Everything you should know about excessive sweating, what causes it, and how to stop it.
Everyone sweats. It’s a natural bodily function. However, if you find yourself dripping with sweat for no apparent reason, there’s a good chance you could have Hyperhidrosis (HH). Excessive sweating is a health condition that impacts 4% to 5% of the population, causing them to sweat as much as four to five times more than the average person.
Living with excessive sweating creates feelings of embarrassment and emotional pain, yet this disorder often goes untreated because people don’t realize they have a medical condition with conventional treatments available. There any many medical treatments for hyperhidrosis, and almost all of them focus on stopping the body from sweating. The Ejis® sweat proof line of clothing is the only solution that works with the body.
1 – Why Do We Sweat?
Why Am I Sweating So Much?
Sweat helps maintain a consistent temperature by cooling your body as the moisture evaporates. Two types of sweat glands make up the 4 million glands in the human body.
Apocrine glands secrete sweat through hair follicles located in specific areas such as the underarms and groin.
Eccrine glands make up a large majority of our glands and are located across the entire body. The eccrine glands are most affected by hyperhidrosis. Your nerves activate sweat glands based on triggers including body temperature, physical activity, emotional distress, and hormones. If you’ve got HH, you’ll sweat regardless of your surrounding conditions or your emotional state.
Why Haven’t You Ever Heard of Hyperhidrosis Before?
People with hyperhidrosis consider it a deeply personal condition and embarrassing. It’s also not commonly known that excessive sweating is a recognized disorder, so more than half of those with the condition fail to seek diagnosis or treatment.
Also, many medical professionals are not as informed as they could be about the condition, which results in HH going undiagnosed or even misdiagnosed.
2 – What is Hyperhidrosis?
Excessive sweating will fall into one of two categories:
Primary focal hyperhidrosis: Excessive sweating occurs in “focal” areas of the body, such as the hands, feet, underarms, face, or head. It causes equal sweating on both sides of the body. Most people will have more than one area of the body affected, such as both their hands and feet. This condition appears during childhood or adolescence and is often hereditary. Sweating rarely occurs during sleep.
- Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis: Excessive sweating is either a symptom of another medical condition or side effect of medications to be secondary hyperhidrosis. The sweating is over the entire body, not just specific areas. Unlike primary HH, you can experience night sweats and will have developed excessive sweating in adulthood.
- Primary focal hyperhidrosis: Excessive sweating occurs in “focal” areas of the body, such as the hands, feet, underarms, face, or head. It causes equal sweating on both sides of the body. Most people will have more than one area of the body affected, such as both their hands and feet. This condition appears during childhood or adolescence and is often hereditary. Sweating rarely occurs during sleep.
If you’re uncertain whether you have primary or secondary hyperhidrosis, St. Louis dermatologist and President of the International Hyperhidrosis Society, Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, recommends asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you sweat the same on both sides of your body?
- Does your excess sweat impair your daily activities?
- Do you experience at least one episode a week?
- Did your excess sweating begin earlier than age 25?
- Do other members of your family suffer from similar sweating problems?
- Do you stop sweating when you are asleep?
If you answered “yes” to at least two of the questions, you probably have primary focal hyperhidrosis.
If you’re still concerned about excessive sweating but are not showing signs of primary HH, you might have secondary hyperhidrosis as a result of one of the following health conditions:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
If you’ve not been diagnosed with any of these conditions, you should speak to your doctor about excessive sweating. They can help determine the cause of your secondary HH whether it is a health condition or a side effect of medications.
3 – Development of Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis can be hereditary, and it affects both men and women, with approximately 1 in 20 people suffering. Excessive sweating tends to start in childhood or adolescence with underarm issues beginning in the late teens. Palm and sole sweating begin around the age of thirteen. Excessive sweating is a lifelong condition with treatments and products available to help you manage living with the discomfort of HH.
4 – Signs & Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis
What’s a Normal Amount of Sweat?
If you’ve been worried about your sweating, you’re likely producing an irregular amount of sweat. Start by asking yourself:
- Do you carry “supplies” to help manage your sweat?
- Do you change clothes several times a day?
- Do you ever change your social plans due to excessive sweating?
- Does sweating in public cause distress?
- Have you lost friends or a job due to excessive sweating?
All of these issues and extra considerations are commonly reported by people who have hyperhidrosis.
