Let’s start with the good news. Sweating is a necessary (and totally normal) function of the human body. It assists in regulating our body temperature and works by stimulating our eccrine glands to release a mixture of water, sodium and other substances onto the surface of the skin. This moisture then evaporates and cools us down.
While it may be unpleasant at times, this process can be beneficial for our bodies in more ways than one. Sweating can boost endorphins, cleanse your pores, potentially lower your risk of kidney stones and even protect against certain germs and bacteria (like E. coli and Staphylococcus) that can build up on your skin.
But what happens when this natural process goes rogue? Cue unsightly sweat patches, tissues stuffed in your armpits, waving from your hips and awkward hugs with your elbows tucked firmly into your sides!
Do I sweat too much?
The amount that we sweat will differ from the next person; exactly how much will depend on your age, weight, gender, genetics, environmental factors and fitness level. The amount you sweat only becomes a problem if it starts to cause physical discomfort or negatively affects your day to day activities. This type of excessive sweating is a condition called hyperhidrosis.
What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis, a fancy word for excessive sweating, is a condition that can occur almost anywhere on the body. It is most commonly seen on the soles of the feet, palms and axillae (underarms). Doctors still haven’t determined what causes the condition and it can affect both genders equally.
People who suffer from excessive sweating may find it embarrassing to shake hands with co-workers, hold hands with their partner or even give a proper hug. They may avoid social situations due to low self-esteem stemming from body odour or uncontrollable sweat patches. If left untreated, sufferers are at risk of higher rates of depression and reduced levels of self-confidence than those without the condition.
What can I do to combat excessive sweating?
If you believe you may be suffering from hyperhidrosis, the first action to take is to consult your General Practitioner (GP). In some cases, excessive sweating can be caused by other conditions such as hyperthyroidism, menopause or obesity. Once you have determined the cause, there are certain steps you can take to minimise how much you sweat.
Time your antiperspirant
Did you know that you sweat less when you sleep? This means that applying a strong antiperspirant before bed gives the active ingredients more opportunity to penetrate your sweat ducts and minimise perspiration the next day.
Not just the underarms
Sweat not only appears in the underarm region, it exudes from pores all over the body. In fact, the average person has between two and four million sweat glands in total. Applying antiperspirant to any focused sweaty areas (except the sensitive ones) can aid in sweat reduction.
Consider cosmetic treatments
If deodorant just doesn’t cut it, you may wish to consider cosmetic treatment. Incredibly, muscle relaxant injections can help reduce excessive sweating for up to nine months. Small quantities of the product are injected just below the surface of the skin. This blocks the nerve impulse from reaching the area and in turn, the sweat glands are inactivated. Read more about our hyperhidrosis treatment here.
Interested in a consultation for treatment of excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis? Book a complimentary consultation with our experienced doctors and registered nurses at your local Australian Skin Clinics today!