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Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis
Causes of Hyperhidrosis
Sweat Biology
Types of Hyperhidrosis
Gustatory Sweating: Why People Sweat While Eating
Written by Katie Crissman
October 01 2020

Gustatory sweating, or Frey’s Syndrome, is defined as sweating and flushing of the facial region that occurs when a person is eating, or even thinking about food.[5] This is quite different than when your face burns because you are already sweating. Most people experience sweating as a result of eating spicy food, but it is typically generalized and mild. For those suffering from gustatory sweating, the amount of sweat they produce can be copious and the results can be extremely embarrassing. It is well documented that hyperhidrosis and anxiety are often associated, and this is especially true in the case of gustatory sweating. This is because people often socialize while eating meals together, which would naturally trigger stress in those who can’t eat without it causing them to sweat excessively. Interestingly, gustatory sweating is not the same as craniofacial hyperhidrosis, although it could be considered to be a form of it.

Causes of Gustatory Sweating

There are several things that can cause gustatory sweating. The most common cause, by far, is injury to the parotid gland and its surrounding nerves.[5] The parotid gland is a salivary gland that is situated on both sides of the face, it is below and in front of the ear. The glands communicate with the mouth via a duct and aid in the secretion of saliva.[4] The parotid gland is usually injured during a type of surgery called a parotidectomy in which the parotid gland is removed. Injury can also happen during a face lift surgery or due to trauma in that region of the face.[5] It has even been known to be caused by war related injuries and occupational accidents.[2] In some unfortunate cases, the use of forceps during delivery has also been known to damage a baby’s face and later lead to the development of gustatory sweating.[1] Damage to the parotid gland and the subsequent sweating that occurs during eating is what is referred to as Frey’s syndrome.

Gustatory sweating can also be caused by medical conditions that cause secondary hyperhidrosis by damaging the nerves near the parotid gland, like neuropathy caused by diabetes. Diabetes can cause patients to sweat while eating because the disease causes nerve damage. If nerves near the parotid gland are damaged, then diabetes patients are susceptible to developing Frey’s syndrome when their nerves regenerate in an aberrant way. This is very similar to the way surgical patients develop the disease. There have also been cases of gustatory sweating caused by diseases like Parkinson’s, Shingles, Tuberculosis and others, although these cases are less studied.[5]

It is thought that Frey’s syndrome occurs due to sympathetic nerves regenerating in an inappropriate location after trauma caused by surgery. This problematic nerve regrowth is referred to as “aberrant nervous regeneration” in texts describing the disorder. These sympathetic nerves are then stimulated by foods that would normally cause salivation to occur, but instead sweating and flushing happen on the outside of the face because of the the incorrect way they regenerated. This is why sweating happens when a person with Frey’s syndrome looks at, eats or even thinks about certain foods.[5]

A Brief History

Gustatory sweating has been a medically documented phenomenon for the last 300 years. Early researchers wanted to understand why humans sweat under normal conditions, but they also sought to understand the pathological sweating some people experienced. Specific episodes of gustatory sweating have been noted as far back as 1740, but were not explored in detail until 1888 when the first official account was written by Paul Raymond. In the past most cases of gustatory sweating were noted after severe infections, hunting accidents or war injuries to the face. It wasn’t until World War II that German documents were found pertaining to Lucja Frey’s work on the subject. She was the first person to describe gustatory sweating as involving issues with with the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Unfortunately, she was a victim during the war and subsequently died but the disorder is named after her for the massive contribution to its understanding that she provided. That is why gustatory sweating is referred to as Frey’s syndrome.[1]

Treatment for Gustatory Sweating

There are limited treatment options for those with gustatory sweating, however, the treatments that are available have been shown to be effective and improve quality of life. Many of the treatments that reduce and stop facial sweating caused by primary focal hyperhidrosis are the same ones that are effective for treating gustatory sweating. Botox injections are the primary treatment option for those with Frey’s syndrome. Botox is used for axillary hyperhidrosis treatment most commonly, and is FDA approved for this purpose and it has been successfully used to treat excessive sweating of the face.[5] One study looked at the connection between Botox treatment in patients with gustatory sweating and their quality of life. It was found that Botox treatment significantly improved how patients perceived quality of life.[6] Botox has the ability to stop gustatory sweating and has even lead to remission in some patients.[5] Botox is also frequently used for patients with craniofacial sweating and can even be used to treat upper lip sweating.

