Why am I sweating so much?

Right, let’s talk about not just sweat, but SWEAT. We don’t mean the “I just exercised for an hour and now I’m totally sweaty” sweat, we want to discuss the sweat that you notice at work, or when you are about to speak in front of an audience, or the kind you get in a restaurant after some seriously spicy food.

There’s not exactly guidelines for what is a normal amount of sweat because it’s different for each person but sometimes the amount you sweat can make you uncomfortable or self conscious. There’s a whole bunch of reasons why we sweat. We’ve already covered what exactly IS sweat and what its purpose is here, so instead we are going to discuss some of the alternative reasons we sweat (and it’s not just thermodynamics).

Emotional Sweating

It might just be us, but we definitely know emotional sweating. This sweat serves absolutely no function, and it’s like the fight-or-flight response. When you’re stressed, your body sends a signal to your sweat glands to get fired up. To get science-y, during stressful situations our heart rate increases and encourages hormones and adrenaline to flood the body, causing nervous sweating from our eccrine glands. So if you get sweaty during public speaking, exams, or during a stressful day at work even though your body seems to be at a completely normal temperature, yes, that’s stress sweating.

Food & Drink

Did you know that spicy food can actually trick your brain into thinking that your body temperature is rising? So no, you weren’t crazy to think you were getting super sweaty after a really spicy curry. Some people also experience “meat sweats” which literally means that  when they eat too much meat, their metabolism speeds up so much that the energy breaking down the food actually increases their body temperature, which in turn causes you to sweat to cool down.

Another sneaky ingredient that confused our bodies? Alcohol. Basically, consuming a large amount of alcohol speeds up your heart rate and dilates blood vessels. This same phenomenon also occurs during physical activity and exercise. Because your body starts to think it’s experiencing physical activity (which would warm you up) it gets tricked into thinking it needs to cool itself down by sweating.

Genetics

For better or worse, the amount you sweat is dependent on genetics. We wrote an article on hyperhidrosis (a medical condition that causes over-sweating) and for some people, this condition runs in the family. There’s also a condition called trimethylaminuria, which makes your sweat smell really bad, like rotting eggs. That one is also a genetic condition.

 

As some would say, the more you know!

The information on this website is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in pursuing it because of something you have read on this website.