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Natural Ways to Tame Intense Sweating
While excessive sweating is exasperating, it’s common to people of all ages. Here’s how to cope with overactive sweat glands without surgery or drugs.
The medical term for copious sweating is hyperhidrosis. Suspect this condition if you:
perspire even when exposed to cold temperatures
frequently need to change out of soaked clothes
must shower several times daily
Treatment depends on the type. Primary hyperhidrosis is localized sweating of the underarms, palms, feet, face, and groin. Heredity can be a contributing factor since it tends to run in families. Natural remedies are amenable to this classification.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is widespread perspiration due to medicine or a medical condition, such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, anxiety disorder, hyperthyroidism, menopause, and hormone imbalance. Addressing the underlying condition can decrease the extent and frequency of sweating. If you suspect secondary hyperhidrosis, see your primary care physician for appropriate treatment. The rest of this article relates to the primary type.
Omit spicy foods which rev circulation, generating warmth. Pepper and ginger are two common thermogenic spices. Avoid alcohol since it dilates blood vessels and speeds heart rate, raising your body temperature.
Do you routinely drink caffeinated coffee or tea? If so, try to minimize their intake, due to their stimulating effects. Foods high in fat and sugar burden your digestive and endocrine systems with extra work, triggering sweat.
Perspiration can be prompted by an allergy or intolerance to certain foods, such as dairy, soy, gluten, and sugar. When allergic to a substance, your immune system reacts by releasing antibodies to destroy it. With intolerance, your digestive system gets inflamed by the inability to break down the food. In both cases, your sympathetic nervous system responds by initiating perspiration.
When you’re sensitive to a specific food, symptoms arise within 24 hours of eating it. An allergy may produce a rash, itchy skin, difficulty breathing, chest pain, stomach cramping, nausea, and diarrhea. Signs of intolerance include headache, confusion, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, joint pain, and sudden mood changes.
Skin conditions are another indicator, such as eczema, rash, rosacea, acne, and under eye circles. Indigestion can take the form of stomachache, nausea, diarrhea, gas, bloating, vomiting, heartburn, and constipation.
Foods linked to allergy and intolerance are:
- citrus, strawberries, and tomatoes
- dairy products, including cheese, yogurt, kefir, and milk
- monosodium glutamate (MSG), often found in Chinese food
To rule out food sensitivities, keep a diary of everything you eat. Watch for symptoms after consuming suspect foods. If you notice a pattern, eliminate the implicated fare for two weeks. If you remain symptom-free, you’ve identified the source of food allergy or intolerance. To diagnose allergies, you can also have your blood tested.
To recoup water loss, be sure to stay adequately hydrated. Under normal circumstances, the daily guideline is drinking half your body weight in water. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, the goal is 70 ounces of water daily. However, with profuse sweating, increase your total intake beyond this benchmark.
There are two ways to tell if you’re getting enough fluids. One is to pinch the skin on your hand and see if it quickly springs back. If the skin fold is slow to release, you need more water. The second gauge is urine color. If urine is darker than pale yellow, the concentrated hue means your kidneys are conserving fluids, to compensate for lack.
Nerves activate sweat glands, and B vitamins regulate the nervous system. Being low in B vitamins makes you more vulnerable to the effects of stress. Conversely, increasing B intake can decrease sweating.
Eight vitamins comprise the full family, known as the “B complex.” Good animal sources are dairy products and eggs. Plant-based agents are whole grains, beans, leafy greens, and peas. Asparagus contains folic acid, and the amino acid asparagine curbs sweat production. You can also take a B complex supplement.
Vitamin D modulates hormone production. If you live in a sunny climate, 10 minutes of exposure without sunscreen activates Vitamin D production by your skin.
Certain brands of mushrooms are grown under ultraviolet light, spurring them to make Vitamin D. Look for package labels reporting the International Units (IUs) of the vitamin. Drink fortified beverages, such as orange juice and soy, rice, and dairy milks.
Additionally, you can take a Vitamin D supplement. The current recommended daily allowance is 600 IU for people to age 70 and 800 IU for seniors age 71+. Vitamin D3 is the form most readily assimilated.
Sage contains magnesium and B1, both of which calm the nervous system and fear-induced perspiration. Rosmarinic acid hinders sweat release. Drink two cups of sage tea daily, and flavor your food with fresh or dried leaves.
St. John’s Wort eases depression and anxiety. This herb is best taken as a standardized supplement.
If you’re a menopausal woman subject to hot flashes and night sweats, supplement with red clover and black cohosh.
Schisandra berry is “adaptogenic,” helping the body cope with emotional and physical tension. The sedating nature of the berry curbs perspiration and night sweats. Drink up to three cups daily.
Warning – A pregnant or breastfeeding woman should not take schisandra since the risk to babies is unknown.
Natural fibers absorb moisture while letting your skin breathe. Examples are cotton and linen versus nylon, polyester, and silk. Make sure your clothing fits loosely so air can flow past your skin. For summer, perforated sneakers and sandals are ideal footwear. Sportswear is often moisture-wicking.
Camouflage the telltale signs of sweating by wearing patterns and prints. Colors that minimize sweat stains are navy, black, and white. Stay away from blue and gray.
To prevent sweat from reaching the outer layer of clothing, attach underarm shields to your attire. Nix chunky jewelry since it traps heat.
Sleep on breathable sheets with a low thread count. High numbers mean more fibers are packed into each inch of fabric, making it dense, thereby trapping heat. Cotton or bamboo sheets with thread counts of 300 or less are best, promoting airflow. Moisture-wicking sheets are another option, such as those made with Dermatherapy technology.
A cooling pillow also helps to minimize night sweats, diffusing heat in one of three ways:
- Aeration – This style lets air flow throughout the filler and promotes moisture evaporation. Examples of ventilating fillers are shredded memory foam and buckwheat hulls.
- Conduction – This category transfers body heat to water or gel. Some pillows have a gel core surrounded by memory foam. Another model is a gel pad, resting on top of your pillow.
- Adaptation – This model consists of phase-changing materials (PCM) that respond to your body temp. When you’re warm, they draw heat. If you’re cold, they release stored heat. PCM beads can be encased by memory foam.
Primary hyperhidrosis is a type of profuse sweating not linked to a medical condition. Begin your anti-sweat strategy by reducing intake of fatty and sugary foods. Also, eliminate spices, alcohol, and caffeine. Soothe your nervous system by eating foods high in Vitamins B and D.
Assess whether certain foods trigger symptoms of an immune reaction or digestive upset, hinting of a food allergy or intolerance. If some foods are suspect, omit them for two weeks, and see if you’re feeling better and sweating less.
Herbs known to inhibit sweat release are sage, St. John’s Wort, and schisandra. For hot flashes and night sweats related to menopause, take black cohosh and red clover.
Could your wardrobe use a makeover? Wear loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabric, such as cotton and linen or moisture-wicking materials. Underarm shields prevent sweat stains.
Sleep on a cooling pillow and ventilating sheets, such as cotton and bamboo. Offset moisture loss by staying hydrated, drinking more than half your body weight in water.
With this game plan, you should sweat less. Say goodbye to hyperhidrosis!