Excessive sweating and women’s health

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Sweating is an essential function as it helps maintain the proper body temperature by keeping it cool. While women have more sweat glands than men, they tend to be less active,1 except in certain situations. It’s normal for women to sweat more in hot weather, during emotional or stressful situations or with exercise, and some may sweat more than others for no apparent reason.2 Excessive sweating may occur with certain conditions and is also a common symptom of menopause.2 Although sweating more than average is typically not a cause for concern it can be embarrassing and cause significant discomfort for some women.

Why does excessive sweating occur with menopause?

During menopause women experience a gradual reduction of female hormones, which can often lead to hot flushes and night sweats. A “hot flush” is a momentary sensation of heat that may be accompanied by a red flushed face and sweating, which occurs to help cool the body down.3 Hot flushes and associated sweating can also occur at night. These are known as “night sweats” and can interfere with sleep. The severity and duration of hot flushes and sweating varies between woman to woman.

How can I reduce excessive sweating?

If you experience excessive sweating due to menopause or for other reasons, you may feel more comfortable by:

  • Avoiding or reducing consumption of spicy foods, hot drinks, caffeine and alcohol as these may increase sweating in some people.
  • Wearing layers of clothing so you can take off as much as you need when hot. You may also benefit from wearing breathable fabrics such as linen and cotton.
  • Practising yoga or meditation. People who sweat excessively in response to stress may benefit from relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.2
  • Creating a cooler environment by using fans or air conditioning and carrying a water facial spray.
  • Drinking sage tea, which has astringent properties and may help reduce excessive sweating.
  • Taking supportive herbal supplements containing black cohosh, lifenol® or zizyphus for hot flushes and night sweats.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. Consult your healthcare professional if symptoms persist. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

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Published June 30, 2014
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