Everybody sweats, but not all of us sweat the same. Although it is a natural function to control our body’s temperature, the amount of sweat produced, the odor associated with sweat and even the causes of our sweat can vary greatly from person to person. Whether you find yourself sweating profusely on hot days or tend to stress sweat when you are under pressure, you might find yourself asking, "Why do we sweat?"
Here we answer the common questions about sweat and offer some interesting facts that might make you feel a little less embarrassed by this normal bodily function.
Sweat is the watery substance produced when your body begins to overheat. It is your body’s natural process to control its temperature. As sweat evaporates, your body cools down which keeps your body temperature normal.
There are two types of glands that produce sweat:
People sweat for different reasons. For example, you might feel extremely uncomfortable and sweaty in a room you find hot, while others in the room are completely composed and cool. You might tend to sweat when you are nervous, while others might sweat when they are angry, or only when hot or active. This can make asking the question "Why do we sweat?" a little harder to answer. However, there are some common reasons people sweat including:
There are also many medical conditions that can cause overactive sweating, or hyperhidrosis. If you feel you are sweating an abnormal amount, you should speak to your doctor.
Since we all sweat, it can be hard to determine if your sweating symptoms are “abnormal.” However, if you suffer from any of the following physical symptoms, chances are you could have hyperhidrosis:
If you have any of these symptoms, you should visit your doctor to rule out medical issues and to discuss treatments to help manage your excess sweating.
As mentioned, we all have sweat glands throughout our bodies. In fact, we have 2 million to 4 million sweat glands. They are more concentrated in areas such as the soles of the feet, palms of the hands, armpits, and groin. Sweat glands look like coiled tubes and have a duct that delivers sweat to the surface of your skin. While eccrine glands produce sweat on the skin, apocrine sweat glands tend to open up around hair follicles.
We have 2 million to 4 million sweat glands in our bodies.
When people sweat due to exercise and heat, the sweat tends to come from the eccrine glands. However, if people sweat due to emotions or nervousness, the sweat glands that kick into action are mostly under the arms, in the palms, and in the soles of the feet. This creates a thicker sweat from the apocrine glands, which can lead to a smellier sweat.
Each person has a different threshold that leads to sweating. It is mostly caused by genetics, but other factors that can cause you to sweat more than most people include:
When you are sweating uncomfortably more than “normal,” speak to your doctor to discuss possible causes.
In general, sweating a lot is not necessarily a bad thing. Each person sweats for different reasons and in varying “volumes.” Therefore, what might seem like excess sweat to one person, could be perfectly normal for another. Sweating as a health indicator is misleading. However, because excess sweating is often caused by an underlying medical condition, you should consult a doctor if it persists. Your doctor can help find the possible causes and offer solutions for treatment.
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. There are two types of hyperhidrosis:
The excessive sweating can be “focal,” which means you have sweating localized to certain areas such as the armpits, groin, or hands and feet. Generalized hyperhidrosis, on the other hand, affects your entire body.
This seems to be tied to genetics, which means it is inherited from a parent or is shared with a sibling or other family members.
This can be caused by a long list of underlying health conditions including:
Although sweating is a fact of life, when you experience excess sweating it could indicate you have an underlying health issue.
When you experience excess sweating it could indicate you have an underlying health issue.
Finding an effective treatment may be as simple as trying out a clinical strength antiperspirant, making dietary and/or lifestyle changes. You may also want to talk to your doctor about medications or medical treatments available for your particular condition.
While you are searching for ways to prevent excessive sweating, look to Ejis to help protect your clothes from embarrassing sweat marks and body odor. Our sweat proof undershirts and sweat proof boxer briefs act as a protective layer between your clothes and your sweat. (Buy from our shop or on Amazon.)
Published on November 11, 2019, updated on April 4, 2020.
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