Dr GIKONYO: why some people sweat more than others

excess sweating

Sweating is a very important physiological process of the human body, as it helps to regulate body temperature. When the ambient temperature is high, the moisture present in the body evaporates, which cools us off a bit.

Human beings are born with between two and four million sweat glands. Women have more sweat glands than men, but men’s glands are more active. How much you sweat depends on your gender, the number of sweat glands one has more glands equal more sweat_ how hot it is, how intensely you’re exercising, or how anxious you feel.

It’s often thought of as gross or unladylike, despite the fact that sweating is totally normal and healthy… for most people. If you’re someone who sweats way more than seems normal, though, you might feel quite a bit differently about the whole deal.

According to Dr Dan Gikonyo a Post Doctoral Fellow in Adult Cardiology, there are two main types of hyperhidrosis: primary hyperhidrosis, a specific condition of excessive sweating, and secondary hyperhidrosis, which is excessive sweating as a side effect of a health condition like obesity, diabetes, or overactive thyroid medication.

People with hyperhidrosis often sweat excessively from multiple parts of the body, including hands, feet, face, or armpits.

While hyperhidrosis is certainly physically difficult, often the emotional effects are even harder to deal with, explains Dr Gikonyo.

But what people may not realize is how severely it impacts day-to-day life, career choices, choices about whether to go to a party or not, whether to speak in public or not, whether to hold someone’s hand or hug them or not, Self-esteem and self-confidence, the ability to thrive and advance at work, at school, in hobbies and sports, and how people judge and see you.

How do you know if your sweating is normal or not? “Generally, if sweating is interfering with your life, causing you stress/anxiety or embarrassment that’s beyond what we typically consider to be normal and expected in day-to-day life (as a reaction to stress, exercise, or to maintain body temperature), it’s excessive. If you feel like your quality of life and your life choices and your relationships and achievements (at school, at work) are being negatively impacted by excessive sweating, it’s time to get help.” Say Dr Gikonyo.

There are several treatments you can try if it turns out you have hyperhidrosis, including medication, skin wipes, and more. Surgery is an option, too, although most often reserved for very drastic cases.

“It can reach a point of socially uncomfortable results. “Everything from minor annoyances such as smudged writing paper too much greater issues like difficulty holding a pen or the social discomfort caused by soaked clothing and wet handshakes.”

There are other explanations as to why some people sweat so much at night.


Dr Gikonyo further explains that certain medications give a rise to night sweats and may leave you tossing and turning throughout your sleep. Antidepressants are the most common drug associated with night sweats.

Night sweats are often seen with other psychiatric drugs, but even over-the-counter anti-fever medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can cause your body to heat up in bed, too.

Low blood sugar

For people with diabetes, waking up throughout the night in fits of heat may be your body’s way of alerting you to low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia.

Night sweats, along with other symptoms of low blood sugar, like headaches and nightmares, may occur if you don’t inject the correct amount of insulin right before you hit the sheets Fortunately, these bouts of sweat are treatable, as taking preventative measures like eating a late night snack can help even out your insulin levels.


If night sweats begin to occur more regularly and more severely, it may be the sign of a more serious issue. For example, night sweats are one of the primary symptoms of tuberculosis, a potentially dangerous infectious disease that affects the lungs. They also can be a sign of bacterial infections like endocarditis (and osteomyelitis (bone inflammation).


Dr Gikonyo goes ahead to explain that, Most women going through menopause are no strangers to hot flashes, and these intense spells of heat often occur at night.

Night sweats during menopause are the result of changing estrogen levels and their effects the hypothalamus, the part of your brain that regulates temperature and deals with hormones. Menopause causes estrogen levels to waver, which can confuse the hypothalamus.

Not every case of night sweats is linked to a serious issue or health concern. In many situations, overheating in bed is simply linked to a tendency to sweat more than usual without any identifiable reason. This is known as idiopathic hyperhidrosis. This condition may affect just one area—like your arms, underarms, feet, or face—or it may lead you to sweat all over.

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