Sweating is natural and healthy, but what about excessive sweat?
Our bodies produce sweat (concentrated in places like the palms of our hands, feet soles, forehead, and armpits) and for a variety of reasons, including regulating body temperature, outside temperatures, and even our emotions, dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman tells Real Simple.
"When body temperature rises due to a warm environment or physical activity, the autonomic nervous system signals eccrine sweat glands," dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, MD explains. "When sweat is produced, it promotes heat loss through evaporation." Real Simple notes if our bodies were not able to sweat, we would not be able to cool down and issues like heat stroke could occur.
But what do experts say about profuse sweating that goes beyond average perspiration -- and should you be concerned if you find the underarm area of your shirts are soaked and is there anything you can do about it?
The amount of sweat produced daily varies from person to person, some sweat around 1 liter a day, while others can sweat several liters, Real Simple reports. When someone sweats profusely unrelated to exercise or hot temperatures, this could be hyperhidrosis -- something that approximately 15 million Americans deal with. "Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a medical condition whereby the sweat glands are triggered by the nerves to produce too much sweat," Dr. Hartman says.
In some instances, this type of sweating could be linked to mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Real Simple also says health concerns like diabetes, heart failure, an overactive thyroid, and medications can also cause excessive sweating.
While excessive sweat cannot be "cured," the experts explain it can usually be managed. As always, you should check with your healthcare provider about which treatment might be best for you, and Real Simple notes possible options include topicals, oral drugs, and injections. "If sweating is interfering with your quality of life, then it's reasonable to discuss treatment options for hyperhidrosis with your doctor," Dr. King advises, noting it is important to determine what might be causing the excessive sweat and rule out if another health concern is the root.
Another simple possible treatment is switching your deodorant. Real Simple suggests using an over-the-counter clinical strength or prescription-strength deodorant and a type that includes aluminum, which blocks sweat glands and can reduce the amount of sweat produced.