How To Stop Excessive Sweating Naturally

Sweating is a normal bodily function which serves to cool the body.

Excessive sweating is not an appropriate response to the atmospheric temperature and the level of physical activity the person is engaging in.

What causes excessive sweating?

Common causes include:

  • anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety and social anxiety
  • medication (e.g. morphine, drugs used to treat fever and those to treat thyroid problems may have sweating as a side effect)
  • health problems (e.g. conditions such as overactive thyroid and low blood sugar may lead to sweating)

Therefore you are advised to consult with your doctor so they can rule out the possibility that there is anything wrong with your health and ensure that you are not on any medications which have sweating as a side effect.

Does excessive sweating mean I may have an anxiety disorder?

Profuse sweating is a symptom of generalized anxiety disorder

People with generalised anxiety are chronic worriers who find it difficult to control their worry and experience symptoms of anxiety such as:

  • tension headaches
  • muscle tension
  • irritability
  • difficulty falling and/or staying asleep
  • excessive sweating
  • difficulty concentrating
  • restlessness
  • being easily fatigued

Hyperhydrosis, otherwise known as excessive sweating, is a symptom of social anxiety

If you do not sweat profusely when by yourself, and should you find your perspiration  to be caused by exposure to the possibility of negatively judged by other people, you may have social anxiety. However, it is important not to self diagnose ( as there are other anxiety disorders with similar symptoms making a wrong diagnosis a distinct possibility). Seek an assessment from a qualified mental health practitioner.

People who are anxious  may experience excessive sweating on their face, palms or under their arm pits. Unfortunately, excessive sweating may be apparent to others. Facial sweating may be distressing for males and females. However, women who wear makeup may have an additional problem of makeup running due to their profuse perspiration. Sweaty palms may be embarrassing when one is required to hold or shake hands. Underarm sweat may leave visible patches on one’s clothes.

People with profuse sweating consider their perspiration is shameful and that they will be unfavourably evaluated because of it. Excessive sweating sufferers worry that people will believe they are lying, unwell, nervous or weak and therefore will not want to associated with them.

Embarrassment and fear of sweating can lead to sufferers leading restricted lives; avoiding some social scenarios completely or developing subtle avoidance behaviours such as:

  • wearing their hair over their face rather than pulling it back into a pony tail or having some other face revealing hairstyle
  • wiping  their hands and face
  • routinely carrying cold drinks with them
  • choosing to wear garments which they consider are less likely to show perspiration
  • excessive use of anti-perspirants
  • avoiding garments which fit snugly under the arms
  • avoiding wearing synthetic fabrics
  • changing  their clothes several times per day
  • having the airconditioning on high
  •  having the heating on low or turned off completely
  • wearing insufficient clothing for the climate
  • avoiding shaking or holding hands because of sweaty palms

The  hyperhidrosis sufferer may worry they will perspire in a particular social setting and this anticipatory anxiety heightens the problem.

People who have anxiety about sweating profusely try to hide and/or control their perspiration and their efforts to do so only maintain and exacerbate the problem. It is important for people to try to overcome their feelings of shame and embarrassment re sweating and stop going to extreme lengths to hide or prevent perspiration. Your efforts to conceal  and/or prevent sweating are causing disruption to your life and can be a bigger handicap than the perspiration itself.

Hyperhydrosis sufferers need to focus on  2 facts:

  • People may not register that your’re sweating
  • Should someone observe you are perspiring, they may not judge you badly  for doing so.

For example, a marketing executive  is  giving a presentation in a work  context about his product. He may be exhibiting facial sweating but his audience could interpret that positively, believing that he is  very passionate and enthused about his product. I have certainly heard many anecdotes from  clients over the years, where they found to their surprise that their profuse sweating was interpreted favourably on some occasion!.

How to stop excessive sweating from anxiety naturally

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Hyperhidrosis

Cognitive behavioural therapy  challenges the client’s beliefs as to how others perceive  excessive perspiration. A CBT  therapist may question the client’s beliefs about how apparent the sweating is. For instance, perspiration often feels worse than it appears. A therapist may  give you video evidence of how intensely (or not) you sweat in feared social/performance situations.

CBT also entails having the client confront the interpersonal and/or performance scenarios where they fear  sweating. Therapy may also involve behavioural experiments where the sufferer deliberately draws people’s attention to his excessive anxious sweating, so he gets the opportunity to see how people really do react to his perspiration.  The sweating sufferer is likely to find  that other people are not as judgemental of his sweating as he has always assumed them to be. If the person’s anxiety about  excessive sweating subsides so will the problem.

Another component of treatment may be attention training.  If  excessive sweating sufferers can focus  their attention more effectively on their environment, rather than being self focussed they may perspire less. Psychological treatment may entail learning relaxation strategies such as slow breathing.

Celebrities Who Sweat

There are many famous celebrities, actors, sportspeople who sweat profusely and there is even a lighthearted website dedicated to them, as an effort to help destigmatize profuse sweating and to remind everyone that they are not alone when it comes to having excessive perspiration.

Medication has side effects

Beta blockers may be helpful for people with excessive sweating, however beta blockers have side effects such as tiredness and low blood pressure. Amitryptilline, an antidepressant, alleviates sweating but has the side effects such as dryness of mouth, weight gain and dizziness. Anticholinergic drugs may be helpful but their most commonly experienced side effect is a severely dry mouth. Other side effects include constipation, blurry vision, memory impairment and increased heart rate.

Surgery — Endoscopic Transthoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) has  risk of serious side effects

This medical procedure is a treatment for both facial and hand sweating but there are complications that can occur during surgery such as excessive bleeding, a reaction to the anaesthetic, or pneumothorax, where the lung collapses. There can also be side effects of the procedure. For example, although the sweating in the face and hands may be relieved, some people find they then sweat more in areas such as the chest, back and legs. Some people end up with Horner’s Syndrome, eyelid droop due to nerve damage, following ETS. I would recommend that people considering ETS surgery read this article for more information on the possible adverse results from the operation and explore all other treatment options first. SURGERY IS A LAST RESORT.

Someone who has had ETS surgery (but NOTE this person not a medical professional and therefore it is possible that not all the information there is correct ) has written about their side effects post surgery and what they have learnt about  negative side effects other people have sustained from ETS operations. You might benefit from reading this simply written article also before considering surgery. .

However, reading articles on the internet is not a substitute for a consultation with a  doctor who specialises in ETS. Should you still wish to have ETS after exploring all other treatment options first,

  • you should choose your surgeon carefully (e.g. get recommendations from other doctors, make sure your surgeon is very experienced in the procedure, insist on being able to speak to some of their past patients who have had ETS, is the doctor willing to discuss  the side effects with you or evasive? have they written scientific research papers on ETS, do they give presentations on ETS at medical conferences?)
  • when you interview prospective surgeons make sure you discuss the pros and cons of surgery, ask for a list and explanation of all possible potential side effects, and their incidence rates.


This article published on Nov 10, 2012. View related Articles

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