight loss and an irregular heartbeat. Since hyperthyroidism kicks your system into overdrive, your body will sweat excessively as a consequence. If you're experiencing tremors, jitteriness, fatigue, and an enlarged neck, you need to speak to a doctor ASAP. Hyperthyroidism is treatable through medication and diet.


Pregnancy comes with multiple side-effects, including bloating, moodiness, cramping, constipation, and nasal congestion, but excess sweating could also result. While pregnant, women will gain 15-30 pounds in 9 months. That extra weight will make it more difficult to move and cause more sweating than usual. However, pregnant women may experience excess sweating from hormonal changes, high metabolism levels, and increased blood flow. Sometimes, pregnant women will develop hyperthyroidism, but most excess sweating isn't severe.


Perimenopause, or menopause, is when the female body stops having a menstrual cycle. Most women enter menopause in their 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States. As the body reacts to hormone changes, hot flashes and cold spells can occur at a moment's notice. While this can be frustrating, experiencing hot flashes is a common side effect of estrogen shifts in the human body. Depending on how severe the hot flashes are, some doctors suggest taking estrogen pills or birth control pills to bring estrogen levels to a higher level.

Sweat Related to Medication

All medications have side effects, and some are less pleasant than others. If you're suddenly experiencing excess sweating after taking a class of drugs called diaphoretics, you have nothing to be worried about. Still, it's always essential to speak to your doctor about any common side-effects to rule out if excess sweating is related to another serious medical condition. Pain medications, cardiovascular and blood pressure drugs, hormonal treatments, and chemotherapy will mess with your metabolism and create wet patches under your armpits.


Low blood sugar is a common reason for sweating, and patients with diabetes will typically have lower than average blood sugar levels. Diabetics are told to watch for excessive sweat because that's an indicator their nervous system is signaling they have low blood sugar. Severe diabetics may also experience gustatory sweating caused by nerve damage located around the neck and head. Finally, night sweats are also a problem for people with diabetes who have sleep apnea. Losing weight and eating better will cure most diabetic-related sweating.

General Anxiety

Being stressed or anxious will cause your body to sweat once you enter "Fight or Flight" mode. Your body is trying to remove as much water from your kidney as possible so you won't have to stop and pee during a dangerous situation. It's common for people to feel like they have to go to the bathroom in any stressful situation because their body is entering into emergency mode. Try to calm down if possible, or remove yourself from the stressful situation. If anxiety persists, you may have an anxiety disorder that requires medication to control. 

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