Sweating is your body's way of cooling down and getting rid of some chemicals. Sometimes heavy sweating is normal. You may sweat a lot when you exercise, when you are too hot, or when you are frightened.
It's normal for teenagers to sweat more than they did when they were younger. A teen's sweat glands are growing along with the rest of his or her body.
And menopause often causes women to have heavy sweating now and then.
But some people have a condition that makes them sweat too much. They may drip sweat even when it's not hot and they're not exercising. Some people carry a towel around with them because their hands are always wet with sweat.
For these people, sweating is a problem that can be very hard to live with, even though they have no other health problems. In most cases, there's no known cause for this condition.
Certain problems such as diabetes, heart failure, anxiety, and overactive thyroid can cause heavy sweating. And some drugs may cause heavy sweating as a side effect.
It can be upsetting to have sweat drip from your face and palms or to have smelly feet and shoes. It may even cause you to avoid having relationships that involve any kind of touching.
These tips may help:
If you are sweating so heavily that it is affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor. You may feel embarrassed to talk about it, but you'll find out that there are treatments that can help. They include:
For very severe cases when other treatments have failed, surgery may be done to remove sweat glands or destroy the nerves leading to sweat glands.
The International Hyperhidrosis Society offers information and support for people suffering from heavy sweating, from normally developing teenagers to adults who sweat profusely without any apparent reason.
Other Works Consulted
Fealey RD, Sato K (2008). Disorders of the eccrine sweat glands and sweating. In K Wolff et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th ed., vol. 1, pp. 720–730. New York: McGraw-Hill.
National Institutes of Health, Medline Plus Medical
Encyclopedia (2007). Hyperhidrosis. Available
September 1, 2011
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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