Sweat glands in the human body have an important function to perform, that of, regulating the body temperature. By producing sweat the body cools itself down when it has become over heated due to physical exertion or due to environmental factors. The problem arises when some people experience profuse sweating or severe sweating which has nothing to do with physical activity or climatic factors. They naturally sweat more than normal. Who wants being perpetually drenched in sweat, perhaps accompanied by body odor as well and being looked at with distaste by others? Annoyance, frustration or even depression may set in and therefore, the sooner it is treated the better.
Medically, profuse sweating is referred to as hyperhidrosis which is further categorized as primary and secondary hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis affects the face, feet, hands and underarms while secondary hyperhidrosis produces profuse sweating all over the body. Primary profuse sweating is connected to the sympathetic nervous system and its causes are not very clear. Secondary excessive sweating is associated with certain causes like heredity, abnormal functions of the brain and nerves, puberty and menopause and obesity.
As far as heredity is concerned some people are genetically predisposed to excessive sweating. Abnormal functioning of the brain happens when the hypothalamus area of the brain which controls the sweating causes malfunction of a sensory response in this area of the brain and the result is abnormal sweating. The nerves which act as the receptors of the rain are scattered all over the body similar to the sweat glands. When these nerves malfunction due to wrong stimuli, the sweat glands go into over drive.
Adolescence is the period when the body undergoes hormonal changes and adolescents tend to sweat profusely as a result of physiological and psychological changes. Similarly during menopause, women experience hormonal and physical changes which may result in excessive sweating. Obesity is also one of the main reasons for profuse sweating as overweight people tend to have over active sweat glands in order to excrete excess minerals.
Other viable reasons for profuse sweating include dietary habits and stress. Doctors may advise patients to change their dietary habits if they feel that consumption of certain food is aggravating the problem. For instance, those who drink a lot of coffee may be asked to cut down on coffee consumption as caffeine raises the body temperature leading to excessive sweating. Smoking and excess intake of alcohol also make some sweat more than usual. So, giving up smoking and drinking alcohol may be advisable for such people.
Stress, surprisingly has also become responsible for the sweat glands going into over production. As a response to stress the body manifests stress in some physical way which in many people may be in the form of profuse sweating. Physicians have realized the importance of advising stress management techniques as a way of reining in overactive sweat glands. Profuse sweating though embarrassing can be treated and sufferers need no longer be confined to their ivory towers.