Sunday, August 26, 2007

Why Do I Sweat SO Much?

I was sweating for about 10 hours straight yesterday. If I had a means by which to measure the volume of sweat my body produced during that time (besides wringing the 4 shirts I had to change out of during the course of the day into a measuring cup), I bet it could fill up a bathtub, or so it seems. But to be conservative, I'd estimate it was around 64 oz. of sweat. Pure and unfiltered. Fresh as the morning dew or a mountain stream. Except it's human sweat.

Please keep in mind that less than 1 of those 10 sweat stained hours was spent exercising. I went for a 4.5 mile run in the early afternoon. I was profoundly sweaty during and after the run. But the rest of the day was spent not exercising. And yet somehow, still sweating.

What is it with me? Do I have some kind of hormone imbalance? Are there gremlins in my sweat glands?

I really don't know. And before we delve any further, I need to let you in on a few facts: 1) I'm not overweight; 2) I'm not an overly nervous or anxious individual; and 3) I don't smell that bad when I'm sweaty. So while you're imagining a super-sweaty, holy mess of a sweat-covered somebody, also imagine that this person doesn't smell bad. And that non-smelly person is me. Trust me, this exercise in imagination is for everyone's benefit. Got it? Good.

I've always been well aware of my propensity for profuse perspiration. It doesn't even need to be very hot outside for my forehead to bead up. And if I'm in any sort of rush to catch the subway on a steamy August morning, forget it. I'll look like I took a shower with my shirt on. So knowing this, why then, did I decide to go for a run yesterday around 1PM? In 95% humidity. And then follow that up with a hot shower? And then a bowl of steaming ramen from RaiRai Ken? And then rush to the subway to meet my girlfriend in order to head to hotter-than-hot Brooklyn for some sort of outdoor get together? Just like the mystery of why I sweat so much, I can't answer these questions. Except that the ramen was a damn fine salty soup. And I remember thinking to myself that it would be an efficient way to replace all of the salt I had lost through sweating earlier that day. Little did I know the sweat would continue, unabated, for another 8 hours. Only an air-conditioned movie theater finally spelled relief.

Unlucky Buick finds itself in a bit of a pickle - caught in a flash flood of my perspiration

So how to better understand my sweatiness? Here are a few things that are approximately as wet as me after exercising yesterday:
  • Deepest, darkest depths of Loch Ness
  • Titanic Grand Ballroom (present day)
  • Mt. Waialeale, Kauai - aka, the wettest place on earth (that is, of course, next to the inside of my t-shirt after about 10 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise).
Perhaps I'm overreacting. It's perfectly conceivable that plenty of folks sweat as much as I do. Maybe even more than I do. 300 pound NFL linemen, for example. They sweat buckets. But sometimes it seems like my body is a perspiration factory, and we have a very large order to deliver. For a big new client. All systems go. Fire up the sweat reactor.

By the way, I'm not sweating right now. Am I cured? No wait. There's some sweat on the keyboard.


JG said...


Anonymous said...

Thought you might enjoy this....


Anonymous said...

Answer: Sweating is your body's way of cooling itself. People who sweat excessively may have a condition called hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis is sweating in excess of what is necessary to maintain body temperature. Generally speaking, the condition has no cause, although certain diseases or disorders can contribute to having hyperhidrosis. People seek treatment, both non-surgical and surgical, for hyperhidrosis when it has a significant impact on their quality of life.

Hyperhidrosis can affect the palms, underarms, feet, face, and/or scalp, or combinations of those areas.

The severity of hyperhidrosis depends on the individual. Patients may have problems at work or school because of excessive sweating on the palms, which can make it difficult to function. The University of Minnesota soon will begin using a device that seeks to objectively measure sweating to evaluate how treatments are working.

Generally, there is no cause for hyperhidrosis, although certain psychiatric or metabolic problems can lead to the condition.

Treatment & Remedies

Non-surgical treatments include anti-perspirants, medications, botox, and iontophoresis (mild electrical shocks). The success of non-surgical treatments varies depending on the severity of the person’s condition and the location of the excessive sweating.

Surgical treatment includes minimally invasive surgery to interrupt the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands. This is done on an outpatient basis.

Or maybe you just totally blow.

It is a coin flip at this point. Until some hard data is published to support either side this is an endless debate not unlike that of the NAACP vs. PETA saga of 2007.

The Mill said...

I don't have hyperhidrosis according to the quick test I just took. If the '+' shows up on the little stick, then I have hyperhidrosis, whereas the '-' means I don't. Right?

Anonymous said...

I know where you're coming from Mill, I'm 17 am not over weight (six foot on and one hundred and seventy pounds) and not prone to being nervous yet I go through a few shirts a day. It gets so bad that a few times I have sweat through my hoody jacket. It really blows even though it doesn't smell at all, the amount of sweat just gets uncomfortable and all.

Anonymous said...

hey Mill,

Yup, just called you by your nickname, hope that felt COOL. I have the same problem as you, I actually just missed a networking opportunity cuz I'm in a suit and the F train had no AC. I put a blue shirt on today, and now its about half light blue half dark, sweaty blue.

So, here are solutions I've tried....

Botox, in my forehead- worked great but the rest of my body laughed at it and kept sweating.

Beta blockers- reduced my level of aweating but still not 100%.

I am now seeking information on what else I can try. Ill try and keep you updated

The Mill said...

You can actually have your sweat glands surgically removed. It can either be done by a doctor, or with a pair of pliers.

Anonymous said...

hey mill, i have the same problem. the slightest exertion of energy makes me pour sweat. my sewating continues to get worse as i get older as well I've had about every medical test possible and can't figure it out