Where on the Body Does Sweat Happen?
Excessive sweating tends to occur most in the following areas:
- Armpits: Axillary hyperhidrosis leads to soaked clothes and sweat dripping down your sides regardless of external or emotional factors.
- Hands & Palms: Palmar hyperhidrosis causes sweating of your palms and can be so extreme that your hands drip with sweat or are chronically damp.
- Feet & Soles: Plantar hyperhidrosis causes severe sweating of the soles of your feet. It can be so excessive that your feet slip as you walk barefoot and in shoes.
- Face and Head: Craniofacial hyperhidrosis causes beads of sweat to pour from your scalp, face, and head.
- Groin: Inguinal hyperhidrosis causes sweating to leak through your undergarments and pants.
- Back: Truncal hyperhidrosis is sweating in the back that leads to uncomfortable dripping and staining.
- Buttocks & Back of the Legs: Excessive sweating on the buttocks and the back of the legs leads to sweating through your clothes.
5 – Impact of Excessive Sweat
Sweat and Odor
Eccrine glands usually produce odorless, watery sweat, but when it comes into contact with bacteria commonly found on the surface of the skin, sweat can create smells. If you have primary hyperhidrosis, you probably don’t suffer from the additional challenge of stronger body odor. The watery consistency produced by the eccrine glands helps to wash away odor-causing bacteria. However, if you allow the sweat to dry on your skin, this can produce unpleasant odors.
How Do People with Excessive Sweat Cope?
There are many ways you can learn to cope with excessive sweating. Of those who have hyperhidrosis, 97% try multiple different methods to prevent or reduce sweating, including:
- Wearing or avoiding certain clothing (74%)
- Avoiding situations that cause sweating (47%)
- Keeping a towel handy (37%)
- Holding a tissue in hands to avoid sweat (44%)
Most of those solutions don’t offer permanents fixes to HH, but they can help when you’re in a tough spot and make you feel more at ease. Choosing to wear different clothing has certainly helped many Ejis® clothing wearers to feel better about themselves and more confident in social settings.
How Can Sweat Impact Your Life?
Excessive sweating can have a major impact on you psychologically and emotionally. It can make even the simplest daily activities a challenge and have a negative effect on your relationships, career choices, mental well-being, and self-image. That is influenced by the perceptions of others, as 88% of International Hyperhidrosis Society patients have experienced a negative reaction to their sweating. Unfortunately, this can lead to social isolation, anxiety disorders, and depression when people are unable to find effective ways to manage sweating.
It is important to realize you are not alone. Hyperhidrosis is a condition shared by many, and understanding people’s experiences can help you cope or even find better solutions. David Matusiak shared his journey of overcoming hyperhidrosis using Ejis® clothing on Facebook:
“I've suffered hyperhidrosis for over 25 years. That means I will sweat all day, regardless of environmental conditions. This isn't "nerves" or something else. This is what my body does, day in and day out. While not as bad as many conditions, it is extremely uncomfortable to wear a very wet shirt all day (especially when stuck inside cold office buildings). I literally spent decades bringing 3 or 4 shirts to work every day and changing at three-hour intervals. You may be able to imagine how uncomfortable and embarrassing this could be. Even when I put on a clean shirt, I would sweat through it in a few minutes. This would make anything else I was wearing soaked, as well. Dress shirts, sweaters, etc. - all would be wet and require regular changing. Over the years, I've tried all sorts of antiperspirants (including prescription ones), medications, and other suggested treatments. I've tried Pitpons (look it up) and other temporary measures to make it better, to no avail. There are surgeries available, but I'm leery of having elective surgery without an impending life threat. Needless to say, this has been a challenge I've been trying to solve.
Two years ago, I decided to give these "sweat containing shirts" a try. There are several brands and I've bought and tested them all. Some are better than others, and this method has helped me to a certain degree. Without a doubt, Ejis® are the finest version I've found and worn. Ejis® and other brands cannot help to cure my hyperhidrosis condition, but they can help to make me more comfortable and confident every day. I bought 4 V-neck Ejis® t-shirts a few weeks ago and have been wearing them every day.
