Back to Living Better

Signs you’re sweating too much

There is a very small percentage of the population, 1 to 3 percent, that has hyperhidrosis, a condition characterized by excessive sweating due to overactive sweat glands. The exact cause of hyperhidrosis is unknown, but the symptoms usually begin around adolescence. For example, a child might sweat for no apparent reason, regardless if he or she is in a cool room or out in the sun. The areas most affected by hyperhidrosis are the underarms, hands, feet and face.

There are also some cases where medical conditions cause excessive sweating, including:

  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Cancer

Certain medications can trigger sweating as well, like:

  • Antidepressants
  • Medications for dry mouth
  • Mineral supplements, like zinc

Losing fluids while exercising

In hot, humid climates, sweat is not easily absorbed into the air and the body doesn’t cool itself as efficiently as usual. Sweat beads work as an insulator, which can lead to overheating and fatigue.

Kathirae Severson, D.O., an internal medicine physician at Piedmont Physicians Group, encourages people living in hot climates to exercise in the early morning, later in the evening or in an air conditioned building.

Dr. Severson also points out that it is important not to mistake sweating for burning more calories.

“Your body is simply working harder to cool off and even fit athletes can suffer from dehydration,” she explains. “Therefore it’s important to hydrate well before exercising.”

Dr. Severson recommends drinking 8 to 16 ounces of water two hours before exercising. Then hydrate during exercise. She also warns that if you lose weight during exercise from sweating, it is important to replace each pound of weight loss with 23 ounces of water and electrolytes.

Take control of sweat

In most cases, a good antiperspirant and loose-fitting clothing should help minimize sweating.

“Hand and foot sweating not related to exercise and excessive sweating when nervous can be embarrassing,” Dr. Severson says. “Follow up with your doctor if you have these symptoms, because if your entire body is sweating as if you worked out, you may have an underlying anxiety disorder, a genetic condition, or other disorder that should be evaluated by a physician.”

Dr. Severson practices at Piedmont Physicians Mountainside II Internal Medicine, located at 220 J L White Drive, Suite 110, Jasper, GA 30143. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Severson or one of our other primary care providers. Save time, book online.

Related Stories

Schedule your appointment online