April 23, 2014
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How can I tell if I sweat too much?

Sweating is natural and healthy. It's your body's way of cooling off and regulating its temperature, making sure you're not too hot for it to function. You sweat when you're in warm temperatures; when you exercise; and when you're angry, embarrassed, afraid, or nervous.

But for some people, excess perspiration can be a problem. About 3% of Canadians suffer from hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes excessive sweating, more than the body normally needs to maintain proper temperature. Hyperhidrosis usually affects the underarms, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and face, and the cause is usually unknown. Sometimes, hyperhidrosis occurs over a large area of the body or the entire body. In these cases, the excess sweating is usually caused by a known cause (e.g., taking certain medications, menopause, nerve damage).

Although hyperhidrosis is not life-threatening, it can have a large impact on a person's quality of life. It's inconvenient and unpleasant. Some people may have trouble working or enjoying activities with constantly sweaty hands. It can disrupt your normal daily routines and can interfere with your social life. Hyperhidrosis can also cause social anxiety or embarrassment. Some people may not want to shake hands because they have sweaty palms. People may even withdraw from social contact because of feeling self-conscious about potential body odour and having stained or wet shirts.

How much you sweat varies widely among people. Only you can decide if you are sweating excessively and if it's affecting your life negatively. Not everyone concerned about excessive sweating actually has hyperhidrosis, and only your doctor can diagnose you with this condition. But there are a few questions to keep in mind if you are concerned about excess sweating.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you sweat even if the room is not warm or you're not outside in the heat?
  • Do you sweat even when you're not exercising?
  • Do you sweat when you're not in a situation that makes you angry, embarrassed, afraid, or anxious?
  • When you sweat, is it excessive in your opinion?
  • Do you have bothersome sweat on your face, head, underarms, palms, or feet?
  • Are your clothes often soaked in sweat?
  • Do you avoid social situations because you fear sweating?
  • Do you find that sweating interrupts your daily routine and activities?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, make an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you with any excess sweating issues.


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