Woman feeling so hot in the city

Do You Sweat More Than Others? Decoding the Reasons and Introducing Hyperhidrosis

Sweating is a natural and essential phenomenon to regulate our body temperature.

Indeed, when we are hot, our body produces sweat to cool us down and keep our body temperature at a stable level.

However, some people sweat excessively, which can be bothersome and uncomfortable on a daily basis.

If you are wondering why you sweat so much and if it could be due to a medical condition, this article is for you.

We’ll take you through the possible causes of excessive sweating in detail and explain how to recognize hyperhidrosis, a condition characterized by abnormal sweat production.

Understanding sweating and its mechanisms

Before tackling the subject of hyperhidrosis, it is important to understand the mechanisms of perspiration and why it is necessary for our body.

  • Thermal regulation: Perspiration is a means of regulating body temperature. When we are hot, the sweat glands located in our skin produce sweat, which then evaporates on the surface of our epidermis. This process releases heat and cools our body.
  • Elimination of waste: Sweating also eliminates certain waste and toxins present in our body. Sweat is composed mainly of water, but it contains mineral salts, amino acids and metabolic waste products which are eliminated when we sweat.
  • Skin protection: Sweat has a protective role for our skin. It maintains the hydration of the epidermis and forms a barrier against bacteria and fungi, thanks to the presence of antimicrobial substances.

Factors influencing perspiration

Several factors can influence the amount of sweat produced by our body and explain why some people sweat more than others.

  • Ambient temperature: The hotter it is, the more our body needs to cool down and produce sweat. People living in hot climates or working in overheated environments are therefore more likely to sweat more.
  • Physical activity: When we exercise, our body produces heat and our body temperature increases. To compensate, our body produces sweat, which is why we sweat more during physical activity.
  • Stress and emotions: Stress and strong emotions can cause our sympathetic nervous system to react, which stimulates sweat production. This is why we tend to sweat more when we are stressed or emotionally upset.
  • Hormones: Hormones also play a role in the regulation of perspiration. Pregnant or postmenopausal women may experience hot flashes and night sweats, due to hormonal fluctuations.
  • Genetic factors: The amount of sweat produced also varies from one person to another depending on their genetic heritage. Some people simply have more sweat glands, causing them to sweat more.

Hyperhidrosis: excessive and abnormal sweating

If you sweat a lot more than normal, you may have a condition called hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive production of sweat, which exceeds the body’s needs to regulate its temperature. This excessive sweating can affect different parts of the body, such as the hands, feet, armpits or face, and can have a significant impact on the quality of life of those affected. To determine if you have hyperhidrosis, it is important to know the different types of this condition and their characteristics.

The different types of hyperhidrosis

There are two main types of hyperhidrosis:

  • Primary hyperhidrosis: Also called idiopathic or focal hyperhidrosis, this is the most common form of the disorder, affecting approximately 1-3% of the population. Primary hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating localized to certain parts of the body (hands, feet, armpits, face), with no underlying medical cause. It is usually bilateral and symmetrical, meaning it affects both sides of the body equally. Primary hyperhidrosis often appears in childhood or adolescence and can persist throughout life.
  • Secondary hyperhidrosis: It is caused by another medical condition or by the use of certain medications. Secondary hyperhidrosis can affect the whole body (generalized hyperhidrosis) or be localized to certain areas (focused hyperhidrosis). Potential causes of secondary hyperhidrosis include hormonal disorders (hyperthyroidism, diabetes), infections, neurological diseases, cancers, or the use of certain medications (antidepressants, painkillers, etc.). In this case, treating the underlying condition or stopping the offending medication may help reduce excessive sweating.

How do you know if you have hyperhidrosis?

To determine if you have hyperhidrosis, it’s important to assess the impact of your excessive sweating on your daily life and see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Here are some signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of hyperhidrosis:

  • Excessive sweating: If you sweat much more than average, even in the absence of heat or physical exertion, this may be a sign of hyperhidrosis.
  • Localized sweating: Primary hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating on certain parts of the body, such as the hands, feet, armpits, or face. If you notice that your sweating is particularly profuse in these areas, it may be a sign of hyperhidrosis.
  • Discomfort and impact on quality of life: If your excessive sweating is causing you discomfort and affecting your quality of life, it may be a sign of hyperhidrosis. People with hyperhidrosis may experience embarrassment, anxiety, and difficulties in social and professional relationships due to their excessive sweating.
  • Skin complications: People with hyperhidrosis are more likely to develop skin infections, irritations and complications related to the constant moisture of their skin. These problems can also be an indicator of hyperhidrosis.

If you think you have hyperhidrosis, it is essential to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. A healthcare professional will be able to assess your situation, rule out any underlying causes, and offer solutions to manage your excessive sweating. Thanks to a better understanding of the mechanisms of perspiration and the various treatments available, it is possible to effectively manage this disorder and regain comfort in everyday life. Do not hesitate to consult a health professional to obtain personalized support adapted to your situation.