Can Anxiety Cause Excessive Sweating? What To Do When This Happens

With mental health being discussed more openly these days, people are starting to be more honest about some conditions that they have but have never really spoken about.

I remembered that being nervous is often associated with cold or clammy hands. We often hear the term “cold feet” which usually means nervousness or backing out of a decision due to feelings of uncertainty. It makes me wonder, can anxiety cause excessive sweating?

Can anxiety cause excessive sweating?
People notice increased sweating in their palms or scalp when they’re nervous.

In this article, you will learn more about hyperhidrosis, if stress or anxiety can cause excessive sweating and some steps you can take to alleviate or stop sweating completely.

What Is Anxiety?

Have you ever experienced this overwhelming feeling before an exam or a job interview although you know you’re already fully prepared for it? You notice that you feel a bit colder than usual and are unable to stand up because your knees have buckled and you might fall over if you tried to move.

You’re feeling out of sorts and antsy but you can’t quite put a finger on it. At times, you feel cold and you can’t breathe properly.

It is not easy for you when these things happen and you feel embarrassed at the thought of your friends and family ever seeing you in that condition. If you have felt these things then you may have experienced a bout of anxiety at one point in your life.

According to the Diagnostic Manual for Mental Disorders V (DSM-V), anxiety is when you feel easily fatigued, restless, nervous, unable to sleep, and have tense muscles. To be fully diagnosed these symptoms must occur more often in a span of 6 months.

Aside from feeling these emotions, anxiety can be so debilitating that it affects the life of a person so much that he/she has a difficult time socializing or even performing the usual tasks like going to school or work.

The smallest, most natural things for you like entering a bus or a cinema may be the hardest thing for you to do that day. An example can be that you are fully dressed for a party but as soon as you leave the house you feel the overwhelming need to go back inside.

You feel that people would talk about you or your clothes and you can’t think straight. Your palms start sweating and you end up canceling your plans for that night.

Living with anxiety can be burdensome and tiring for the person who has it. So it is very important to understand what it is and how to deal with it.

You are probably wondering how hyperhidrosis is connected to it. Thus the question “can anxiety cause excessive sweating?”. You will learn more as you read this article.

Did you know that anxiety is just a general term and that there are many types that fall under this condition? I will briefly explain each type of anxiety so stay tuned.

Feeling out of breath can be a symptom of anxiety.

Types of Anxiety

Having anxiety is not that simple. You have to know that there are more than 1 type of anxiety disorder and each one having its unique symptoms/features.

I want to briefly explain each so that you have a bit of knowledge about each one which may help explain things for you in the future especially when it comes to hyperhidrosis.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is when a person cannot control how they feel and the anxiety is causing them to not function properly be it at home or at work.

A person with GAD often feels that there is always something bad that can or will happen even with the lack of evidence. It doesn’t matter how much you tell the person that everything will be alright. They cannot feel nor believe it.

GAD is usually the initial diagnosis of psychiatrists when they notice that their patient is exhibiting symptoms of anxiety but is too early to determine which type.

Panic Disorder

People with anxiety get diagnosed with Panic Disorder when they get frequent panic attacks out of nowhere. People who have this type of anxiety often get more anxious because of the embarrassment caused by getting these panic attacks.

Have you ever had a panic attack? It can be very tiring and embarrassing for an attack to happen in front of people. This is why many people with Panic Disorder have a hard time mingling or even going outside the house.

Panic disorder has can have no cause at all or can be triggered by highly stressful situations like a crowded room, any form of confrontation, or events that can cause sensory overload for some people.

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

There are some people that have a very hard time in public speaking or even going out with large groups of people. The thought of other people negatively judging them is so strong that they just opt to stay home despite wanting to see their friends or family.

The mere thought of negative judgment can cause the person to be less social or even less friendly as they assume that people hate them without any reason at all.

Social anxiety disorder is a type of anxiety that is often connected to hyperhidrosis. I read that people who have SAD are terrified of embarrassment or humiliation in public.

It is often seen in people that have a difficult time going out and sometimes, they may even have a panic attack when forced.

Can Anxiety Cause Excessive Sweating? How Are They Connected?

Did you know that among all the forms of anxiety, hyperhidrosis is highly linked to social anxiety? 32% of Americans that suffer from social anxiety suffer from hyperhidrosis as well.

You might be wondering how this is possible as doctors still don’t know what really causes primary hyperhidrosis aside from genetics. Well, the answer lies because nervous sweating can fall under the category of secondary hyperhidrosis. This is the link hyperhidrosis has with anxiety or any medical condition.

Secondary hyperhidrosis is also another name for generalized hyperhidrosis.

Here is a short video that explains why people with anxiety disorders sweat excessively. I love how informative the video is and I want to share this with you so that it gives you an overview of nervous sweating.

This type of hyperhidrosis occurs when there is an underlying medical or psychological condition that triggers the sweat glands into producing so much sweat.

Other medical conditions like diabetes or even obesity can trigger excessive sweating. My best advice is to start addressing the initial medical condition as antiperspirants and oral medications are just a temporary solution.

Compared to primary hyperhidrosis, this is a bit easier to address/solve because you know the reason why your body is overproducing sweat. I always take to heart that knowledge is power and it is up to us if we’ll do anything about what we know.

Getting to the source of your anxiety may be best as this can reduce excessive sweating.

How Does Excessive Sweating Affect People?

1) Difficulty Socializing

The problem with excessive sweating is that you keep on soaking your clothes and it gets tiring to keep on bringing extra shirts, or excusing yourself in the middle of a gathering just to make sure you have no underarm stains.

