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Excessive Sweating: Is My Perspiration Normal Or Abnormal?

Summer is probably the season most welcomed by Canadians, if only for its fleeting nature and the chance to be outdoors without wincing from the cold, or wind, or rain. But for those with excessive sweating issues, summer only serves to highlight a problem they're experiencing all year round.

Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, affects almost 1 million Canadians, according to research from Leger Marketing. It's most commonly felt in the palms, feet, under the arms and groin. The same survey found that sweating affected the lifestyle of one in four Canadians, either because it kept them from raising their hands (hello, pit stains) or from hugging others.

Dr. Nowell Solish, a dermatologist and the founder of Sweat Clinics Canada, notes that while sweating is a healthy and natural part of our everyday lives, hyperhidrosis can actually indicate a medical condition.

It's not necessarily dangerous, of course, but for some people, excessive sweating can be due to a hormonal condition, infection, cancer or anxiety disorder, reports Harvard Medical School.

Solish says treatment can be as simple as antiperspirant (he recommends one with alumnium chloride) and wearing breathable clothing, though people with more extreme cases may want to consider getting Botox, which blocks the nerve from producing sweat in the areas injected. Even surgery is an option.

Solish broke down 10 ways in which we can tell what's 'normal' sweating, and what constitutes excessive perspiration.

Amount Of Sweat

The volume or amount you sweat can be a giveaway when it comes to normal vs. abnormal sweating. Everyone sweats a certain amount a day, but if you are excessively sweating you might be suffering from hyperhidrosis, in which the body's cooling mechanism is so overactive that it produces five times the amount of sweat that you need in order to maintain consistent body temperature.

Normal Vs. Abnormal Sweating

How Annoying Is it?

Normal: Sweating being an occasional inconvenience.

Abnormal: Sweating negatively impacting the overall quality of your life.

When Are You Sweating?

Normal: Sweating while exercising.

Abnormal: Sweating profusely when sitting in a cold room, watching TV.

How Are Your Clothes Doing?

Normal: Staining clothes because of sweat while exercising.

Abnormal: Staining clothes with sweat while sitting in a temperature-controlled room.

Do You Keep Your Cool At Work?

Abnormal: If sweating is interfering with work and your overall professionalism.

Do Your Friends Notice?

Abnormal: If sweating is impacting your social life. If on a daily basis, you are not hugging someone or refuse to shake hands due to sweat.

Seasonal Changes

Normal: When temperatures rise -- for any reason -- the sweat glands kick in to produce more sweat. This is why we sweat more in the summer.

Abnormal: Sweating regardless of the heat (year round).


Abnormal: Sweating while sleeping is abnormal.

Mental Health State

Normal: Sweating with anxiety.

Abnormal: Sweating when calm.

Something You Ate?

Normal: Sweating while consuming spicy food.

Abnormal: Sweating while eating ice cream.

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