Does Exercise Help Hyperhidrosis?
Perhaps you used to sweat excessively only during intense exercise sessions, but you have recently noticed that you seem to be sweating profusely even when you aren’t working out. In this case, it is possible that hyperhidrosis is to blame.
In such a situation, you may be wondering if the exercise that makes you sweat more than usual has now altered your body system to make you sweat more or less when not exercising. In this article, we will answer the question, “does exercise help with hyperhidrosis?”
Before diving into this topic, we believe it is necessary to take a look at what hyperhidrosis is, as well as the sweating mechanisms in both hyperhidrosis and exercise, before answering the question, “does exercise help with hyperhidrosis?”
What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a skin condition characterized by excessive sweating for no apparent reason. Usually, when your body temperature rises, your nervous system automatically activates your sweat glands to deal with the situation.
Sweating is one of the most overlooked bodily functions of all time. It is among the primary self-regulatory processes that keep us alive on a daily basis by helping to cool our bodies, thus allowing us to maintain a proper body temperature. On the other hand, a hyperhidrosis patient sweats excessively even when inactive or at low temperatures.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis – primary and secondary hyperhidrosis.
Primary hyperhidrosis is triggered by faulty nerve signals, which cause eccrine sweat glands to overwork. It typically affects the palms, underarms, soles, and face. This type of hyperhidrosis has no medical cause. It can be genetic, meaning it has the potential to run in families.
Secondary hyperhidrosis results from a medical condition or using certain prescribed medications, such as antidepressants, pain relievers, and some hormonal or diabetes medications. It can lead to excessive sweating throughout the body. Common conditions that may contribute to secondary hyperhidrosis include:
- Thyroid issues
- Certain types of cancer
- Hot flashes during menopause
- Thyroid problems
Does Exercise Help Hyperhidrosis or Not?
The short answer to this question is no. There is no scientific evidence that links hyperhidrosis and exercise. Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that has no relationship with either exercise or heat.
Eccrine gland sweating is the primary way of thermoregulation in humans. The 2 to 4 million eccrine sweat glands located throughout the body help to regulate internal body temperature via evaporative heat dissipation.
When body temperature rises (during intense exercise or under hot temperature conditions), the body’s sweat glands work to stabilize our body’s temperature. There is a built-in thermostat in the human brain known as the hypothalamus. Any time our core temperature rises, the hypothalamus triggers a release of sweat by the sweat glands.
Water is vital when it comes to maintaining blood volume, regulating body temperature, and enabling muscle contractions. During exercise, sweating is the main way the body maintains an optimal body temperature. When the sweat is let out through the pores in the skin, it evaporates along with the heat.
This evaporation is actually what cools the body down. Sweat production and evaporation tend to increase with an increase in exercise intensity as well as with an increase in ambient temperature and humidity.
In people who have hyperhidrosis, the sweat glands (especially the eccrine glands) overreact to stimuli and become unusually overactive, making them produce a larger quantity of sweat than necessary. People with hyperhidrosis are often said to have their sweat glands stuck in the “on” position.
However, the only way that may be used to establish a link between hyperhidrosis and exercise is in the avoidance of sweat triggers. Triggers include alcohol, excessive heat, stress, spicy foods, tobacco, monosodium glutamate (which occurs naturally in foods such as cheese and tomatoes), medications, exercise, and caffeine.
Otherwise, sweating during exercise is a naturally occurring and beneficial biological process, while excessive sweating in hyperhidrosis is a biological challenge that requires medical remedies.
If we consider exercise as a sweat trigger in relation to the question: “Does exercise help hyperhidrosis?” the conclusion will be that there is no causal relationship between hyperhidrosis and exercise, but it has to be noted that exercise can trigger excessive sweating to occur.
When Should You Seek Medical Attention?
