How to Manage Hyperhidrosis
Sweating is a bodily function that helps regulate your body temperature. Also called perspiration, sweating is the release of a salt-based fluid from your sweat glands.
Changes in your body temperature, the outside temperature, or your emotional state can cause sweating. The most common areas of sweating on the body include:
- palms of the hands
- soles of the feet
Sweating in normal amounts is an essential bodily process.
Not sweating enough and sweating too much can both cause problems. The absence of sweat can be dangerous because your risk of overheating increases. Excessive sweating may be more psychologically damaging than physically damaging.
How sweating works
Your body is equipped with an average of three million sweat glands. There are two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine.
Eccrine sweat glands
The eccrine sweat glands are located all over your body and produce a lightweight, odorless sweat.
Apocrine sweat glands
The apocrine sweat glands are concentrated in the hair follicles of the following parts of your body:
These glands release a heavier, fat-laden sweat that carries a distinct odor. The smell, referred to as body odor, occurs when apocrine sweat breaks down and mixes with the bacteria on your skin.
Your autonomic nervous system controls your sweating function. This is the part of your nervous system that functions on its own, without your conscious control.
When the weather is hot or your body temperature rises due to exercise or fever, sweat is released through ducts in your skin. It moistens the surface of your body and cools you down as it evaporates.
Sweat is made mostly of water, but about 1 percent of sweat is a combination of salt and fat.
Causes of sweating
Sweating is normal and occurs regularly in your daily living. However, a variety of causes can stimulate increased sweating.
Elevated body or environmental temperatures are the primary cause of increased sweating.
Emotions and stress
The following emotions and conditions can also make you break out in a heavy sweat:
- emotional stress
Sweating may be a response to the foods you eat as well. This type of perspiration is called gustatory sweating. It can be provoked by:
- spicy foods
- caffeinated drinks, including soda, coffee, and tea
- alcoholic beverages
Medications and illness
Sweating may also be caused by medication use and certain illnesses, such as:
- fever and fever-reducing drugs
- hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)
- painkillers, including morphine
- synthetic thyroid hormones
- complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a rare form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or leg
The hormonal fluctuations associated with menopause can also trigger sweating. Menopausal women often experience night sweats and sweating during hot flashes.
Lifestyle adjustments for sweating
A normal amount of sweating generally doesn’t require medical treatment. You can take steps to make yourself more comfortable and minimize your sweating:
- Wear several light layers of clothing that allow your skin to breathe.
- Remove layers of clothing as you heat up.
- Wash dried sweat off of your face and body for optimum comfort.
- Change out of sweaty clothing to reduce the risk of bacterial or yeast infections.
- Drink water or sports drinks to replace fluids and electrolytes lost through sweating.
- Apply an underarm antiperspirant or deodorant to reduce odor and control sweating.
- Remove foods from your diet that increase your sweating.
If illness or medications cause uncomfortable sweating, talk to your doctor about alternative treatments.
Complications of sweating
Sweating may indicate a medical problem if it occurs with other symptoms. Let your doctor know if you experience these as well:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- continued perspiration for an extended period of time without cause
Losing weight from excessive sweating isn’t normal and should also be checked by a doctor.
The following conditions result from either excessive sweating or the absence of sweating. Consult your healthcare provider if you feel that you sweat more than normal or that you don’t sweat at all:
- Hyperhidrosis is a condition of excessive sweating from the armpits, hands, and feet. This condition can be embarrassing and may prevent you from going about your daily routines.
- Hypohidrosis is the absence of sweat. Sweat is your body’s way of releasing excess heat. You can become dehydrated and have a higher-than-normal risk for heatstroke if you suffer from hypohidrosis.
Sweating is a normal bodily function. Beginning at puberty, most people start to use antiperspirants to minimize sweating and odor.
Sweating either too much or too little can indicate a medical problem. Sweating in conjunction with other symptoms may also indicate a health condition.
Make lifestyle adjustments to accommodate your sweating.
If this isn’t enough, consult your healthcare provider, especially if you feel you sweat too much or not at all.
Muscle aches, also known as myalgia, can be felt in any area of the body that has muscles. Depending on the cause, the discomfort may be mild or extremely severe.
Muscle aches can occur in adults and children. In many cases, sore and aching muscles are nothing to worry about and will resolve without medical treatment. However, muscle aches can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying illness.
The most common causes of muscle aches include:
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Stress can cause muscle aches, as well as headaches and shaking.