Prior to administering Botox injections a doctor will most likely perform a starch-iodine test to determine where the problem area is located and to confirm a diagnosis of gustatory sweating. Usually, a patient will be given food to eat and then the starch-iodine test will identify where the sweating occurs most. Botulinum toxin A is the most common type used to treat gustatory sweating. It’s effectiveness, as well as Abo-BoNT-A type, have been found to be the most effective in treating Frey’s syndrome. Patients typically need repeat treatments every 15 months or so. Some of the possible side effects include dry mouth, smile asymmetry and temporary weakness of the muscles involved in chewing.[5]

While other options like over-the-counter topical treatments and oral medications for hyperhidrosis can be used, they have not been shown to be affectatious.

The symptoms of gustatory sweating can be frustrating, but there are effective ways to manage them and stop excessive sweating from occuring while patients eat.

Sources
  1. Daniels, E., & Watchorn, R. (2016). Unilateral facial flushing precipitated by eating. . BMJ : British Medical Journal (Online), 352. doi:10.1136/bmj.i1377
  2. Dunbar, E. M., Singer, T. W., Singer, K., Knight, H., Lanska, D., & Okun, M. S. (2002). Understanding gustatory sweating What have we learned from Lucja Frey and her predecessors? Clinical Autonomic Research, 12(3), 179-184. doi:10.1007/s10286-002-0045-7
  3. Freeman, G. L. (1998). Gustatory Sweating in the Differential Diagnosis of Food Allergy. . Allergy and Asthma Proceedings, 9(1), 1-2. Retrieved September 4, 2018, from http://ezproxy.co.wake.nc.us/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/231721476?accountid=14867
  4. Medical Definition of parotid gland. (2018). Retrieved September 4, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parotid gland
  5. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
  6. Steffen, A., Rotter, N., König, I. R., & Wollenberg, B. (2012). Botulinum toxin for Frey's syndrome: A closer look at different treatment responses. The Journal of Laryngology and Otology, 126(2), 185-189. doi:10.1017/S0022215111002581
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Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

9 Outrageous Things People Try to Avoid Excessive Armpit Sweating

By Daniel McCarthy /

9 Outrageous Things People Try to Avoid Excessive Armpit Sweating


On my first day of work a few years ago, I got dressed to impress and walked the 20 minutes to my new office to meet my new colleagues for the first time. Having just moved to the southern US, I’d been getting used to the unbearable humidity and its effects on my excessive armpit sweating. Luckily (I thought), the sun wasn’t out and the temps dropped below 80, so maybe my sweat glands wouldn’t take center stage! Well...I arrived to meet my colleagues looking like a wet bass in business clothes. Thank goodness I arrived 15 minutes early, which brings me to the first outrageous thing people try to avoid armpit sweating. 

  1. The Hand Dryer 

I anxiously scurried to the nearest bathroom, declothed, and put the hand dryer to good use on my shirt stains and sweat stains. More outrageously, I awkwardly hovered my sweaty extremities (including my sweaty underarms) over the hand dryer. Thankfully, I reapplied my antiperspirant and headed out to meet my colleagues a decently dry man. That was the day I knew I really needed clinical strength antiperspirant for my excessive armpit sweating (and a car). 


  1. Pantyliners


Many with excessive underarm sweating already know that underarm pads are one way to help with sweating armpits. But if you find yourself sans pad and worried about your excessive armpit sweating, you would not be the first person to try pantyliners. That’s right, pantyliners have been used in a pinch to help keep sweat stains at bay. 

  1. Give a shirt

In 2019, a reddit user posted that to combat his excessive armpit sweating, he skipped the typical clothing and made his own shirt. He posted asking others to try out his creation and received over 250 replies! By creating and giving others shirts, this innovative reddit user designed his way into the hearts of many with smelly armpits. 

  1. Get inked

If you’ve been debating whether to get a tasteful tattoo and you have hyperhidrosis, this finding may just help you make your decision. A 2017 study found that getting inked helped reduce sweat [1]! Now, I don’t recommend choosing a tattoo as a means of treatment for excessive armpit sweating (and maybe don’t tattoo your armpit), but the connection is a fun little fact nonetheless. 

  1. Become a naked mole rat

If you can’t pull the trigger on an armpit tattoo, another method some people have tried is hair removal. Yes, like Steve Carrell (who actually has hyperhidrosis himself) in the hit movie 40-year Old Virgin, removing hair can help reduce sweat buildup for you too. Many likely already “naturally” lose hair thanks to some sweat prevention products, but more natural hair removal may just be the trick to solving excessive sweating

  1. Armpit art

Even though we know most sweaty armpit causes, like too much caffeine or spicy foods, it’s no fun to cut these out completely. A more outrageous approach to excessive underarm sweating is actually turning sweating armpits into art. Multiple users of the Reddit community r/Hyperhidrosis have created shirts, sweatshirts, and other clothing that includes beautiful tie-dye in the armpits. Creative, fun, and beautiful, and even better when combined with sweat prevention like antiperspirant or carpe underarm

  1. Vinegar your armpit

You may already know how to get rid of pit stains with vinegar, but there are other interesting ways it can help with excessive armpit sweating. Splashing vinegar on your sweaty underarms  is one method many recommend. Those that swear by this method also recommend using deodorant or antiperspirant, too. 

