What to Do if You Sweat Too Much

Learn what excessive sweating is and what you can do to prevent it.

Sanaz Majd, MD,
January 25, 2011

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What Else Can Cause the Sweats?

If you are an excessive sweater, it’s important to make sure you have hyperhidrosis and not some other more serious condition. One important distinguishing factor is that hyperhidrosis does not affect the entire body and does not occur during sleep (only in the awakening hours).  Here are a few other causes of excessive sweating:

  • Hormonal changes, like in hot flashes of menopause

  • Thyroid disorders

  • Certain medications

Other very rare causes of excessive sweating include:  tuberculosis, HIV, cancer, and nerve damage.

When to See Your Doctor About Excessive Sweating

So please seek medical attention if:

  • Over-the-counter antiperspirants do not help

  • The sweating is generalized, all over the body, and not just in one localized part

  • The sweating has developed since you have started a new medication

  • You are experiencing an associated cough or weight loss

  • The sweating seems concerning to you in any way

How to Treat Excessive Sweating?

So as long as your sweating really is hyperhidrosis, it’s nothing anything to lose sleep over healthwise.  That said, I do realize that it can cause some significant social and professional distress.  There are some treatment options available to help diminish the symptoms if the sweating causes a decrease in quality of life for you:

  • Antiperspirants:  Antiperspirants with an aluminum ingredient will help to clog up those sweat glands, thereby decreasing sweat release.  You can use this even on the soles and palms, in addition to the underarms.

  • Prescription Aluminum:  If over-the-counter antiperspirants are not sufficient, there are several prescription alternatives containing aluminum components, such as DrySol or Xerac, that can be used nightly, and then gradually decreased to once a week applications. 

  • Treat the Anxiety:  In those with an emotional component, sometimes treating the anxiety with anti-anxiety medications or special types of blood pressure medications, called beta blockers, may help control the sweating.

  • Botox:  Botox works to block the chemical release between nerve cells, and hence, decreases the production of sweat.  However, Botox does wear off and is only temporary relief  In addition, areas with sweat glands tend to be some of the more painful areas of the body to inject, and some patients find themselves unable to tolerate Botox injections at these sites.

So if you’re an excessive sweater, try not to, well, sweat it. There are treatments you can try that will help you lessen the embarrassment and get back on with your life.

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only.  This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider.  Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

Woman Sweating image courtesy of Shutterstock