Causes of Excessive Sweating
Simple Causes: Excessive sweating does not have to be a major disease. There are many simple causes to consider.
- Normal sweating. Some people sweat a lot. Men sweat more than women usually. Some people sweat more on their hands and feet. Your sweating could simply be normal.
- Overweight, Obesity. Being overweight can cause you to sweat a lot, especially after activity (even non-strenuous activities like walking or gardening).
- Hot weather: In a tropical climate, or in hot weather, excessive sweating is common.
- Over-dressed child: In hot weather, too many clothes will cause sweating of an infant or child.
- Puberty. The onset of puberty in the teens can lead to increased sweating, especially underarm sweating.
- Menstruation. Some women sweat more during their menstrual periods due to hormonal changes.
- Nausea and/or vomiting. People will sometimes sweat when they feel nauseous.
- Menstrual cycle. Some women sweat more at certain times in the menstrual cycle.
- Menopause. The occurrence of hot flushes can lead to increased sweating in menopause or perimenopause.
- Caffeine. Ingestion of caffeine in coffee, teas, or sodas can lead to sweating.
- Nicotine (Tobacco). This can also cause sweating.
- Alcohol. Consumption of alcohol can lead to increased sweating.
- Aspirin. Taking aspirin can lead to increased sweating symptoms.
- Spicy foods.
- Emotional stress, anxiety, fear. Stress can cause an increase in sweating.
- Clothing (synthetic materials). Certain types of cloth can lead to increased sweating, especially synthetic materials compared to natural fibres. Are your pyjamas or sleeping clothes causing your sweating?
Sweating from Other Symptoms: A number of other symptoms can cause sweating, and these disease causes need to be investigated.
- Fever. Almost any illness that causes fever, esp. high fever, can also cause excessive sweating. Research the causes of fever for what might be causing your fever. Read more about: Fever, High Fever.
- Severe pain (e.g. nerve pain, neuralgia, sciatica). The body may release adrenalin in response to an episode of severe pain, causing sweating.
- Toothache. The pain can be intense.
- Night sweats. A number of illnesses can cause excessive sweating at night, or night sweats. Read more about: night sweats.
- Gustatory sweating (sweating after eating a meal).
- Anxiety (Panic). Extreme anxiety can cause profuse sweating, such as from a panic attack, heart attack, respiratory failure, breathing difficulty, anxiety disorders, and many other causes of anxiety. Read more about: Anxiety, Agitation.
- Hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar levels provoke an adrenaline response that increases sweating. Read more about: hypoglycemia, hypoglycemic attack
Infectious Diseases: Various infectious diseases, acute or chronic, can cause sweating increases or night sweats as a symptom. Almost any fever-causing infectious disease can cause sweating from fever and raised body temperature. Read more about fever and night sweats. Some other examples include:
- Fever disorders
- AIDS (HIV)
- Rheumatic fever
- Liver abscess
- Lung abscess
- Relapsing Fever
There are many other infectious causes. Read more about: Fever.
Non-Infectious Disease Causes: Sweating can be caused by some serious non-contagious illnesses as well. Some of the possibilities include:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure (coronary insufficiency)
- Endocarditis (infective)
- Heatstroke (heat exhaustion)
- Thyroid disease (Hyperthyroidism). An over-active thyroid gland, such as in Graves Disease can increase your body’s metabolism, leading to sweating. There are usually other symptoms such as weight loss, appetite increase, and other symptoms.
- Hypoglycemia (e.g. diabetic hypoglycemic attack) . Sweating is one of the symptoms of a “hypo attack”. Read more about: Causes of Hypoglycemia.
- Chronic hypoglycemia (e.g. reactive hypoglycemia)
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Pheochromocytoma. This adrenal tumor can cause sweating like an adrenaline-rush.
- Autonomic Hyperreflexia
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Autonomic neuropathy
- Immunoblastic lymphadenopathy
- Meniere’s Disease
- Insulinoma (causes symptoms like hypoglycemia)
- Gastric Dumping Syndrome
- Chronic disease (various other types)
Substance Causes: There are many drugs, toxins and substances, including various prescription medications, which can lead to increased sweating, such as:
- Caffeine (coffee, tea, energy drinks, sodas, etc.)
- Nicotine (Smoking)
- Spicy foods. Sweating occurs as a reaction.
- Venom (envenomation)
- Snake Bite
- Pesticide poisoning
- Aspirin side-effect
- Diabetes pills (“hypo attack”)
- Insulin reaction (“diabetic hypo”)
- Antidepressive medication side-effects
- Medication side-effect
- Anxiety attack (panic attack, panic disorder). The adrenaline rush from panic or extreme anxiety will cause sweating.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder. Disturbing thoughts can lead to anxiety, and hence to increased sweating at night.
- Anxiety Disorders
Other Causes: There are a variety of other causes of sweating:
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Drug withdrawal
- Neonatal drug withdrawal (Maternal Drug Addiction)
Similar Symptoms: See also the causes of similar or related symptoms:
- Night sweats
- Sweating symptoms
- Gustatory sweating (sweating after eating)
- Severe anxiety
- Adrenalin rush
- Hot flashes
- Feeling hot
- Low blood sugars
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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.