Excessive Sweating – Rid Yourself of the Smell and Stains​​

Written by: Bianca Villanueva – BS (Psychology)

Last updated date : January 12, 2023

Sweating while your body is working harder than usual is normal. In fact a bit of excessive sweating might make you feel better; knowing that you are working hard. But do you also have to make sure to wipe your hand before you handshake? Is there a tissue you carry around to routinely wipe the drooling sweat off your face and body? Even if it’s not hot. These issues may be due to excessive sweating, otherwise

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Chapter 1:

How Much Sweating Is Too Much Sweating?

Scared young boy sweating heavily from his forehead

Excessive sweating can be a hassle, to say the very least. However, if you just went for a run or a workout, not sweating would be the problem. Sweating is a natural response of the body. It can be a response to weather, stress, illnesses, feelings, etc. The bottom line is that there is almost always a reason.

However, have you ever been sitting next to your family, watching a movie at a mild temperature, with a cool breeze blowing in thorough a window, and still feel your armpits full of sweat? This degree of excessive, unexpected sweating might be worth looking into.

If sweating happens without a clear cause, you should speak to your doctor. The good news is, in most cases sweating is harmless. But not in all cases. Which is why it’s important to get your doctor’s advice.

Chapter 2:

Are There Types of Excessive Sweating?

There are two main types of excessive sweating conditions that are common.

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis (Localized sweating)

This is the most common type of excessive sweating. It is more like a sweat switch that never flips off. This condition may usually start developing during childhood or adolescence. This is not an illness. Individuals with hyperhidrosis are healthy. In other words, hyperhidrosis is a condition that creates uneasiness and also has a medical explanation.

The above condition is called ‘focal’ or ‘localized’ because the excess sweating happens in specific places. These places include underarms, face, hands, feet, or groin. Therefore, symptoms occur on both sides at once. However, a very minor inconvenience can trigger these sweat glands. An event as basic as thinking of an upcoming exam and be slightly nervous and end up dampened with sweat.

Though the medical risk is low, the impact of excessive sweating is nowhere near being so. The effect of this condition between relationships, work, and other day-to-day activities can make one’s life miserable and lonely. However, there are those who are merely inconvenienced. They simply go about their day. There are also those who are ashamed to the point they reduce every type of interaction.

Why does primary excessive sweating happen?

Nobody is sure of the causes of localized excess sweating. Experts believe that this tends to happen because of small malfunctions in the nervous system. Primary excessive sweating can be inherited. In most cases, those who are affected by this condition are more likely to have a parent or a sibling with the same issue.

Secondary General Hyperhidrosis (Generalized Sweating)

This situation is much less common than localized excess sweating.

Generalized excessive sweating tends to start developing in adulthood. As opposed to localized excess sweating, general hyperhidrosis makes you sweat all over your body. Its medical conditions are also more serious than primary excessive sweating, since secondary excessive sweating takes place due to an underlying medical condition or as a side effect of medication. This also leads to excessive sweating, especially at night.

Why does Secondary Excessive Sweating Happen?

Excessive sweating causes may be due to underlying medical conditions.A few such conditions include:
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Lung diseases
  • Spinal code injuries
  • Parkinson’s
  • Infectious diseases
  • Thyroid problems
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Arthritis

Chapter 3:

Do I Need Medical Attention for Excessive Sweating?

As alarming as it may sound, too much sweating may be signaling you that you need urgent medical attention. Therefore, watch out for the symptoms below, to recognize these signs.

Elevated Body Responses After a Change of Medications

If an individual’s prescribed meds were changed, doses were elevated, or any other substance change done may be causing excessive sweating. However, there is a list of drugs that cause elevated sweating as a side effect. You can request your doctor to educate you on the side effects that the prescribed drugs may have on you.

Extreme Sweating at Night

Waking up with sheets and pillows wet of sweat, at a room temperature that is not so hot maybe a need to consult a doctor.

Generalized Excessive Sweating

Sweating should be limited to places that are rich with sweat glands (underarms, hands, face, feet, or groin). If not, this can be an alarming sign. Such sweating happens all over the body. Therefore, this is a symptom of secondary general hyperhidrosis and thus may happen due to an underlying illness.

Asymmetrical Sweating

Asymmetrical sweating is, sweating from only one side of the body. For example, one underarm, one side of the forehead, etc. Since this situation is not normal, it requires medical attention.

Developing Excessive Sweat Issues with Age

If excessive sweat issue develops during middle age or older, you should be concerned.

Disrupted Daily Activities Due to Excessive Sweating

If the sweating is so severe to the point it has you canceling plans, changing clothes every so often, makes you want to be on your own due to embarrassment, you should contact your doctor. There may be no underlying issue, but there are treatments to make your life much easier.

Family History of Hyperhidrosis

If you are starting to see signs of over-sweating and you also have a close family member that is affected with the excessive sweating issue, medical attention can help you to treat the problem before it worsens.

Excessive Sweating Accompanied by Other Illness Signs

If you sweat along with fatigue, insomnia, nausea, high fever, increased thirst, urination, and cough.

The young man with left arm raced with a bad smell emanating from the underarm area

Chapter 4:

Can Excessive Sweating Be Treated?