Living with hyperhidrosis can get so unbearable that you just don’t want to hang out with people. You’d rather stay at home where you can just sweat it all out without having to hide it.

2) Bad Odor

Sweat isn’t the culprit for bad odor, it’s the bacteria that feasts on it. That where the problem lies — because you sweat too much. There is a high chance that you can start smelling, and that can get embarrassing especially if it happens outside the comforts of your house.

Using regular antiperspirant/deodorants just won’t cut it. One of the best products that I know is SweatBlock, antiperspirant wipes that stop sweating for days after application. It is so effective that many people suffering from hyperhidrosis have rave reviews about it.

3) Low Self-Esteem

This is the final result caused by all the problems above. Knowing that you can’t hang out with friends even though you want to and having bad odor can cause a person to have very low self-esteem.

This can happen because of the shame caused by excessive sweating. I can’t imagine how hard it is for someone with this condition to be able to socialize and let alone deal with that odor. Hyperhidrosis can limit a person’s daily activities and even the clothes they wear.

What To Do To Stop Excessive Sweating

Non-medical Procedures

1) Avoid Consuming Food That Will Make You Sweat

Did you know that food can make you sweat more than usual? Coffee and spicy food are often the culprits. To naturally reduce sweating, you have to limit or reduce your intake.

Reduce your coffee intake because this can raise your heart rate which makes the body produce sweat. On the other hand, spicy food can also be the culprit when it comes to sweaty situations due to peppers having capsaicin which makes your body feel warmer than usual.

2) Exercise

More sweat? Well not necessarily. I suggest exercising as losing excess weight can help the body cool faster as it uses sweating to generally regulate body temperature. It also helps train your body to produce lesser sweat when you are idle or not doing any physical activity.

Medical Procedures

1) iontophoresis

Although it may sound scary, iontophoresis is a procedure where a doctor runs an electrical current through the areas where the sweating is too excessive. It is totally painless and most people find the treatments effective.

Please take note to inform your doctor if you are pregnant, have epilepsy, have any implants like a pacemaker, or if you have a heart condition as you might not be able to undergo this procedure.

2) Botox

Botox has always been associated as a cosmetic procedure people undergo to reduce or remove wrinkles from their faces. Recently, it has been used by doctors to paralyze and block a neurotransmitter that stimulates the sweat glands.

The only thing I don’t like about it aside from being so expensive is the pain you have to go through as it has to be administered through an injection.

3) Oral medication

When all else fails, the doctor often prescribes oral medication to reduce the sweating. These medications can range to anticholinergics to herbal blends like Dermidry which uses all-natural herbs, vitamins, and minerals to naturally reduce the sweating.

4) See a Doctor

I don’t mean just any medical doctor, although you can do that too. I would suggest you go to a psychologist who can help you push through and pinpoint the source of your anxiety which in turn can significantly reduce the sweating.

My Personal Recommendation

1) Use Topical Antiperspirants

I always believe in starting with the most simple solutions. Topical antiperspirants are always my first line of defense against excessive sweating.

I personally recommend all-around products like Odaban. It is an aerosol spray that can be used in different areas of the body. Unlike other brands, Odaban is cost-effective because you don’t have to apply it every day. It makes you sweat-free from 2-10 days.

2) Wear The Right Clothes

People often tell you to not wear dark clothes on sunny days as this may cause you to overly sweat. To be honest, it doesn’t really change things much when it comes to people suffering from hyperhidrosis.

No matter how light the clothing is, the sweating won’t just stop. The problem you now have to address is how to lessen the sweat or which clothing you can wear to make it less noticeable.

On days when the sweat gets out of hand, my suggestion would be to get a sweat-proof shirt. The best sweat-proof shirt that has worked for many people is the Thompson Tee.

Shirts like these are lifesavers because they prevent potentially embarrassing situations caused by sweaty armpits. Unlike other sweat-proof shirts, this brand not only lasts longer but it is also so comfortable which is the most important factor when choosing clothes.

Conclusion

Can anxiety cause excessive sweating? The answer is yes, it can. It is interesting to note that hyperhidrosis and anxiety always come full circle because excessive sweat causes people to get anxious and vice-versa.

Learning that anxiety can trigger excessive sweat doesn’t have to be a roadblock. Instead, think more on the lines of ” I know more about what is causing this, therefore, I can find a solution”.

A positive mindset when it comes to dealing with hyperhidrosis is what to encourage when I wrote this article. I know that as a reader, you’d be inspired to find the best solution to excessive sweat using the tips and information that I have shared with you.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or even tips that you can share with me, please don’t hesitate and leave a comment. Also, click the social media buttons below to share this article with those who may need to read it.

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Author: Yvonne

Yvonne is a full-time writer and writes on various topics. She loves playing rugby and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking. She knows that excessive sweating causes various social and self-esteem problems. Recently she joined Oscar in writing about excessive sweating and helping people like you to overcome this problem.

2 thoughts on “Can Anxiety Cause Excessive Sweating? What To Do When This Happens”

  1. Excessive sweating is a major feature of anxiety especially for us who have skins that are not dry. For me, I do have sweaty palms and sweaty feets too. I didnt know that there are ways to deal with the problem and this also includes medical solutions as well. This is very awesome I must say. Thank you very much for sharing this. I will book mark this post.

    1. Hi Henderson,

      it was a pleasure to help!  Yes, many people don’t know that excessive sweating is treatable.  They think it is a condition they have to live with.  I was so relieved when I was finally able to go sweat-free the first time after over a decade of sweating excessively in my armpits.

      Oscar

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