They are actually great. Much better than all the other brands I've tried. The other ones don't have the build quality that Ejis® do. After this discovery, I won't go back to the other brands. There are several distinguishing factors. The immediate thing you'll notice is the unreal soft, cool and smooth fabric they are made of. The feel and cool comfort of this fabric may be worth it even if you don't have a sweating condition. However, I think the reigning design plus is the high level of build quality, both overall and in the execution of the armpit "diaper" section. (Please forgive that turn of phrase). Some other brands do not even sew down the absorbent layer, leaving them to move, clump, or wiggle. This can lead to leakage, discomfort and general annoyance. Many other brands do not show the "fit and finish" of Ejis®. Turn them inside out, and you'll see unfinished stitches, frayed and pulling threads, and design bulkiness. Another bad aspect is shrinkage and stretching. Shrinkage is bad because suddenly they won't tuck into your pants anymore and require more adjustment. The stretching is bad because you paid $30 for a t-shirt and after pulling it on and off a few times, it looks like a stretched out mumu. Instead, you have to handle and remove them in the most delicate fashion to not make them useless. None of these negative features are shown in Ejis® shirts. I plan to own and use mine for many years. They also have fabric features to help control odors, too.
I don't work for the company, know anyone at the company, or get compensated in any way. I'm just happy to find a really good sweat catching shirt after many years of looking. I wish I had found them many years ago, but alas they are here now. Thanks for making a great, high-quality product Ejis® - one that has made my day-to-day life much better and happier.”
6 – Treatment for Hyperhidrosis
Treatment Options – What Are They, and How Does Each One Work?
There are many treatments and products designed to help with excessive sweating. If you suffer from secondary hyperhidrosis, your doctor will first treat the health condition causing the issues. If this does not resolve the symptom, treatments to control the sweating itself will be considered. These treatments are also used for primary hyperhidrosis and can include medications, prescription-strength antiperspirants, and medical procedures.
Your doctor might decide to provide the following to help reduce sweating:
- Prescription hyperhidrosis antiperspirants: Options such as Drysol contain up to 20% aluminum chloride (with at least 14% recommended). Apply carefully at night and wash off in the morning to allow enough time for the active ingredient to work. Price varies, but on average, it’s about $22.
- Prescription creams: Glycopyrrolate lotion is prescribed for those with head and face sweating issues. Pricing varies based on the prescription provided.
- Anticholinergic drugs (Nerve-blocking medications): These oral medications are used to block the chemicals that lead to sweating. They are effective but can have side effects such as dry mouth, heart palpitations, blurred vision, and bladder issues. To avoid side effects, you can limit the use and only take it prior to major events. Pricing varies based on the product and dosage required.
- Antidepressants: This medication will not only decrease sweating but can also reduce anxiety caused by HH. Options and prices are varied, so consult your physician.
- Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections: This treatment can last up to 12 months. It can be painful, even when your skin is anesthetized, and can also cause temporary muscle weakness. For both underarms, treatment costs around $1000, and it will vary based on the area of the body.
Hyperhidrosis Surgery and Medical Procedures
If you don’t see the desired results from medications, there are treatments and elective surgical procedures such as:
- miraDry (Microwave therapy): miraDry uses electromagnetic energy to “zap” sweat glands, which basically kills them. This is a permanent and painful procedure. However, it can reduce armpit sweat by 83%. So, it might be something you’re willing to endure. Therapy requires sessions every three months and can cause discomfort and changes to your skin’s sensation. It is also less readily available and can be quite expensive at $2500 to $4500.
- Curettage: This surgical procedure removes sweat glands from your armpits by first scraping and then sucking them out. It costs between $4000 to $7000.
- Nerve surgery (Sympathectomy): This procedure is for sweaty palms and involves the cutting, burning, or clamping of spinal nerves. It can lead to “compensatory sweating,” meaning it moves the sweating to another area of your body. It is a complicated treatment as it destroys nerve endings. Pricing varies based on the area treated.
- Liposuction: A fat removal procedure performed on underarms that costs $3500.
- Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) surgery: ETS is only used for severe cases of sweaty palms as it can cause permanent damage and compensatory sweating. Price ranges from $10,000 to $25,000.
- Iontophoresis/Iontoderma: This treatment blocks sweat from reaching the skin’s surface by applying a low electrical current to hands and feet when submerged in water. Each treatment takes about 20 minutes and is performed a few times a week. This treatment can stop sweating, but it often requires maintenance appointments to keep sweating from reoccurring. You can even purchase a machine for home use for about $399.