Simply speaking, yes. Most excessive sweating causes can be treated. Treatment may differ with the causes, especially when it comes to secondary excessive sweating. However, the problem is that many tend to not notice, not care, or choose to suffer quietly without reaching out for help. As a result, the longer this issue meddles with one’s life, the more life-altering it gets.

Below are a few treatment methods one can try on themselves. Most of these methods are commonly used by the majority to control daily sweating.

  • Using over-the-counter antiperspirants and applying them on the affected areas.
  • Staying clean by bathing daily, body washes, etc.
  • Using clothes made of natural materials.
  • Not wearing socks often
  • Avoid wearing heavy clothes. Wear light so it does not trap sweat.

If these simple changes make no difference, below are further help you can get through medical professionals.

Prescribed Drugs and Antiperspirants

These prescription medicines are stronger compared to what is available over the counter. The prescribed antiperspirants are more likely to contain aluminum. These are the most basic methods used to treat mild cases of Hyperhidrosis.


During this treatment, a low electrical current will be traveling through the water, while the patient sits on the water with hands and feet touching it. This blocks the sweat from surfacing your skin. After repeating this treatment several times, the excessive sweating will stop. However, it may require monthly maintenance to keep it that way since the effect is temporary.

This is generally considered a safe method. However, it can be questionable if being used on pregnant women, individuals with metal implants, cardiac patients, or epileptic individuals.


Botox injection affects the nerves in a way that stops triggering excessive sweating. In other words, it is a nerve toxin that temporarily paralyzes muscles. This is an approved treatment for those who suffer from extreme armpit sweating. Therefore, the injection is done to each armpit. However, this is not a treatment approved for use on palms or feet.

Mira Dry and Lasers

Mira Dry is a treatment method for excessive underarm sweating. This uses heat to destroy sweat glands. During this long process, Anesthesia may be used to cool down the skin.

Lasers focus on a heat beam to destroy underarm sweat glands. Overall, this is a faster process with a faster recovery. However, treatments must be performed in a doctor’s office. Severe consequences will take place in case of an emergency or a mistake. However, once the sweat glands are destroyed, they do not grow back.


Surgery to stop excessive sweating will be performed on the sympathetic nerves that are responsible for sweating. This is a very effective method which is also risky since most of the post-op complications are not reversible. In addition, if the concern is sweating of the underarms a process to remove sweat glands (not sympathetic nerve-related) can be effective.

Chapter 5:

Diagnosis of Excessive Sweating

Initial blood or urine tests will be ordered to rule out basic issues. These involve low blood sugar or thyroid issues.

After the basic tests, doctors may direct the below questions at you in order to find out the cause of your excessive sweating and to decide on the proper treatment.

  • Do you always carry clothes or napkins to wipe your sweat away? Does forgetting one immediately make you uncomfortable?
  • Having to change your clothes often, even without going out.
  • How often, is often?
  • Have you ever detached yourself from interactions? Have you lost bonds due to that?
  • How often do you refresh yourself with a bath?
  • Do you take any medications?
  • Do you have a family history of Hyperhidrosis?

For further clarification, a powder that is sensitive to the skin will be applied to the effective area. Afterward, the patient is exposed to different heat levels. Individuals that are not affected by hyperhidrosis do not get affected by heat to the point their palms sweat. This helps doctors identify whether the patient is to be diagnosed with excessive sweating or if it is an elevated scenario of normal sweating.

Chapter 6:

Why Is Medical Attention Necessary for Excessive Sweating?

Sad girl sweating heavily from her underarms in front of two girls happily speaking at the bus stop

Excessive sweating is a disturbing situation that tends to make its victims uncomfortable and helpless. It is understandable that the continuous patches and smell may make one want to alienate themselves to avoid embarrassment. Thus, it takes a toll on an individual’s personality and self-confidence. This may hinder their chances at life, love and take away opportunities they may never get. Is sweating worth losing your dreams and goals over?

Doctors that work with patients affected with an excessive sweating report that they are one of the happiest kinds of people to leave treatment centers. Their journey to regain confidence is joyful. Therefore, doctors encourage all the patients to bring themselves to receive medical attention. Patients that have gotten their sweating issues treated are rid of many worries that held them back.

Other than this significant psychological impact, with excessive sweating, comes complications such as skin irritation conditions (rashes, warts), Bacterial infections. It only gets worse as you go, with many troublesome side effects added to the original discomforts of excessive sweating.

Chapter 7:

Do’s and Don’ts

Until you take the help necessary to completely rid yourself of this issue, these are a few dos and don’ts you can follow to temporarily reduce the negative effects of excessive sweating.


  • Do stay clean. Refresh yourself often.
  • Wear light clothing.
  • Do try to reduce the time wearing the same pair of socks.
  • Do wash your clothes. Especially socks and underwear.
  • Do try to change shoes. Avoid wearing the same shoes every day.
  • Use Leather shoes over other materials.
  • Follow medical advice (stated below)
  • Look for treatment options.

Do Not

  • Try not to wear fitted tight clothes. They tend to make the sweat patches much more visible.
  • Do not wear footwear that has no air intake. It will cause your feet to be sweatier.
  • Do not engage in activities that make you sweat harder.
  • Do not ignore early symptoms. Meet a doctor.

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92 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

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