What you always wanted to know about sweating
Sweating is a natural function to regulate body temperature. To do this, the human body has two to three million sweat glands under the skin. The vegetative nervous system, which functions unconsciously, is responsible for the sweating mechanism. No wonder that many people sweat more, especially in stressful situations when the autonomic nervous system is irritated.
Sweating fulfills many functions in the human body Sweating is a natural process that takes on various functions. On the one hand, excess heat is released during sweating and the temperature is regulated. On the other hand, sweat has a signaling effect via the sense of smell. In addition, it contains sexual fragrances, so-called pheromones, which play an important role in sexual arousal and reproduction. Sweat also maintains the skin's protective acid mantle by helping lipids to hydrate the skin.
A healthy adult loses up to three liters of sweat every day. If more secretion is formed, the amount is too large to evaporate. Then the sweat collects in the clothes or drips off. Humans sweat even at rest, but at about 100 to 200 milliliters a day, much less than during physical activity. Contrary to popular belief, the amount of sweat that is produced under the armpits is very small. It accounts for less than one percent of the total amount of welding.
Overall, men sweat more and faster than women because they have a larger skin surface and accordingly more sweat glands and a higher metabolic rate. Evolution also plays a role in this context. People who live at the equator and are therefore exposed to high temperatures also have more sweat glands than people in cool regions.
Nutrition also influences sweat production. Above all, very spicy and spicy food triggers sweat attacks in many people, which are particularly noticeable on the face, scalp and neck due to sweat beads. The trigger of the sweating attacks is the so-called capsaicin, which stimulates the sensors in the mouth that are responsible for regulating the heat and sweating.
Many athletes are also familiar with the phenomenon that they sweat faster and more than untrained people. This is because the sweat glands learn to sweat specifically during physical activity. Sporty people are therefore less likely to suffer from uncontrolled sweating.
When sweating is pathological Around 13 million people in industrialized countries suffer from pathological sweating. With so-called hyperhidrosis, the body also makes significantly more sweat when at rest than in healthy people. According to the German Dermatological Society, the formation of at least 100 milligrams of sweat in an armpit within five minutes is considered pathological. Hyperhidrosis occurs in different degrees of severity. For some people, the increased sweat production only occurs on the hands, soles of the feet or armpits, for example. In other people, the entire body is affected by sweating.
In addition to the unpleasant physical symptoms, the resulting psychological stress is also very restrictive for many patients. If your hands sweat, shaking hands out of shame can be a problem. The wet stains on the T-shirt are also embarrassing to many. This often leads to the fact that those affected are so ashamed that they don't even trust their family doctor. There are various therapy methods and medications that can alleviate the symptoms.
If the entire body is affected by pathological sweating, treatment is usually carried out with so-called antihidrotics or psychotropic drugs in tablet form. If the pathological sweat formation only occurs on certain parts of the body such as the hands and soles of the feet, other, less stressful therapies can also be considered. As a rule, the first remedy is treatment with antiperspirants from the pharmacy, which often contain aluminum chloride. Before going to bed, the preparation is brushed onto the affected parts of the body. The application can be gradually reduced after just one week.
Another option is iontophoresis for the treatment of pathological sweating of the hands and soles of the feet, in which pulsating direct current in a water bath is said to reduce sweat production. The use of chemical denervation with botulinum toxin (botox), which is injected into the affected skin, can also inhibit sweating. As a last resort, there is the option of surgically removing the sweat glands. (ag)
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