Updated 12 February 2015

6 causes of excessive sweating

Sometimes excessive sweating can be the result of other medical conditions. Here are six possible culprits.

Sweating is a normal response to heat: you get hot, you sweat, it cools your body down.

If you have a fever of some kind, chances are you’ll break out in a sweat as your body temperature is higher than normal. Tuberculosis patients typically suffer from night sweats.

But some people sweat excessively without being feverish.

This can be genetic in origin, as they can have excessive sweat glands in the hands, feet and armpits, or because the nerves that control the sweat glands are overactive.

Sometimes excessive sweating can be the result of some other condition. Here’s more about six of these conditions:

-    Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which there are too many thyroid hormones circulating through the body.
-    The symptoms vary widely and are more pronounced in the later stages of the condition.
-    Hyperthyroidism speeds up the body’s chemical processes, hence the possibility of excessive sweating
-    Reliable testing is available for the diagnosis and treatment of hyperthyroidism.
-    Treatment may consist of medication, surgery and iodine radiation.

-    The types of cancer that can sometimes cause sweating include Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, carcinoid tumours, leukaemia, mesothelioma, bone cancer and liver cancer.
-    Doctors do not fully understand why some cancers cause sweating, but it might be connected to the body trying to fight the cancer.
-    People with advanced cancer of any type sometimes experience excessive sweating.

Certain medications
-    Not all people taking particular medications will experience excessive sweating
-    Among the medications that can cause this to happen are some psychiatric drugs, some medications for high blood pressure, medicines with which to treat a dry mouth, some antibiotics and some supplements.
-    If you are experiencing this, it is essential to speak to your doctor about it. Never stop taking prescribed medication without consulting a health professional.

Glucose control disorders
-    Glucose control disorders include types1 and 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and hypoglycaemia (abnormally low glucose levels)
-    Excessive sweating is often a symptom of low glucose levels

-    Many menopausal women report suffering from so-called hot flushes
-    Seventy-five percent of women report hot flushes and sweating during menopause and the run-up to menopause. In some women it is so severe that a change of clothing is called for.
-    Doctors suspect that hot flushes and sweating are caused by fluctuating or decreasing oestrogen levels, which drop dramatically when periods finally stop.

Psychiatric problems
-    Extreme stress and anxiety disorders can cause excessive sweating.
-    Anxiety and stress can cause the body temperature to rise, which can lead to sweating. The embarrassment brought about by excessive sweating can lead to more anxiety, which can lead to further sweating
-    Some psychiatric drugs can also lead to excessive sweating.
-    Withdrawal from many legal and illegal substances (including alcohol and opiates) can be accompanied by prolonged sweating.


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