Let’s Talk Sweat: Understanding Why We Do It and How Much is too Much

Updated on April 30, 2021

Sweating is a common occurrence after strenuous physical activity like running or doing some extensive energy task. At other times, the weather is to blame. 

Although messy and stinky, sweating is a normal body mechanism without which one may have to see a doctor. But why do we sweat, and how much sweating is too much?

This post will answer everything sweating, including why it happens, when it can be considered too much, and the cause. Keep reading!

Why Do We Sweat

Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling off. Emotions, stress hormones, temperature, and physical activities send a message to the brain that your body needs to cool off. The brain, in turn, stimulates the sweat glands to release sweat, which helps maintain temperature and get rid of toxins in the body.

Although a good thing, sweat triggers foul body odor, especially in the armpits. To stay fresh, many people turn to antiperspirants that help reduce the flow of sweat from the underarm by blocking the sweat poles. However, this remedy doesn’t work for all people. 

For people suffering from hyperhidrosis, a condition characterized by excessive sweating, regular antiperspirants may not be the best option. In such cases, you may want to try hyperhidrosis medication over the counter, or ask your doctor to prescribe the appropriate medication that will help you manage your condition.

How Much Is Too Much?

Some people sweat beyond their bodies’ physiological needs, like cooling. This kind of sweating is usually a result of a medical condition known as hyperhidrosis which is usually characterized by various symptoms, including:

  1. Excessively Sweaty Hands

The hands are one of the most common body parts affected by hyperhidrosis. They tend to get so sweaty that it becomes difficult to hold on to things that can get in the way of doing your job. 

  1. Sweating Even When Inactive 

If you notice beads of sweat on your skin or if your clothes are getting soaked in sweat even when you are resting, it could be a sign of a problem, and you may need to seek medical help.

  1. Sweating from Some Specific Body Parts

Normal sweating after a physical activity involves sweat dripping from almost every area on your skin. However, if you notice that you are excessively sweating from specific parts while other parts are dry, you could be having hyperhidrosis.

  1. Frequent Skin Infections

Fungi and some bacteria strains thrive in warm and moist conditions. Since the skin of individuals who sweat excessively is moist almost all of the time, it becomes a good breeding ground for fungus and bacteria that cause skin infections. By maintaining high levels of personal hygiene, a person may be able to minimize infections.

Causes of Excessive Sweating

The most significant percentage of people with excessive sweating conditions have primary focal hyperhidrosis. Doctors believe that this condition is caused by overactive nerves that send signals to the sweat glands even when inactive, triggering sweating. This condition is genetic and runs in some families.

For a smaller percentage of people, hyperhidrosis results from other health complications and is referred to as secondary hyperhidrosis. Unlike primary focal hyperhidrosis, where the patient sweats mainly from specific areas, secondary hyperhidrosis is characterized by sweating too much all over the body. 

Some health problems that can potentially trigger excessive sweating include alcoholism, diabetes, menopause, some types of cancer, nervous system disorder, and thyroid problems.


While there is no known cure for excessive sweating, this condition can be managed. If you are suffering from hyperhidrosis, you do not have to suffer in silence. Talking to a dermatologist can help you discover ways to manage your situation and live life to the fullest.

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