Why Do I Sweat so Much?

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We see examples of excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis every day. In your normal life, you would have encountered one such person if you don’t have it yourself.

One such friend had greasy palms and armpits that would require him to change shirts frequently in a day, and he was no stranger to the remarks that would do the rounds unbeknownst to him, thanks to the unusual body odor.

Perhaps if people knew why that happened they could’ve been a little more sensitive to this embarrassing affliction that was no fault of the guy. Strangely enough, regardless of these rude first impressions he went to become the president of our college.

To me that was one heck of a social comeback! But let’s read on to understand the stigma that excessive perspiration can cause so that we can sensitive to people who have to deal with this on a daily basis.

Perspiration

First and foremost, it is a normal thing to sweat or perspire. And how does this happen?

All mammals have sweat glands as we all and are further divided into two types of glands such as the apocrine and merocrine sweat glands. The Apocrine sweat glands in mammals are in the area of the armpits, groin and around the nipples.

Apocrine glands are much lesser in number as compared to its well-spread counterpart, the merocrine sweat glands that are located all over the surface of your body extending from the inner to the outer layers of the skin.

This type of sweat gland is located greater concentration on the skin of our palms and soles as compared to the other parts of our body.

So Why Do We Sweat?

Firstly, thermoregulation is very important for the body especially at times of excess activity, where the sweat excreted cools the surface of the skin and hence reduces body temperature. Secondly, it also works as a route to get rid of excess electrolytes and water that is a part of our body. Thirdly and finally, it protects our body from environmental hazards such as harmful chemicals and the growth of bacteria on our body.

So, by now you should’ve figured that it’s a good thing to sweat unlike our four-legged friends who just ‘sweat it off’ by panting.

Just like all things that can turn harmful when excessive in nature, sweating in large amounts is not only harmful for the body as well as cause danger and embarrassment (as in my friend’s case). So let’s look at the reason why excess sweating takes place…

Cause for Excessive Perspiration or Sweating

Doctors and researchers have concluded that the reason for this phenomenon to occur is mostly hereditary. As sweating is a function that is controlled by the autonomous nervous system that also controls common functions such as heart rate and blood pressure, we as humans have no control over this part of our nervous system.

Talk about being helpless… huh?

So you can only treat the symptoms and not the disease in this case, if you get my drift. This is why there is a blast of herbal medications, talcum powders, different oral medications, lotions, and injections of botox to combat the embarrassing odor (the bacterial breakdown of sweat). However, it also requires the person to change his clothes just as you would rush to do the last time you pissed in your pants… thanks to having one too many beers.

Conclusion

Hyperhidrosis is not fatal but can have a strong impact on one’s social, functional and emotional standing. Hence, it bodes well for the rest of us to treat them with dignity and respect and all the more when we should count ourselves fortunate to not inherit an annoying illness such as excessive sweating. And in most cases, that is all we need to do – be cognizant of another’s needs.

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Dr. Matthew L. Neddermeyer

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Dr. Matthew L. Neddermeyer

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