Hyperhidrosis is a condition that involves excessive sweating that isn’t the result of physical exertion or exposure to intense heat. The sweating may impact the hands or feet, underarms and even the face. In order to receive the diagnosis, patients must routinely exhibit at least one instance of intense sweating each week during wakeful hours.
Close to 3 percent of the U.S. population has received this diagnosis, which translates to approximately 8 million people. This number is potentially much higher when you consider the many people who suffer from symptoms of hyperhidrosis regularly without seeking medical attention. This is an embarrassing condition that many people feel they simply have to endure because it’s how their bodies work and effective treatment is difficult.
When researchers analyzed the prevalence of skin disorders in fibromyalgia patients, they discovered that more than 30 percent routinely experienced hyperhidrosis. Even further, this was the only skin condition found to impact a large percentage of the participants. The frequency of excessive sweating is higher among fibromyalgia patients than it is the general population.
It’s common for a person with fibromyalgia to step out of the shower or get out of bed already soaked with sweat. It’s also common for patients to describe feeling cold all over while their faces are on fire and covered in sweat.
When I am working with people who have fibromyalgia, they will sometimes say that they sweat excessively. People also tend to be self conscious about this, but please know that this is common and many of us with fibromyalgia tend to have issues at one time or another with hyperhidrosis. There might be times where you feel that the amount of exertion compared to the heart rate and sweating doesn't compute or make sense, and again that can be the “nature” of fibromyalgia itself. There can be many factors here.
Fibromyalgia symptoms are typically treated individually. This is the same with hyperhidrosis. When a fibro patient asks their doctor about relieving excessive sweating, they are given the same treatment suggestions as people who suffer hyperhidrosis without fibromyalgia.
Common treatments might include nerve-blocking medication and Botox injections. The injections are often a surprising suggestion, but Botox can block nerves believed to contribute to the excessive sweating. One round of injections can last up to a year, and this is one of the longest lasting treatments available for hyperhidrosis today.
Most people with hyperhidrosis focus on avoiding the sweating all together, but that can make matters worse. Most find that it’s difficult to stop the flow once it is turned on, but most people can find ways to at least reduce or manage sweating when root causes or stressors are addressed. Sometimes it is can be increased pain or symptoms that can bring on sweating.
You often hear me talk about the importance of keeping a safe home, work and car environment, free of toxins and fragrances. These endocrine disruptors can also bring on symptoms of anxiety and sweating when we are exposed to toxins. Laundry toxins, body care toxins and toxic cleaning agents just have no place in a healthy home.
Drinking your water daily becomes more important when your body is determined to sweat even when your body is at rest. You may also find that you need to consume electrolytes, including calcium, potassium and magnesium. A Raw form of calcium is also essential for strong bones, and magnesium supplements can help with sleep at night. Since most fibromyalgia patients also struggle with sleep disturbances, a nightly dose of magnesium is often a good addition to the treatment plan.
Scientific research is uncovering inflammation in the brains of many fibromyalgia patients and this could possibly have something to do with the constant sweating that many fibro sufferers experience. Researchers have found that fibromyalgia patients have high levels of lactate in their bodies even when they aren’t physically active. Lactate is typically released in the muscles during exercise, so it’s unusual to see high levels of lactate in individuals when at rest.
What else do you do during exercise? Yes, you sweat.
While there is no scientific connection between neuroinflammation and hyperhidrosis, it’s possible that the sweating is caused by the same inflammation that leads to the production of excess lactate. It’s as if hydro sufferers are always working hard even when they’re watching television or sleeping.
If you or someone you love has fibromyalgia and is always sweating, talk to a medical professional who is familiar with both conditions. There are other potential causes for excessive sweating, including hot flashes during menopause. You can try some home remedies to stop the sweating on your own, but further medical attention may be needed to prevent the sweating so that it doesn’t interfere with your daily life.