Last updated on July 19th, 2019 at 04:46 am
Seldom have I ever met people that do not sweat. Are you one of them? When everybody else is sweating, you are not sweating at all, or very little. So, when you are at the gym, the question arises, why am I not sweating when everybody else does even though I work out really hard?
Although I personally suffer from primary hyperhidrosis, a condition in which you sweat excessively, I have met people that have this not so rare condition in which they do not sweat. This condition is not very common but can occur in a small percent of individuals. There are several factors that can cause hypohidrosis, of which I will go more into detail in this post.
But before I start, let’s talk about “What is hypohidrosis?” and “Why am I not sweating?”
What Is Hypohidrosis?
Technically, hypohidrosis means sweat reduction. You do not sweat as much as you used to sweat or as much as you should sweat, and you are unsure why it is happening. It is a condition that commonly comes as a symptom of health-related issues, but in some cases, there can be other reasons, which I will discuss later.
In rare cases, people suffer from anhidrosis, which is when sweating stops completely. It can sometimes be in specific parts of the body. Feet are the first ones to be affected by hypohidrosis, but also our forehead, neck, and palms can be affected.
Both anhidrosis and hypohidrosis can go unnoticed for quite some time. Since our body is full of sweat glands, when some of them do not function properly, we will barely notice, if at all because when some of our glands stop functioning, the others just sweat more.
Individuals that suffer from hypohidrosis: They will not notice the problem until it starts to become more obvious or when it starts to cause problems.
Are Hypohidrosis And Anhidrosis Dangerous?
That is a common question. When I grew up, there was a saying in the community that people who couldn’t sweat had a tougher life than the ones that could sweat. People believed that not being able to sweat was related to migraines, headaches, hot flashes, among others.
I sweat so much and some people would ask me why they would not sweat at all, but I did not have the answer either. I just thought they must be lucky people for not having to deal with ugly sweat stains.
As I entered the teenage years, I started sweating excessively. I started to believe that a person who sweats excessively does not have anything to enjoy. I even thought that if it was true that headaches were common among people that do not sweat, I wanted to have headaches over excessive sweating. Silly thoughts!
Today I see that to a certain degree people were right when they said that you really want to sweat. Now I prefer to sweat than not to sweat because research shows how uncomfortable not being able to sweat can be..
So, is it dangerous if you do not sweat when getting hot? One thing is sure, anhidrosis may be an accompanying symptom to a serious health problem, which I will discuss a little further down. In that case, you will want to make sure you find a solution to the health problem.
If you suffer from anhidrosis or hypohidrosis in small parts of your body, it rarely becomes critical. As said, your body finds a way to sweat and cool your body.
Sweating is the only way your body can cool down. Its normal temperature is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, so when it goes over that temperature, our brain triggers the eccrine sweat glands, which are all over our bodies. These then produce sweat, which evaporates as it comes out the pores and takes a little heat along.
So when you do not sweat in any part of your body, it can be very dangerous. In severe cases, a heat stroke, which can be deadly, can be the result. If you suffer from this condition, you do not want to overheat your body, by doing too much exercise, when it is really hot; you would better do it in a cooled-down room.
Also, you do not want to work outside in the hot sun for extended periods. Do you see why the people in my community were right?
When your body temperature rises and nothing can be done to cool it down, you can get hot flashes, and your blood pressure can go up, potentially causing severe headaches.
Therefore, hypohidrosis is not really dangerous, but anhidrosis can be critical if you do not take precautions.
What Causes Hpyohidrosis And Anhidrosis?
As I did my research, I was surprised that there are so many causes to hypohidrosis and anhidrosis, that I think it is rather common to people suffer from it in certain parts of their bodies.
1) Medications. There are numerous medications that lead to these conditions. For example, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antiepileptic medications are all known to inhibit sweating. Also, antiglaucoma and diuretics are agents that stop your sweating. They are known to treat osteoporosis, mountain sicknesses, gastric ulcers, and many others. Medications do not leave your sweat glands paralyzed. Once you get off the medications, sweating should return to normal.
2) Alcohol. The long-term abuse of alcohol damages your nerves, and these nerves include the sweat glands. Although we know that this is long-term, there are so many people abusing alcohol, so in the long run, they can expect their sweating to reduce or stop completely.
3) Skin damage. This is a no-brainer. All kinds of severe skin damage caused by radiation, burns, wounds, infections, etc., will affect the sweat glands because the eccrine sweat glands sit right underneath the layer of skin. Severe burns are the best example. Also, scars that have not healed appropriately can leave lasting damage to your sweat glands.
4) Severe dehydration. When you are dehydrated, your body makes a huge effort to supply the cells with the necessary blood supply. But with not enough fluids, the blood supply level decreases, which causes the body to stress. It will start to sweat at first. However, if dehydration is severe, sweating will stop and your body will do everything possible to keep your body hydrated, so it cannot afford to lose more liquids through sweating. Drinking water is crucial to prevent dehydration.
