Causes and reasons of excessive sweating

by Marcus Fritze on Dec 27, 2022

Causes and reasons of excessive sweating

The human body has about 3 million so-called eccrine sweat glands, which are responsible for heat regulation and thus protect the body from overheating. They sit at the transition from the dermis to the subcutaneous tissue. But how exactly does heat regulation work? Thats is quite easy. The wet sweat that comes out of the pores evaporates on our skin and a cooling effect occurs. One also speaks of evaporative cooling.

Sweating is therefore a vital process. When generating energy alone, when nutrients are burned, so much heat is generated that the body temperature inside the body should actually rise by about one degree per hour. Heat, physical exertion and excitement can also increase body temperature. To ensure that none of these factors lead to the body overheating, the body produces sweat – our natural and endogenous cooling agent.

In some people, however, the sweat glands produce an unnecessarily large amount of coolant. They sweat continuously and extremely heavily, without being subjected to any particular physical exertion, for example. The actual causes and reasons for excessive sweating are varied and often difficult to identify.

Profuse sweating of unknown cause

For reasons that have not yet been clarified, the sweat glands of some people produce more sweat than is actually necessary for thermoregulation and energy production. It is assumed that the sweat glands are overactive or the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the production of the sweat glands, is overactive. Those affected often sweat paroxysms and up to several times a day. The sweat attacks are usually limited to certain body regions, such as armpits, soles of the feet, back, scalp or forehead. For some people, even minor stimuli are enough and the body begins to sweat. For others, however, the sweating occurs suddenly and without a prior trigger. The intensity of sweating also varies significantly: the symptoms range from beads of sweat on the forehead and dark sweat stains under the armpits to downright torrents. Those affected are also usually only overtaken by the unpleasant sweat attacks during the day. At night, on the other hand, they often have no complaints.

Stress as a trigger for profuse sweating

Stress and mental strain are considered to be one of the main causes of heavy sweating. Almost everyone knows this phenomenon in a weakened form: if you are tense, excited or nervous, your body can start sweating. Damp, trembling hands and a few small beads of sweat on the hairline are a completely normal reaction of the body to a stressful situation.

On the other hand, if someone is permanently under electricity, this can also affect sweating. Many people who are under constant stress complain about sudden sweating, even at night. The psyche plays a decisive role in this context. Constant stress has a negative effect on mental well-being and can lead to depressive moods, sleep disorders and nervousness, among other things. As a result of the psychological stress, the body releases more stress hormones, which in turn give the command to sweat.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause

In addition, hormonal changes can also be the reason for increased sweating. Heavy sweating is therefore not uncommon during pregnancy or menopause. Especially during the menopause, many women complain about sudden sweating and increased sweating. It is assumed that the reason is to be found in the falling estrogen levels. This upsets the hormonal balance and the body's heat regulation functions inaccurately: the brain sends a cooling signal when it really shouldn't.

Heavy sweating can also occur during pregnancy. Here, too, the hormonal changes in the body play a decisive role. The female body no longer has to supply one person with sufficient nutrients, but two. The result: blood circulation is stimulated and body temperature rises. In order to compensate for the rise in temperature and protect the body from overheating, sweat production is increased. If you feel unwell, you can counteract it with light clothing made from natural fibers and a conscious, balanced diet - but in principle this is a completely normal bodily reaction.

Unhealthy Lifestyle

In addition to the causes just mentioned, lifestyle often plays a major role. In order to counteract heavy sweating, you should first take a close look at your own lifestyle. Am I moving enough? I do sport? Am I eating healthy? Am I too stressed? These are all factors that can affect sweat production. It is often spicy foods, too much coffee or alcohol that bring sweat production into high gear. Obesity is also a common cause, because the extra pounds make even small movements more difficult, so that the body reacts to even small exertion. However, if you sweat excessively or notice a change despite a healthy lifestyle, you can ask your family doctor or dermatologist for advice.