Stress Sweat

Stress sweat, normally associated with anxious moments is not a medical disorder but rather an occasional incidence.

What is Stress Sweat?

Stress sweat is the sweat that we often experience when we are under duress, nervous or anxious about a certain situation. It might be a big presentation, the first date, a job interview or event - all these can lead to stress.

To understand how stress sweat comes about, it's important that we first understand that sweating is an automatic, physiological and evolutionary response to stimuli.

When your brain perceives a threat, (your boss's sharp eyes, or your interviewer's pressing questions) it triggers the sympathetic nervous system to take over. This system is responsible for releasing hormones that are meant to keep you on high alert. In the process, adrenaline and cortisol are released to recruit more energy and sweat to cool you down.

Where Does Stress Sweat Come From?

Our bodies have two major types of sweat glands: The Eccrine glands and the Apocrine glands.

The eccrine glands are responsible for the sweat in your body after a strenuous body activity such as running or lifting weights. Moreover, this type of gland is also responsible for producing sweat in case of extremely high temperatures. The gland is designed to develop sweat all over your skin and is responsible for cooling your body, whether it is because of heat or exercise.

On the other hand, the apocrine glands are responsible for the stress sweat. These glands, which are commonly found in the armpits, genital regions and even in the scalp are activated once your body is under physiological stress.

Aside from the physiological stress, these glands also react to various emotions such as anxiety, excitement, and sadness.

Signs of Stress Sweating

  • Breaking into seemingly uncontrollable sweating
  • The occurrence of hot or cold flashes-these are moments of either a cold or hot body experience
  • Metabolic changes such as increased heartbeat, a surge in body temperatures and a dry mouth. All these occur because stress affects your body`s sympathetic nervous system.
  • A strong, and at times sulfurous body odor.

Why Does Stress Cause Excessive Sweating?

Let us look at the two major reasons why stress leads to excessive sweating.

1. Increased respiration

Amid a stressful moment, the body triggers changes on how the body functions, including increasing perspiration. This is meant to eliminate the body’s water through other means aside from the kidneys, so you do have to stop to urinate. This results in the removal of water from the skin, which is now referred to as stress sweat.

A second explanation is probably the fact that the heart shunts the blood to the vital parts, necessary for emergency action. Shunting naturally results in increased body temperature, which will ultimately lead to sweating as the body tries to cool itself.

2. Hyperstimulation

This response is often seen among individuals who are overly stressed. During such a moment, the body becomes erratic and involuntary, thereby producing signs and symptoms of stress including sweating.

Negative Impact of Stress Sweating

Though stress sweating is situational sweating rather than a medical condition, heavy sweating is not just an inconvenience, or having an extra load of laundry, but can have a devastating impact on your daily life.

Regardless of whether it`s a medical condition, or not, many people are biased towards heavy sweaters.

Let us look at some of the typical side effects of stress sweat.

• Sweat Marks

It is obvious that when sweating pools around your armpits, or at the back of your shirt, it will cause your shirt to take a new color.

• Embarrassment

Excessive sweating is usually frowned upon and can bring an awkward feeling and be a source of embarrassment in a public presentation.

• Outward Perceptions

There is a perception that good smelling individuals are more trustworthy, competence and reliable-all based on their body odor. On the other hand, sweaty individuals, or those not smelling good are perceived in a bad light, which might ultimately lead to them being misjudged or perceived wrong.

• Foul Odor

Let this not be an imagination, stress sweat reeks more fetid odor than regular sweat. See, sweat resulting from heat or intense activity is mainly composed of water, but stress sweat is made up of a higher concentration of lipids, fats, and proteins. When these mix with the bacteria on your skin, they create a malodorous smell.

• Professional Upward Mobility

Individuals who sweat generally lack confidence and self-esteem, which can hold them back in many areas of their life, including their careers.

Ways to Combat Stress and Sweat Stress

Even if you are constantly anxious, there are methods or rather techniques that you can employ to reduce stress and its related sweating.

Let us look at some of the effective methods of reducing stress sweat.

Manage your Stress

The first and most important aspect of fighting stress sweat is learning on how you can effectively manage your stress level. See, stress is the root cause of stress sweat and curbing it will help you in avoiding stress sweat in the first place.

Some of the tips you can use to manage stress include;

  • Preparing for the moment: if you know that you are going to be in a stressful situation (a job interview or date), you can take a moment to study your thoughts, figure out your fears and meditate on how to work on your fears.
  • If possible, write your fears down, as it helps in providing clarity, rather than fretting over it.

Learn Coping Mechanisms

At times, you are required to present an impromptu speech that you had not prepared. In such cases, you should learn some coping mechanisms that will help in lowering your anxiety levels.

Some of the stress coping mechanisms include;

  • Breathing slowly but steadily to manage the adrenaline rush, which is responsible for a faster heart rate. To get the best of this, inhale through the nose, hold your breath for at least three seconds before releasing it through the mouth.
  • Focusing on the moment: Directing all your energy to the task ahead of you and shunning negative thoughts of “What if” is vital for remaining relaxed and calm throughout the event.