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Heavy Sweating - Topic Overview

Why do people sweat?

Sweating is your body's way of cooling down and getting rid of some chemicals. Sometimes heavy sweating is normal. You may sweat a lot when you exercise, when you are too hot, or when you are frightened.

It's normal for teenagers to sweat more than they did when they were younger. A teen's sweat glands are growing along with the rest of his or her body.

And menopause often causes women to have heavy sweating now and then.

But some people have a condition that makes them sweat too much. They may drip sweat even when it's not hot and they're not exercising. Some people carry a towel around with them because their hands are always wet with sweat.

For these people, sweating is a problem that can be very hard to live with, even though they have no other health problems. In most cases, there's no known cause for this condition.

What else can cause very heavy sweating?

Certain problems such as diabetes, heart failure, anxiety, and overactive thyroid can cause heavy sweating. And some drugs may cause heavy sweating as a side effect.

What can you do at home?

It can be upsetting to have sweat drip from your face and palms or to have smelly feet and shoes. It may even cause you to avoid having relationships that involve any kind of touching.

These tips may help:

  • You may be able to reduce the amount you sweat by lowering stress in your life.
  • Bathe 1 or 2 times a day with soap and water. Don't scrub your skin too much, because that can irritate it. Dry your skin well after bathing.
  • Use a deodorant with antiperspirant. Try putting it on at night before bed.
  • Wear clothing made of material that lets your skin breathe. Cotton, wool, silk, and linen are good choices. When you exercise, wear material that removes (wicks) the moisture from your skin.
  • Keep an extra shirt at work or in a school locker.
  • Attach pads (underarm or dress shields) to the armpit area of clothing to absorb sweat. You can buy these pads in sports or clothing stores.
  • Let your shoes dry out for a day after you wear them. If possible, set them in a place where the sun will shine on them. That will help kill the bacteria that cause the smell.
  • Change your socks at least once a day. Wash your socks after each wearing.
  • Use foot powder or talc in your shoes and socks and on your feet. Put inserts in your shoes to absorb some of the sweat. Go barefoot for a while each day to let your feet dry out.
  • Limit hot drinks, such as coffee and tea, which can make you sweat more.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 01, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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