Stress makes it harder for the body to fight off disease. In people who are unwell and stressed, the muscles may ache as the body struggles to combat inflammation or infection.
Symptoms of stress include:
- heart palpitations or an increased heart rate
high blood pressure
- chest pains
- feeling breathless or hyperventilating
People can try to combat stress by learning relaxation techniques and removing themselves from stressful situations where possible.
A person may experience muscular aches and pains because they are not getting the proper nutrition from their diet.
Vitamin D plays a particularly important role in ensuring that the muscles function correctly. Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium, and a deficiency can lead to hypocalcemia.
Hypocalcemia is a condition in which the blood calcium level is low, which can affect the bones and organs in addition to the muscles.
A person who is dehydrated may experience muscle aches.
Drinking enough water is vital to keep the body functioning properly as it can quickly begin to shut down without adequate fluids. Dehydration causes essential bodily functions, such as breathing and digestion, to become more difficult.
People should be aware of how much water they are drinking. The recommended amount is 6–8 glasses of water each day. If hot weather or exercise causes a person to sweat more than usual, they will need to drink more than this.
Sprains and strains
Strains, sprains, and other injuries can cause muscle pain and discomfort.
People may find that a particular area of the body becomes stiff and achy if it is injured. Pulling muscles can also cause muscle soreness.
Some sprains and strains do not need treatment, but a person should rest, take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, or use heat packs to ease the symptoms.
However, if the injury is causing significant pain, restricting normal movement, or not improving with time, it is advisable to make an appointment with a doctor.
A lack of sleep can have a severe impact on the body.
Sleep allows the body to rest and recuperate, and a person’s muscles may ache if they do not get enough sleep.
A lack of quality sleep can also make people feel sluggish and slow. It can affect people’s ability to think clearly and make it harder for them to carry out everyday tasks.
Too much physical activity
Overdoing exercise can lead to stiff, sore muscles.
The following factors can make a person more susceptible to muscle aches and pains when exercising:
- being unused to exercise
- trying a new exercise
- exercising more intensely or for longer than usual
- failing to warm up or stretch properly
Infections, diseases, and hereditary conditions
Many different medical issues can cause muscle aches. Conditions that most commonly affect the muscles include:
‘Warming up’ is a part of stretching and preparation for physical exertion or a performance by exercising or practicing gently beforehand, usually undertaken before a performance or practice. Athletes, singers, actors and others warm up before stressing their muscles. It is widely believed to prepare the muscles for vigorous actions and to prevent muscle cramps and injury due to overexertion.
Swimmers perform squats prior to entering the pool in a U.S. military base, 2011
A warm-up generally consists of a gradual increase in intensity in physical activity (a “pulse raiser”), joint mobility exercise, and stretching, followed by the activity. For example, before running or playing an intensive sport, athletes might slowly jog to warm their muscles and increase their heart rate. It is important that warm-ups be specific to the activity, so that the muscles to be used are activated. The risks and benefits of combining stretching with warming up are disputable, although it is generally believed that warming up prepares the athlete both mentally and physically.
Stretching is part of some warm-up routines, although a study in 2013 indicates that it weakens muscles in that situation. There are 3 types of stretches: ballistic, dynamic, and static:
- Ballistic Stretches involve bouncing or jerking. It is purported to help extending limbs during exercise, promoting agility and flexibility.
- Static Stretches involve flexing the muscles. This may help preventing injury and permit greater flexibility and agility. Note that static stretching for too long may weaken the muscles.
- Dynamic Stretching involves moving the body part in the desired way until reaching the full range of motion, to improve performance.
Warming up in other contexts
Psychologists, educators, singers, and similar professionals use warm-ups in therapeutic or learning sessions before starting or after a break; these warm-ups can include vocal and physical exercises, interactive and improvisational games, role plays, etc. A vocal warm-up can be especially important for actors and singers.
There has been contradictory evidence in terms of benefits of comprehensive warm-ups for preventing injury in football (soccer) players, with some studies showing some benefit while other showing no benefit. It has been suggested that it is specifically warm ups aimed at increasing body temperature, rather than targeting stretching, which can prevent injury. Warming up before an eccentric exercise has been shown to reduce the severity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
In baseball, warm-up swings using a standard weight bat are effective in increasing batting speed. In a 2010 meta-analysis, the authors concluded that in about four-fifths of the studies there was improvement in performance with various physical activities with warm-ups as opposed to without warm-ups. An increase in body temperature, specifically in the muscles, improves explosive skeletal muscle performance (e.g., jumping and sprinting).