5) Cancer. There are cancers that cause hyperhidrosis and others that cause anhidrosis. Then there are those that cause both in different parts of the body. For example, lung cancer can cause hyperhidrosis on the side of one lung and cause anhidrosis where the other lung is.
6) Sclerosis. Sclerosis is a rare disease in which tissues begin to harden because the connections between them are lost. People that start to lose their sense of touch, or they stop being able to move body parts, etc, often have a type of sclerosis. If connectivity is lost, the sweat glands will be affected.
7) Plugged sweat glands. Our sweat glands were designed to be able to push accumulated chemicals out of the pores and clean them up. However, in rare cases, pores become plugged, and the sweat glands are not able to produce sweat appropriately. However, that is more often the case when the skin is infected or certain bad bacteria have made their way into the pores.
8) Damaged nervous system. When damage is done to the part of the brain that triggers sweating, your sweat glands have no clue when to produce sweat, and will therefore rest. This could be inflicted by a severe accident, brain diseases, and others.
9) Diabetes. When diabetes reaches the point where its peripheral nerves all over the body start malfunctioning, it could be the irreversible onset of hypohidrosis, which eventually leads to anhidrosis.
10) Aging. The most natural process of sweat reduction is aging. As we age, our tissue is not as well-functioning as it was. Therefore, the older you get, the less you will expect to sweat. Although you cannot expect to stop sweating by aging, if you are healthy, over the years, you will see a decrease. However, this is never a sign of abnormalities.
11) Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. There is this rare condition (which you probably didn’t read out because of its long and weird name) where people can inherit hypohidrosis. Some people were born with little to no sweat glands at all and it makes that people are unable to sweat.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypohidrosis and Anhidrosis?
Generally, people suffering from hypohidrosis or anhidrosis have few symptoms. As I mentioned above, since your body is unable to sweat in certain parts of the body, other body parts will compensate for the need to cool down.
So, the first symptom is that you will sweat more in other body parts as you normally would.
Also, as I mentioned, hot flashes are very common. People that cannot sweat, get all red in their face and over their head. Since your body cannot cool down, the temperature keeps rising, which makes you very hot.
Other symptoms (although they only happen when not being able to sweat) that become critical are nausea and dizziness. In that case, you want to see a doctor immediately or at least find an immediate way to cool down. I’ll discuss that further down.
People suffering from anhidrosis tend to become very sensitive to heat. Since their bodies cannot cool off, their brain tells them immediately to seek a cooler spot when it senses heat.
If you stay in the heat for prolonged periods, you will experience headaches. However, the worst-case scenario is that you get a heat stroke, which potentially leads to sudden death.
What Can I Do About Hypohidrosis or Anhidrosis?
Now, don’t be frightened when I mentioned a heat stroke. That is really the worst-case scenario and rarely happens. However, take your precautions in time if you are not able to sweat at all. It is always necessary to have your condition assessed before you know for sure if you have anhidrosis, or if there is an underlying health cause. If there is not a known cause, these are a few things you might want to do.
First of all, stay hydrated. There is no better recommendation I can give you. Drink lots of fluids all the time, so your body will not become stressed.
Also, avoid excessive heat. There is absolutely no need to work in your garden during the hottest sunshine hours. Also, if your job is working outside in the sun, take enough breaks to cool down wherever possible, and be it through a glass of cold water.
If you feel dizzy, nauseous, if you are getting a headache, don’t wait to seek help. Seek immediate attention. It does not always have to be the doctor. Sometimes a refreshing shower, a cup of water, sitting down, breathing deep, go into a cooled-down room, and others can be enough. But you have to do it as soon as you see these symptoms coming.
How Are Hypohidrosis And Anhidrosis treated?
There are few treatments that can be done to hypohidrosis. In the case that only one body part is affected, there will be no need to treat the condition, because the treatment depends on the cause.
If medications are what cause anhidrosis or hypohidrosis in you, it might be a case for switching medications.
Inherited hypohidrosis is a condition where no cure or treatment is found.
I could go down the list of causes and discuss each one. However, I think you get the point: Depending on the cause of hypohidrosis or anhidrosis, you will seek the appropriate treatment.
Can You Prevent Hypohidrosis And Anhidrosis?
The answer is simple. Again, depending on the cause, you can prevent the condition or not. For example, long-term alcohol abuse that causes anhidrosis can be prevented by not abusing alcohol while you are young or younger.
Inherited hypohidrosis cannot be prevented.
Also, anhidrosis due to a number of diseases, such as cancers, cannot be prevented. You will need to find a solution to the underlying health issue and go from there.
The question “why am I not sweating” has a short, yet long answer. Why you do not sweat all depends on the above-mentioned causes that are inhibiting you to sweat.
However, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the uncomfortable, and maybe dangerous symptoms of hypohidrosis or anhidrosis.
Do you suffer from hypohidrosis or anhidrosis? Were you able to find out through this post? If yes, what are you doing to help your symptoms or what causes you to not sweat? I would like to hear from you and share your experience. Please drop me a comment below.
I hope this post cleared up some burning questions that you might have had for a long time. If so, please share with friends and family by using the social media buttons.