7 – Other Things You Can Do to Decrease Sweat
Many lifestyle changes can decrease sweat too. These hacks will help keep you drier and happier.
Diet and Lifestyle Adjustments
Consider the following to keep sweating down:
- Avoid hot peppers as they will increase sweating.
- Avoid raw onions and excess garlic as they can add a more pungent smell to sweat.
- Avoid deep fried, fatty and processed foods.
- Start a low carb diet.
- Avoid caffeine; it stimulates your central nervous system, which activates sweat glands.
- Drink 13 cups of water a day to stay hydrated. You will keep cool and avoid dehydration, which makes you sweat more.
- Poor digestion increases sweating so eat more digestive friendly foods such as celery, spinach, cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, olive oil, bell peppers, and grapefruit.
- Add Vitamin B supplements to your diet to assist the function of your vital systems and organs.
- Drink wheatgrass juice daily to help control sweat triggers.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol as they can increase sweating.
- Choose a low-sodium diet as the more salt you eat, the more you sweat it out.
Dress Smart: Clothing for Hyperhidrosis
Ejis® sweat proof boxer briefs and undershirts are designed specifically for people with hyperhidrosis. The clothes are made of super soft micro modal material fused with real odor-fighting silver and an ultra-thin waterproof layer that will protect your butt, back of the legs, crotch, back, and armpits. The line also includes Ejis® socks, to combat slippery feet.
In general, avoid:
- Bright-colored and medium-toned clothing to help draw less attention to sweat.
- Polyester and acrylic fabrics as they do not breathe and will increase sweating potential.
- Dark-colored clothing, so sweat and stains become far less noticeable.
- Distracting patterns because they can also tone down sweat marks.
- Lighter, breathable fabrics that will help provide ventilation to keep you cool.
- Natural fabrics like cotton and moisture-wicking fabrics as they will help keep you cool.
Proper Antiperspirant Application
It's hard to believe, but you could be misusing your antiperspirant. Start a night-time regime with a shower and then an application of antiperspirant to dry skin. Since you’re less active during sleep, antiperspirant can do its job overnight. Reapply in the morning and throughout the day as you wish.
For best results, it is also advisable to apply it to smooth skin. So remove or trim hair as needed for antiperspirant to contact the skin. Don’t apply antiperspirant directly to freshly shaved skin, and test new antiperspirants in a small area first to avoid skin irritation.
Breathing & Exercise
If you find your excess sweating gets worse with stress, you can learn deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing allows you to control negative emotions and reduce stress. Prepare yourself mentally before stressful situations, and breathe in through your nose, hold it for three seconds, and exhale calmly through your mouth. You can also learn meditation techniques to help you stop over-thinking and remain in the moment, which reduces anxiety.
Regular exercise helps your body limit and reduce sweat while keeping weight down. Being overweight contributes to excessive sweating. Exercise also lowers the stress hormone cortisol and releases feel-good endorphins to keep you more relaxed.
Home Remedies for Hyperhidrosis
There are a number of natural home remedies you can try including:
- Apple Cider Vinegar: As a natural astringent, you can apply it to your skin to control sweating and reduce odor-causing bacteria. Apply with a cotton ball before bed and wash it off in the morning.
- Sage and Black Tea: Teas can work well as they contain tannic acid, which constricts and shrinks pores, reducing sweat and killing bacteria that can lead to odor. Steep for several minutes, cool to room temperature, and then dab it on armpits or soak your palms and feet in the tea for 30 minutes. It can be done several times a day.
- Baking Soda: It can be used to absorb sweat, lower pH levels, and block odors but will not control sweating. It requires several applications each day to be effective. Mix it equally with cornstarch and apply to clean dry underarms.
- Chamomile Tea: Sip some for its calming effects to help manage stress and anxiety.
- Witch Hazel: As with teas and apple cider vinegar, this natural astringent will shrink pores. It is one of the preferred methods to control sweaty faces and can be applied with a cotton pad and then removed after 30 minutes a few times a day.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice can be applied to your underarms at night. Once absorbed, it fights sweat and also smells pleasant.
Although hyperhidrosis can be challenging to live with, there are several remedies you can try to limit the adverse effects of excessive sweating, such as through diet and lifestyle adjustments, surgical procedures, medications, and superior, sweat proof clothing choices from Ejis®.