While we don’t know how this was discovered, I like to think someone accidentally splashed vinegar on their pits hundreds of years ago and voila! Too bad the first person to splash his pits with vinegar didn’t also have access to the best antiperspirant for his excessive armpit sweating. 

  1. Baking soda your sweaty underarms

If you find deodorant or antiperspirant irritating, one creative way to help alleviate your excessive underarm sweating is baking soda. Many crafty people with hyperhidrosis swear that not only can baking soda help reduce sweat, but it can also help alleviate pesky underarm smell with some of the best sweat prevention. 

  1. Restart the plaid fad

Black t-shirt, black sweatshirt, black button down, black tank top. If this sounds like your closet, you’re clearly an expert on the hyperhidrosis wardrobe. But if you want some variety as you fight excessive armpit sweating, add some plaid, a trick many with hyperhidrosis use that you may not know. Hey, you just may be starting the resurgence of the plaid fad, and at worst, you’ll add some fun, lumberjack variety to your dark closet. 


Sources: 

[1] Luetkemeier, M. J., Hanisko, J. M., & Aho, K. M. (2017). Skin Tattoos Alter Sweat Rate and Na+ Concentration. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 49(7), 1432–1436. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001244
Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

How to Cure Sweaty Hands Permanently at Home

By Daniel McCarthy /

How to Cure Sweaty Hands Permanently at Home 

Scenario 1: You’re invited into the office, confident you will land the job. You’ve prepared, you’re highly qualified, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. You walk in and confidently reach out to shake the CEOs hand. But then, your confidence turns to dread as the CEO pulls her hand back, wet with your sweat. 

Scenario 2: You’re at home, playing video games with your friends and absolutely dominating. They get so upset, they tell you to take a break to let another friend play. But there’s another problem... nobody wants to use your controller after you finish. Despite your domination, your palmar hyperhidrosis (excessively sweaty hands) has taken center stage. 

Do these scenarios sound familiar? Wondering how to cure sweaty hands permanently? Although you may not have had these exact things happen to you, your sweaty hands likely have caused something similar and you’re looking for a home remedy. To stop sweating these situations, let’s talk about how to cure sweaty hands permanently at home. 

One of the best ways to cure sweaty hands at home is actually not related to the hands at all. Instead, working on reducing anxiety can have immensely positive results on how to cure sweaty hands permanently naturally. There are many root causes of anxiety, and some or many may be related to your hyperhidrosis. Likewise, it is easier said than done to reduce anxiety. But there are also many ways to work on reducing anxiety that are worth a try. One interesting way to reduce anxiety, and in turn, sweaty hands, is to be grateful. Specifically, Petrocchi and Couyoumdjian found that “grateful people experience less anxiety mostly because they are able to encourage and be compassionate and reassuring toward themselves when things go wrong in life” [1]. Other ways include stepping outside for a walk, drinking tea, or even distracting yourself. In general, starting with anxiety reduction not only can help with how to cure sweaty hands, but also your wellbeing in general. 

Another great way to cure sweaty hands at home permanently is to reduce consumption of coffee and alcohol. Now you may be reading this and thinking “Hey, those are all my favorite things! I’m done with this article!”. And while I wholeheartedly agree and enjoy coffee and alcohol myself, consumption in moderation is key, especially with hyperhidrosis. Caffeine, for example, activates part of the brain that is already a main part in causing hyperhidrosis symptoms. Instead of giving it up, try to reduce consumption to under 200 mg or add in decaf to your routine. Alcohol can affect hyperhidrosis in a similar manner, but like coffee, 1-2 glasses of alcohol may be okay. When figuring out how to cure sweaty hands permanently naturally, it is important to find a balance of coffee, alcohol, and managing your hyperhidrosis. And remember to always drink responsibly, in moderation. 

Tackling how to cure sweaty hands permanently, naturally, and at home may require more than behavioral changes we’ve talked about so far. Luckily, there are other great remedies you can try at home! First, finding the right antiperspirant is of paramount importance, especially appropriate antiperspirant for hands. Another possible over the counter option is anti-sweat wipes. If neither of these work for you, another option to cure your sweaty hands permanently is to buy your very own iontophoresis machine for at-home use. This machine delivers mild electrical currents to your hands (or other affected body part) while submerged in water. A combination of these treatments may have your hands feeling less clammy in no time! 

Ultimately, your palmar hyperhidrosis may not be treatable at home and permanently, but these recommendations may help alleviate some of your symptoms. If symptoms persist, consult a medical professional for further assistance with how to cure sweaty hands. 



