Causes of Excessive Sweating and Treatments

excessive sweating

Updated October 2023

Many of our clients at Harley Street MD Aesthetic Clinic in London ask us, “Why am I sweating so much?’ Everyone sweats, and it is an essential function to regulate body temperature, but if you are struggling with sweating for no reason, there are various ways to treat the condition.

But before having any treatments, it’s important to visit your doctor to find out if there are any underlying causes of excessive sweating. Once you have ruled out any health conditions (we will cover these later in the post) that could require treatment, there are a few options.

Excessive sweating can be frustrating and challenging to live with, and body odour can impact how confident you feel in your professional and personal life. No matter what you do, you should be able to live your best life, and a sweating problem is the last thing that should be holding you back.

This article will cover the possible causes of excessive sweating, the treatments, and what you can expect from each option.

What are the Causes of Excessive Sweating?

Excessive sweating is known as hyperhidrosis, and it’s a result of overactive sweat glands. Often underestimated as a relatively minor issue, it can cause skin problems, make you feel embarrassed, and destroy your self-confidence. And, yet, treatment for hyperhidrosis can be extremely effective.

You may notice you’re sweating even when you have recently showered and applied deodorant. Or you may always have sweaty hands or sweat patches under your arms that show through your clothes. There are external reasons for the causes of excessive sweating, but in most cases, it is simply down to a malfunction of the nerves that trigger sweat glands to release sweat. Hyperhidrosis can affect the whole body, known as secondary hyperhidrosis. This often causes night sweats due to an actual medical or health condition.

Consulting with your doctor is critical if you are experiencing secondary hyperhidrosis, which can be a result of many underlying conditions, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Heart problems

Certain medications can also be a cause of secondary hyperhidrosis. If you have recently started taking a new medication or antibiotics and you are sweating for no reason, speak to your healthcare provider. Medications associated with excessive sweating include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Diabetic medications
  • Alzeheimer medications
  • Blood pressure medications

The other reason for excessive sweating is called primary focal hyperhidrosis, which tends to cause sweating of the hands, underarms, feet, or face. Common external triggers that can cause primary focal hyperhidrosis include:

  • Heat
  • Exercise
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy food

What is Anxiety Sweating?

Sweating when you’re anxious or stressed is very normal. Anxiety sweating results from adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress chemicals, which are released when the brain responds to an implied danger when you are experiencing stress.

If you notice you sweat when you are nervous or anxious, there are a few things you can try:

  • Breathing exercises can help slow down your heart rate and make you feel calmer.
  • Keep yourself hydrated to help your body stay cool.
  • Visualisation exercises can be helpful if you are anxious about an event, meeting or something like a job interview.

Natural Deodorants to Treat Excessive Sweating

Before trying medical treatment for excessive sweating, you might want to consider trying some homemade natural deodorants. Here are our top three:

    1. Lemon juice — You can use lemon juice, which has antibacterial properties, as a natural deodorant. Buy it in a bottle for convenience and mix one teaspoon of lemon juice with one teaspoon of baking soda. Put it in a spray bottle and spray all areas where you sweat excessively. Leave it for 30 minutes, shower, and use your normal deodorant.
    2. Apple cider vinegar — Sweating can be helped by apple cider vinegar, which helps to balance pH levels. Fundamentally, vinegar is a natural deodorant, and it is additionally beneficial because it seals sweat pores, preventing sweat from being released. Dilute one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water, and before bed, spray it where you sweat the most. Take a shower in the morning and apply your deodorant of choice.
    3. Coconut oil — Laurenic acid found in coconut oil kills the bacteria that contribute to why you sweat. After you shower, liberally massage the oil into your skin before bed. Then, take a shower with warm water the next morning.

All of these natural deodorants will be more effective if you use them daily. You may not notice a difference in how much you sweat initially, but keep using them for three to five days, and you should start to notice a difference.

Medications to Treat Excessive Sweating

Various treatments approved by the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) can help to reduce and prevent excessive sweating. These include:

Prescription Cloth Deodorant Wipes

This simple treatment consists of individually wrapped prescription cloth deodorant wipes, which contain glycopyrronium tosylate. Your GP can prescribe these, and you simply wipe them under your arms once a day in the morning.

However, side effects of glycopyrronium wipes include:

  • blurred vision
  • dehydration
  • dry mouth
  • irritation on treated skin.

Prescription Medications for Excessive Sweating

Prescription medications that are taken orally can reduce the stimulation of sweat glands. Medication for excessive sweating is usually only recommended after other treatments have proved to be unsuccessful.

Common types of anticholinergics hyperhidrosis medications for treating excessive sweating include:

  • Propantheline bromide (Brand name — Pro-Banthine)
  • Benztropine (Brand name — Cogentin)
  • Oxybutynin (Brand names — Ditropan, Gelnique, Kentera, Oxytrol)
  • Glycopyrrolate (Brand names — Glycate, Cuvposa, Dartisla, Robinul).

These medicines are unsuitable if you do a lot of physical exercise or live in a hot climate, as they prevent the body from sweating and can lead to overheating.

Anticholinergics are also not suitable if you have:

  • A history of urinary retention
  • Glaucoma (especially narrow-angle glaucoma)
  • Gastroparesis (impaired gastric emptying).

Side effects from prescription medications for the treatment of excessive sweating include:

  • dry mouth
  • blurred vision and dry eyes
  • heart palpitations
  • constipation
  • urinary retention
  • overheating.

Botox Injections for the Treatment of Hyperhidrosis

Botox is an incredibly effective alternative treatment for excessive sweating. It is often the preferred treatment as you do not have the risk of side effects caused by medication for hyperhidrosis.

Approved by the NHS and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating excessive sweating, Botox treatment is very safe and long-lasting. Botox is a neurotoxin and works by blocking the chemical that sends “sweat signals” to the brain to activate sweating.

If you have tried many types of deodorant or other solutions without success and want to avoid the potential side effects of medication, Botox might be the solution to your sweating problem. Body areas that can be treated with Botox injections for sweating are:

  • Hands and feet
  • Armpits
  • Head and face.

FAQ Botox Treatment for Sweating

1 Are Botox injections for sweating painful?

Many people are nervous about having injections and are worried it will be painful. Although we can’t tell you it is completely painless, most people find it is not nearly as bad as they expected. The needles are extremely fine and do not go deep into the skin. Most of our clients tell us that the injections are not painful at all.

2. How long does Botox treatment for sweating take?

Depending on how many areas you want to have treated with Botox, the treatment will generally take between 20 to 30 minutes.

3. How fast are the results after Botox treatment for sweating?

Most people see results three to five days after Botox treatment for hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). It can be an incredible cure for a sweating problem, and you’ll instantly feel more confident and comfortable.

4. How long does Botox treatment for sweating last?

The results of Botox treatment for hyperhidrosis generally last between five and nine months, depending on how your body processes the drug and sometimes your skin type.

An initial consultation at Harley Street MD in London is obligation-free, and it costs nothing. If you want to talk to us about Botox injections to treat excessive sweating, contact us today and finally regain your confidence.

Founder at Harley St M.D.
Dr. Chia Tan is a UK trained medical doctor that specialises in cosmetic and aesthetic medicine and testosterone replacement therapy. He is qualified as a medical doctor since 2003 and has since trained extensively. He has been featured in several leading magazines as well as invited to appear on TV to discuss aesthetic medicine and the latest cosmetic procedures.
Dr. Chia Tan
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