Excessive Sweating

Diaphoresis (Excessive Sweating) : Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Sweating it out every day with proper exercise is good for the body but abnormal sweating is a cause for concern. Sweating is necessary for the human body to maintain the requisite body temperature. Diaphoresis is excessive sweating or the silent handicap of the human body. Diaphoresis could be the sign, symptom or caution of various illnesses including heart attack.

Worldwide over 365 million people are suffering from diaphoresis. This is 5 % of the world population and if one among them this article will guide you into the world of excess sweating. Continue reading to know the causes, symptoms, and treatments of excessive sweating for a better living.

Good things in life come for those who sweat of hard work but profuse sweating is dangerous. There is a saying that no one has drowned in sweat but to soak the shoes with sweat, palms dripping with sweat and the shirts or pants drenched with sweat at normal conditions could be the symptom of several diseases.

What is Diaphoresis?

In the modern day living excess sweat causes a lot of discomfort to malfunction of various activities. The profuse sweating on the palms makes it difficult to even use a touchscreen mobile. The sweating of the hands makes it impossible to work on a keyboard of a computer. The profuse sweating could be a danger while handling electronic equipment. Also sweating is a concern when checked at airports and other security related places. The body odor makes one lose self-confidence and has to rely solely on deodorants for normal socializing.

Diaphoresis is the medical term for excessive sweating. Hydrosis is similar to that of diaphoresis. Primary hyperhidrosis is profuse sweating due to nervous system disorder and limited to only some parts of the body like armpits and hands. The prime cause of primary hyperhidrosis is hereditary and genetics. The secondary hyperhidrosis or diaphoresis is sweating all over the body due to an underlying medical condition and of its medication.

Sweating is a process of the human body to regulate the body temperature. The sweat bullets are created by two endocrine glands in the body. The eccrine glands all over the body are the main source of sweat. The apocrine glands are only on specific parts of the body with hair follicles like the armpits, breast nipples, eyelids among others. The sweat by apocrine glands secretes fatty acids and proteins and the sweat produced by them are the main causes of body odor. This is because the normal bacterial flora present on the human skin metabolize the sweat produced by apocrine glands.

It is normal for sweating according to the climate and physical activities. If not it is also an ailment called hyperhidrosis which should also be diagnosed and treated. But if one sweats when relaxed in normal temperature or in a cool air-conditioned room or even in a swimming pool it is time to consult a doctor for the following causes of diaphoresis.

Causes of Diaphoresis:

The causes of diaphoresis vary from lack of sleep, shock, stomach upset, anxiety to the stress of daily life. From a study, it is found that men sweat more than women and it increases with obesity.

The causes of diaphoresis can be categorized as follows with their specific diseases.

Nervous system disorders :

The nervous system is the integral part of the human body for day to day actions. The central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system controls the body activities and any disorder to them creates diaphoresis. It is categorized with their following issues :

Cortical issues :

Cortical issues are concerned with the outer layer of the cerebral cortex and an excess layer above the epidermis layer of the skin. This could bring in a lot of medical ailments such as Gopalan syndrome, Nail-Patella syndrome, congenital autonomic dysfunction with universal pain loss, Congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma, Epidermolysis bullosa among others.

Hypothalmic issues :

The brain is the epitome of the human parts and hypothalamus is a part of the brain which connects the nervous system to the endocrine system which comprises of glands including the sweat glands of the body. Their functions are very important and disorder to hypothalamus creates the most common medical conditions like diabetes, heart failure, gout and many more which cause diaphoresis.

Spinal issues :

The spinal nerves and the medulla oblongata disorders like Physiologic gustatory sweating, Auriculotemporal syndrome and others.

Peripheral and reflexive issues :

The issues related to the peripheral nervous system which is outside the brain and spinal cord which are mainly due to drugs, medications, perilesional like burns.

Non Neural issues :

Issues which are not connected to the nervous system like drugs, local temperature and some medical related like Trenatunay syndrome, Arteriovenous fistula, Blue rubber blub nervous syndrome, Maffucci’s syndrome among others.

General Causes of diaphoresis :


A few common causes worldwide for diaphoresis are caused by hypothalamic disorders. Hypothalamus is the most important part of the brain which is the link between two major systems of the human body. They are the nervous system and endocrine system. The nervous system triggers the endocrine glands to create sweat to regulate the body temperature. When the sweat on the body is evaporated the body cools and thus maintain the required temperature. This trigger of the nervous system could be increased by the following medical conditions for women from the start of puberty followed by pregnancy till menopause. The following are the medical conditions with their triggers of sweat :

Heart failure :

When there is profuse sweating of the human body the main concern for anybody is the heart attack. The food habits and lifestyle of today have made a heart attack common from the age group of 25 years. The dysfunction of the heart muscle causes blockage of oxygen-filled blood to one or both the arteries and thus causing myocardial infarction.

Diabetes mellitus:

Another major cause of excessive sweating is diabetes. The blood sugar level in the body is important for the functioning of many organs and systems. When this blood sugar level is high or low than the normal levels of sweating occurs in the body. The blood sugar level should be controlled with insulin medications to control sugar and thus the sweating.


Hyperthyroidism is a medical condition when the metabolism of the human body increases due to the excess secretion of thyroxin hormone. This is the cause of various illness and could be controlled by medications and proper lifestyle.

Pregnancy :


Sweating starts with women from puberty and during pregnancy due to more secretion of hormones and thus increasing the body temperature. Also because of the increase in weight, sweat is produced excessively.


