Sweating

Definition

Sweating is the release of a salty liquid from the body's sweat glands. This process is also called perspiration.

Sweating is an essential function that helps your body stay cool. Sweat is commonly found under the arms, on the feet, and on the palms of the hands.

Considerations

How much you sweat depends on how many sweat glands you have. A person is born with about two to four million sweat glands. The glands start to become fully active during puberty. Women have more sweat glands then men, but men's glands are more active.

Sweating is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that is not under your control. Because sweating is the body's natural way of regulating temperature, people sweat more when it's hot outside. People also sweat more when they exercise, or in response to situations that make them nervous, angry, embarrassed, or afraid.

Excessive sweating may also be a symptom of menopause.

See also:

Causes

Home Care

After sweating, you should:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Contact your health care provider if sweating occurs with:

These symptoms may indicate a problem, such as hyperthyroidism or infection.

Also call your health care provider if:


Review Date: 5/29/2011
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.