Excessive sweating- how much is too much?

Sweating is a mechanism by which the body cools itself. It is a very important mechanism because without it, we would heat up and our bodies will fail. However, some people’s sweat glands tend to over-secrete and can lead to negative emotional and psychological effects.

My question is, is there really a quantifiable measure to how one sweats?

The answer is, it is quite subjective. However, when a person says they sweat too much, then it is most likely true.

It is one thing acknowledging it and another seeking Medical help for it. Most people find it embarrassing, so they don’t feel comfortable talking about it.Sweating and embarrassment

The good news is there are very effective methods in tackling this problem. However, the reasonable first step is to know what caused it.

There are two classifications for excessive sweating(The medical term for it is hyperhidrosis)


Sweating is seen on certain areas such as the palms, soles, armpits and forehead in times of anxiety, fear, anger, stress. In people with hyperhidrosis, sweating excessively may be seen on these parts of the body even at rest.

Sweating around the lips and mouth occurs when eating spicy food.

Sweating excessively
Man with Hyperhidrosis sweating very badly under armpit


Generalised form of sweating

In this case, Sweating is Seen on most of the body and there are several causes of this form.

Some of the causes could be


Diseases that cause hormonal imbalance most likely end up with malfunctioning of the sweat glands, thereby regulation of body temperature. Examples of these are Hyperthyroidism , hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) , menopause.

Drug side effects

Although medications are designed for cure , they always have one or more negative effects.drugs like Antidepressants, aspirin may cause generalised sweating as a side effect.

Genetic disorders like Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a  genetic disease where the content of secretions such as body sweat is not proportional. Therefore, the secretions are thick. It requires lifelong management .

Cancers And Infections like Tuberculosis

People usually complain of excessive night sweats in these cases.

How is it diagnosed?

A common and reliable test done at the Dermatology clinic is the Iodine and starch test. Iodine is applied to the affected area e.g Armpits , it is then allowed to dry and starch is rubbed afterwards. Hyperhidrosis is confirmed if the area turns blue.

Generalised Hyperhidrosis due to other causes are detected by careful review of the person’s complaints and further examinations are carried out.

TreatmentSweating excessively

The treatments below are carried out in the clinic .

  • Aluminium chloride  hexahydrate is a topical medication that  is prescribed. It is a solution that is applied nightly and washed off in the morning. It acts by blocks the sweat ducts.


  • Tap water iontophoresis is saved for those people that do not respond well to the above topical treatment.


  • Injection of Botulinum toxin type A ( popularly known as BoTox). It is done on areas such as armpits, palms, forehead . Depending on the dose, it can last for as long as 6 months.


  • Surgery: The last option if the above methods are not successful. An instance is the surgical reduction of fat in the armpits.

Source: The Merck manual

Thank You for reading xx




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