Excessive sweating can be a sign of a severe underlying condition. Seek medical attention right away if affected by excessive sweating, dizziness, pain in the jaw, arms, shoulders, chest, or throat, cold skin, or having a rapid pulse. Additionally, consult your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Sweating interferes with your daily routine
- Sweating associated with emotional distress or social withdrawal
- You start sweating more than usual
- You wake up sweating for no apparent reason
Treatment Options for Hyperhidrosis
The type of hyperhidrosis and the location of excessive sweating on the body determines the treatment methodology applied. Your dermatologist will take into account your general health as well as other factors. Dermatologists normally use the following treatments to help patients control their hyperhidrosis:
Antiperspirants, which most people use daily, are the simplest way to combat excessive sweating. When applied to the skin, it forms a plug that blocks perspiration. Antiperspirants can be bought over the counter at your local drugstore, or your doctor can prescribe them for you.
Many antiperspirants are sold with deodorants, which will not stop you from sweating but will help curb the odor of your sweat. Antiperspirants aren’t just for sweaty underarms. Some of them can also be used on other areas where you sweat, such as your hands and feet. Using it in the morning when you wake up and at night before going to bed will help keep you drier.
- Medical Treatments
Even though antiperspirants are the most commonly used treatment for excessive sweating, there are other medical options available. If antiperspirants aren’t keeping your hands and feet from sweating excessively, your doctor may suggest one of the following medical treatments:
Iontophoresis is a procedure that involves passing an electrical current through skin soaked in distilled water or a solution containing an anticholinergic medication. It reduces sweating and improves drug and macromolecule delivery through the skin by allowing ionized particles to cross the normal skin barrier. Iontophoresis is an efficient, inexpensive, and risk-free alternative.
- Botox Injection
Botox injections prevent the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from binding with your sweat glands and signaling the release of sweat. When your body temperature rises, your nervous system normally activates your sweat glands. This is how your body cools itself naturally. Having hyperhidrosis means the nerves that signal your sweat glands are overactive.
When you get Botox injections into the sweaty area of your body, your overactive nerves are effectively paralyzed. When the nerves are unable to communicate with your sweat glands, sweating is reduced significantly. Nevertheless, Botox only prevents sweating in the area where it is injected.
- Anticholinergic Medications
Your doctor may recommend a prescription medication such as anticholinergic drugs when antiperspirants and treatments such as iontophoresis and Botox have failed. Oral anticholinergic drugs normally prevent sweat gland activation. However, they are not suitable for everyone because they can cause dry eyes, dry mouth, blurred vision, heart palpitations, and difficulty peeing.
- Surgical Procedure
There are instances when antiperspirants, herbal remedies, and oral or topical medications provide temporary or no benefit. In this case, surgical disruption of the sympathetic chain may be required.
These nerves primarily influence the blood flow to your skin and sweat gland function. Interrupting the sympathetic nerves causes dilation of the arteries and veins in the arm and hand, as well as total sweat blockage.
Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is a minimally invasive treatment for hyperhidrosis. The sympathetic chain is cut or clamped using small incisions to stop excessive sympathetic nerve activity.
The procedure can lead to a faster recovery and less damage than open surgery. The procedure is highly effective, can be performed on an outpatient basis, and comes with an extremely low risk of complications.
- MiraDry System
The MiraDry is a medical procedure where thermal energy targets and eliminates sweat and odor glands in your underarm. The glands do not regenerate after they have been destroyed.
The MiraDry process is fast, non-invasive, and offers a long-term solution to excessive underarm sweating. When the MiraDry System handpiece is placed on the underarm, it delivers precisely controlled energy to the sweat glands and eliminates them non-invasively.
Are You Struggling With Excess Sweat?
Being uncomfortable in the presence of friends, peers, colleagues, or even classmates can be a depressing experience. It can impact your quality of life as well as your relationships with those close to you. The good news is that expert professionals are available, so there is no need to dwell much on the question of: Does exercise help hyperhidrosis? We recommend seeking quality treatment instead.
If you are looking to restore your confidence to go out and enjoy work and recreational activities with your colleagues, The Center for Hyperhidrosis (CHH) is your ultimate place. At the CHH, we take a multidisciplinary approach to hyperhidrosis treatment management. We also consider non-surgical treatments first before performing surgery.
With our expertise and dedication, you can be confident that you will receive unrivaled treatment and assistance. Whether you’ve been struggling with long-term or short-term hyperhidrosis, we will assist you in regaining control of your life!