Sources

Sources

1. Nicola Petrocchi & Alessandro Couyoumdjian (2016) The impact of gratitude on depression and anxiety: the mediating role of criticizing, attacking, and reassuring the self, Self and Identity, 15:2, 191-205, DOI: 10.1080/15298868.2015.1095794

Antiperspirant

8 Random & Interesting Facts about Excessive Armpit Sweating

By Daniel McCarthy /

8 Random & Interesting Facts about Excessive Armpit Sweating

Our worries about shirt stains, sweaty underarms, and smelly armpits may dominate how we think about excessive armpit sweating. Hey, we may even avoid thinking about these all together. But guess what? There are some random and interesting facts that just may change how you think about excessive underarm sweating! Let’s take a look: 

Fact number 1: Sweat by itself ISN’T smelly

Sweat is often associated with smelliness. But by itself, it doesn’t smell AT ALL. The reason sweat can smell (in places like your armpit) isn’t really about sweat. It’s about the sweat glands (and hair)! Apocrine glands are the biggest of sweat-producing glands and are usually located near hair. It’s this combo that leads to smelly armpits.

Fact number 2: Excessive armpit sweating is as old as cavemen

Hang with me here. Excessive underarm sweating is connected to the fight-or-flight response ingrained in even the most ancient of human predecessors. This excessive armpit sweating response has helped humans survive for millenia. And yep, it means our cavemen ancestors likely had sweating armpits, too. Even though they didn’t have to worry about shirt stains like us, we have the benefit of products like carpe underarm and antiperspirant in general to help with our excessive armpit sweating.  

Fact number 3: Famous people worry about excessive armpit sweating too

Michael Gary Scott, fearless and deliciously cringeworthy leader of Dunder Mifflin Scranton on the show The Office, is perfectly played by actor Steve Carell. Carell seemed to play the role with such ease, comfort, and confidence that nobody would ever know he was worried about excessive underarm sweating due to his hyperhidrosis. Co-star Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute on the show) even pointed out that the set temperature was a cool 64 degrees to keep Carell’s sweaty underarms from becoming the focus of the scene. 

Even though Carell’s excessive armpit sweating wasn’t part of the show, I like to think Michael’s approach to sweat stains could be summed up by his famous line:  “I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.” 

Fact number 4: Other celebrities combat hyperhidrosis too

Steve Carell is not the only notable person looking for the best sweat prevention. As a longtime vampire and real-life human with hyperhidrosis, Robert Pattinson is another actor who combats hyperhidrosis (and werewolves) on the regular. 

Like Pattinson and Carell, Halle Berry also has hyperhidrosis. Famously, Berry confidently showed her sweat stains on the Ellen Show back in 2010. So when you’re feeling a little self-conscious about your own excessive underarm sweating, remember you too can confidently move through your day like Berry barring her pits for the world. 

Fact number 5: Ventilation over here please!

If you’re still worried about how to get rid of pit stains, some ventilation could provide a brief respite. Because we sometimes get pesky pit stains, it can feel like our excessive underarm sweating is due to our pits proclivity to produce the most amount of sweat. Yet, this annoying issue is more commonly attributed to a lack of ventilation, although sweaty armpit causes cannot be narrowed to one thing. Still, a little ventilation and clinical strength antiperspirant can go a long way in dealing with pesky pit stains and excessive armpit sweating. 

Fact number 6: An underappreciated aspect of a non-meat diet

Sometimes even the best antiperspirant and deodorant may not feel like enough to help with excessive armpit sweating and underarm smell. That’s okay though because there are other interesting ways to approach this issue. A 2006 study showed that women found mens’ armpit odor “more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense” when these men ate a non-meat diet [1]. If you haven’t already thought about eating less meat, the improved aroma of your pits (and the kitchen) may be another reason to eat a non-meat diet. 

Fact number 7: Fashion matters

Choosing clothes is a fashion statement for many. And while fashion may matter more to some than others, there’s one interesting reason we can all get behind to choose our clothes. Our clothing choices can help deal with excessive underarm sweating. That’s right, there are clothes, materials, styles, and pads that all can help with excessive armpit sweating as well as excessive sweating and shirt stains in general. 

Fact number 8: You aren’t alone

An estimated 2-3% of the US population suffers from axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating). Even though this percentage may seem small, 3% of the US population is right around 10 million people. That’s like all of NYC combating excessive armpit sweating at the same time. It can be easy to feel isolated in dealing with hyperhidrosis, but there’s some comfort in knowing many others are dealing with the same worries. 

Sources

 

  1. Havlicek, J., & Lenochova, P. (2006). The Effect of Meat Consumption on Body Odor Attractiveness. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/chemse/article/31/8/747/364338
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