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Don't Sweat Summer

Everyone perspires; it's the body's way to regulates temperature while exercising and in cases of extreme warmth.

Many people also tend to perspire when feeling anxious or nervous. A little sweat on the underarms, soles of the feet and the palms of hands is the result of normal bodily function. For some people, however, excess perspiration can be a problem.

According to The Early Show's Dr. Mallika Marshall, knowing if you're sweating too much is "a personal thing."

"The bottom line," she says, "is that if your sweating makes you uncomfortable, you should talk to your doctor about it."

Marshall cites the following health disorders as potential causes for excess perspiration:

  • HYPERHIDROSIS: There are nerve endings that regulate the amount of sweat your glands produce. In people who suffer from hyperhidrosis-- approximately one percent of Americans--those nerves are over-active.
  • OVERACTIVE THYROID: People with overactive thyroids can sweat excessively.
  • MENOPAUSE: Women who are pre-menopausal usually complain of "hot flashes" or "night sweats."
    For people who consider themselves to sweat excessively, Marshall recommends anti-perspirant instead of deodorant. "A deodorant," she says, "just masks smells whereas an anti-perspirant actually reduces the amount of sweating."

    If you are unable to find relief from over-the-counter products, Marshall suggests you ask your doctor for a prescription. There are a number of medications, such as atropine, which helps block the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands. You also can look into treatments like botox or corrective surgery.

    Botox, best known for its cosmetic uses, can actually be injected into areas of excessive sweating to correct the problem by paralyzing sweat-gland nerves. The procedure generally lasts for several months, but is not permanent.

    Some people, says Marshall, have such severe sweating and have tried so many things without relief that they opt for more invasive procedures to remove the sweat glands or to sever nerves to the sweat glands.

    For those seeking a less drastic method of limiting perspiration, Marshall makes the following suggestions:

  • WEAR LOOSE-FITTING CLOTHING: Tight clothes tend to trap body heat causing you to sweat.
  • WEAR NATURAL FIBERS: Unlike man-made fibers such as polyester, fabrics made with cotton breathe.
  • USE TALCUM OR ANTI-FUNGAL POWDER: Powders can help absorb moisture.
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