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Taking Care of Your Body

Why Do I Sweat So Much?

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Although it may seem like some strange disorder, it’s actually perfectly normal to sweat. Sweating plays an important role in the body because it helps maintain body temperature by cooling us down. When we’re hot and we sweat, that moisture evaporates and cools us off a bit. We don’t just sweat when we are hot. It’s also normal for people to sweat when they’re nervous because emotions can affect the sweat glands.

Sweating is one part of puberty. When our bodies starts to change, our roughly 3 million sweat glands become more active. This is especially true for glands in the armpits and groin and on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. When the sweat comes in contact with bacteria on the skin, it can produce an odor, which may be stronger in some people than others.

So how to handle sweat? Take a bath or shower daily. If you’re worried about smell, use a deodorant or a deodorant with antiperspirant (a deodorant masks odor, whereas an antiperspirant helps decrease sweating).

It can also help to wear clothes made of natural fibers, such as cotton or linen, especially in the summer heat. Pads called underarm shields or dress shields can also help absorb sweat and prevent embarrassing underarm stains. These pads attach to the armpit area inside a person’s clothes where they absorb sweat. You can buy them in the lingerie departments of many department stores and at some specialized sports stores. Some teens also keep an extra shirt in their lockers so they can change at school.

If you still worry about your sweating, talk to a doctor. Occasionally sweating too much might be a sign of a medical problem. Stronger antiperspirants are now available with a doctor’s prescription — your doctor may think a prescription-strength antiperspirant might help you.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: September 2013