Night sweats occur during the menopause and perimenopause periods for women. Menopause is the time when a woman stops mensurating and perimenopause is the period before menopause when the mensuration stops. The estrogen hormones in these stages of women are fluctuating and send wrong signals to the brain and thus cause night sweating.

Cancer :

Cancer and its medication are the major causes of excessive sweating. The following types of cancer produce diaphoresis :

  • Bone cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Carcinoid cancers


Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction of the human body. It could be life threatening sometimes and if found allergic to any substance with profuse and uncontrollable sweating immediately medical care should be given to the patient to save the life.

Alcoholism and drugs :

Chronic alcoholic and drugs using patients are prone to sweating because of various ailments. Also, withdrawal of these both could bring in excess sweating which without proper medical help could be a life-threatening one.



Obesity is a common problem across the world now. The lifestyle and food habits have made obesity a household name. The over the weight of the human body causes a lot of sweat for even doing normal day to day activities. This is because the body weight increases the temperature due to physical activity and thus produce excessive sweating.

Symptoms of Diaphoresis :

Symptoms of diaphoresis vary according to the type of sweating. In the case of primary hyperhidrosis or secondary hyperhidrosis.

Primary hyperhidrosis symptoms :

Primary hyperhidrosis is due to the apocrine glands on only specified parts of the body. These parts include the hair follicle parts like armpits, groin, and others like palms, face, and foot. The primary hyperhidrosis is named as per the affected part of the body as follows :

  • Palmer – Excessive sweating on the palms
  • Planter – Excessive sweating on the foot
  • Axillary – Excessive sweating on the armpits

The main symptom of primary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating in specific parts of the body than the normal sweating. This includes sweating on all conditions irrespective of the surroundings and physical activity. The sweating becomes so profuse and the parts are wet all the time that the bodily odor becomes unbearable. This is because of the bacterial infection caused in the body due to excessive sweating.

Secondary hyperhidrosis :

This being because of a medical condition depends on the disease. The excessive sweating is all over the body and not on only specific parts. The severity of disease could be found from the symptoms of the level of sweating. Some common symptoms of this kind of excessive sweating which needs immediate medical attention are as follows :

  • Breathing trouble
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations and chest pain
  • Continuous vomiting or nausea
  • Cold and clammy skin

Some symptoms are associated with the underlying medical conditions. The general symptoms with the disease are detailed below :

Heart attack :


When the heart muscles fail to function and thus stopping the flow of oxygen-filled blood to the two arteries cardiac arrest happens. This is found by the initial symptoms of profuse sweating along with the following symptoms :

  • Pain in the arms, jaw, neck, and chest.
  • Shortness of breath leading to faintness
  • Ashen and pale face
  • Nausea and continuous vomiting.

Diabetes :

The sugar level in the body is more important for sweating. If uncontrolled these sugar levels will trigger excessive sweating with the following symptoms :

Pregnancy :

Excessive sweating with fever and body pain during pregnancy is a major concern since it involves two lives and needs immediate medical attention.


The excessive secretion of thyroxin hormones increases the human metabolism and thus causes excessive sweating along with the following symptoms :

  • Racing heart
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Shaking hands
  • Weight loss
  • Nervousness



This allergy-related medical condition is sudden when exposed to the allergic substance outwardly or inward into the body. This needs immediate medical attention for the following symptoms :


Treatment of diaphoresis :

With over 5 % of the world population suffering from some form of hyperhidrosis treatment of excessive sweating along with the bodily odor gains importance. The treatment depends on the type of hyperhidrosis and the severity of excessive sweating.

General treatment of diaphoresis :

General treatment of excessive sweating could be done by adjusting lifestyles according to the need by the following ways

  • Tight clothing should be avoided to evade overheating of the body
  • Wear loose clothes made of natural fibers including cotton and silk.
  • The living environment should be cool or made cool with air conditioners and fans.
  • To avoid dehydration due to sweating, plenty of water intake should be done daily.
  • Avoid food substances or environmental conditions which could trigger profuse sweating.

When going outside for work or socializing apply powder, deodorant or baking soda under your armpits, breasts and other excessive sweating parts of the body.

Medical treatment of diaphoresis :

It is necessary to consult a doctor depending on the severity of the diaphoresis. The following notes on a daily routine could help to find the severity of excess sweating :

  • How many times you take bath and change clothes?
  • How many times do you buy new clothes, shoes, pads, napkins, and powders?
  • How many times per day do you worry about sweating and dealing with it?
  • These notes are very important when consulting a physician to get the proper medical treatment.

The medical treatment includes :

  • Applying antiperspirant with 10 – 15 aluminum chloride to block the sweating glands of the skin.
  • Oxybutynin or glycopyrrolate could be taken orally as an anticholinergic medication to control excessive sweating.
  • To control excessive sweating in the underarms botox injections could be taken with the help of a doctor.
  • Iontophoresis is a process by using voltage gradient or a current shock to deliver the transdermal drug on the skin to control excessive sweating. With the increasing need for iontophoresis, the diaphoresis patients develop their own instruments at home for iontophoresis for treatment.

Success is usually covered in sweat and hence sweat should not be a hindrance to success. Even though only one percent of people of any medical ailment experience diaphoresis, it is still always better to have regular checkup when experienced with excessive sweating. The stress of daily life coupled with the anxiety of the future is the main cause of several diseases and the excessive sweating is part and parcel of these diseases. To have a peaceful and stress-free life is the best way to deal with excessive sweating.

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