Why Do My Armpits Sweat so Much?

Sweating (perspiration) is the production of fluids, secreted by sweat glands in the skin, and it is completely normal. Actually, sweating is a necessary process that our body uses for thermoregulation and getting rid of toxins.

The exact amount of sweat we excrete depends on many factors related to the body, such as:

  • Age
  • Physical activity
  • Diet plan
  • Hormone activity
  • Diseases, etc.

However, some people have a problem with sweating and they feel like they’re an outlier. If you have ever thought to yourself “why do my armpits sweat so much?”, hyperhidrosis might be the answer you are looking for.

What Is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis, otherwise known as excessive sweating, isn’t a serious condition most of the time. In fact, it’s not always easy to tell if you have hyperhidrosis. Since there isn’t an effective and convenient way to measure your total amount of sweat, at the end of the day it all depends on how your sweating is impacting your life.

But while hyperhidrosis isn’t life-threatening, it can be quite an unpleasant social problem to endure. In some cases, people avoid social situations as much as they can because of the embarrassment that they feel when they sweat.

What’s interesting is that people who are diagnosed with excessive sweating will sweat regardless of the temperature. So wearing fewer layers isn’t the answer. Instead, this condition may force people to change their wardrobe into black and white clothes, so that the sweat is less visible.

Studies show that people who suffer from hyperhidrosis are more nervous (which only contributes more to the problem) than people who sweat normally. In some cases, it can lead to serious depression and other mental illnesses.

Hyperhidrosis isn’t really that rare. As a matter of fact, 3% of the overall population suffers from excessive sweating.

The condition usually starts in young adulthood or adolescence. It is common for hyperhidrosis to target specific areas like the armpits, hands, and feet.

Causes and Types of Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis doesn’t manifest the same way for everyone diagnosed with this condition. Depending on the causes that lead to excessive sweating, there are two types:

  • Primary focal hyperhidrosis
  • Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

With primary focal hyperhidrosis, the sweating usually occurs on the patient’s feet, face, hands, head, and underarms.

Although there aren’t any rock solid causes that can be blamed for this condition, it is known that it usually starts in childhood and that it’s impacted by your genetics. If you have primary focal hyperhidrosis, there is a 30% to 50% chance that you have a family history of this condition.

Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis

Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is more dangerous than the first type, as it is caused by certain medical conditions. It can also occur as a side effect of taking certain medications.

This type of hyperhidrosis usually starts in adulthood. A noticeable difference between the two types is the fact that patients who are diagnosed with secondary generalized hyperhidrosis sweat all over their bodies, or in unusual areas. They might also sweat during their sleep, which isn’t common for primary focal hyperhidrosis.

There are several conditions that might lead to this kind of excessive sweating, which include:

  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Adrenal gland disorders
  • Spinal injuries
  • Lung diseases
  • Menopause
  • Hormone disorders
  • Tuberculosis

Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis

The most common symptoms of excessive sweating are the following:

  • Excessive sweating occurs at least once a week
  • The same amount of sweat on both sides of your body
  • Excessive sweating that occurred for at least 6 months
  • Not sweating while you are sleeping
  • Excessive sweating began in young adulthood or childhood

When Should You Call Your Doctor?

As it was mentioned, hyperhidrosis may be a symptom of another, more serious disease. You should call your doctor if you:

  • Lost weight due to excessive sweating
  • Sweat when you sleep
  • Feel chest pain or pressure in the chest area
  • Sweat that comes with a fever

How Do You Treat Hyperhidrosis?

There are several options that you might try to get rid of this condition. The following methods are used for excessive sweating in all areas, including the armpits.

Specialized Antiperspirant

Doctors usually first prescribe an antiperspirant that contains a higher than average dose of aluminum chloride.

Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis is a treatment that uses low-level electrical currents and runs them through the affected areas. The procedure is completely painless and has a high success rate.

Fixing Your Lifestyle

For some people, a lifestyle change is all it takes. This includes fixing your diet (getting rid of junk food and other food that increases sweating, drinking more water, etc.) and becoming more physically active. Also, you should take frequent showers and wear clothes made of a material that lets your skin breathe.

Botox

Botox injections block nerves that stimulate your sweat glands. These successfully block the sweat. However, the effects last for about six months. After that period, the patients are required to take Botox injections again, as hyperhidrosis will return. This solution is relatively expensive and it’s not recommended for mild cases of this condition.

Surgery

There is a procedure that can remove your sweat glands from your armpits. Another procedure severs the nerves that carry messages to your sweat glands. But surgery is only considered once you have tried every other option.

Putting an End to Excessive Armpit Sweating

Hyperhidrosis can be quite an embarrassing problem to have to deal with. However, if you are diagnosed with the “harmless” type of hyperhidrosis, you should do everything you can in not to take this problem too seriously.

“Why do my armpits sweat so much” is a frequently asked question, and it’s important to know that you are not alone. Check out some of the solutions and don’t let the problem drag you down. But if you think you think the sweating may point to a more serious medical issue, talk to your doctor.

 

Resources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/hyperhidrosis#outlook
https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hyperhidrosis-sweating-when-should-you-see-doctor#1
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695293/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3960246/

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