Is Sweating Good for You: Your Guide to Sweat and Lost Fluid
For many people, sweat is an annoyance that causes embarrassment and can be uncomfortable. While we’re often inclined to look for ways to prevent sweat, it’s actually an incredibly important process that supports overall health.
If you’ve ever wondered “Is sweating good for you?,” you’ve come to the right place. You’ll learn how sweat works, what’s in it, and when it can be problematic. Plus, we’ll show you how DripDrop oral rehydration solution can help you avoid dehydration caused by excessive sweating. Lastly we’ll show you the benefits of sweating from regulating your core body temperature to supporting your immune system.
What Is Sweat?
Sweat is an essential bodily process that helps you stay cool. When you perspire, your body releases water through two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine glands are found all over your body and push water and electrolytes to the surface of your skin when you get hot. The water then evaporates into the atmosphere, producing a cooling effect and helping to decrease your internal body temperature.
When you do an intense workout or are engaging in difficult labor on the job site, your heart rate accelerates and your muscles start to heat up. This triggers sweat, which helps your body cool down, even when you’re exerting a lot of energy through physical activity.
Apocrine glands secrete oily solutions, including lipids and proteins, through hair follicles. These glands are commonly found in the armpits, underarms, and genitals and release sweat in response to emotional and hormonal changes rather than heat. These are the glands responsible for your sweaty palms when you’re nervous, embarrassed, or in an uncomfortable situation.
Sweat is made mostly of water but also contains electrolytes, including potassium, calcium, and sodium. Sweat also has urea, proteins, sugars, and chemicals, including ammonia. The exact composition of sweat depends on the gland that’s excreting it.
When Sweating Becomes Problematic
Excessive sweating, known as hyperhidrosis, occurs when your body produces sweat that’s not related to increased temperatures or emotional triggers. People who experience excessive sweating may have symptoms that include sweating through clothes, unexplained night sweats, and increased incidence of skin infections. This type of sweating may drastically affect your quality of life.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis, including primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis, or axillary hyperhidrosis, occurs when nerves that trigger sweat production become overactive. It’s typically hereditary and researchers are still trying to understand what causes it. Sweating is typically limited to one affected area, mainly the palm of your hand or the soles of your feet.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that’s linked to a medical condition. It may be triggered by health problems, including diabetes, kidney stones, menopause, nervous system problems, and thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroidism. This type of excessive sweating typically occurs all over your body.
Sweating and Dehydration
Excessive sweating can lead to serious conditions including dehydration. Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid and electrolytes than it replaces. When you sweat, your body secretes electrolytes like sodium and calcium, as well as water. If you don’t replenish these lost electrolytes and fluids, you can develop dehydration.
Dehydration can be caused if you exercise or work in high temperatures — usually above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Dehydration may also occur if you have an illness that causes diarrhea, fever, or vomiting because these processes cause your body to lose electrolytes through sweat or other bodily fluids.
Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, headache, dizziness, and lethargy. If you’re overheating and your body can’t cool down, you may develop a heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke. These conditions are serious and may require medical attention to prevent long-term damage.
Replenish Water and Electrolytes With DripDrop ORS
The best way to avoid dehydration caused by excessive sweating, heat, or other factors is to prevent it with an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS. When you're in a state of dehydration, no amount of water is enough. Your body needs the correct balance of sodium and glucose to enable rapid absorption.
With DripDrop's medically balanced ratio, you're able to replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quickly. Plus, DripDrop ORS supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential to support your overall health.
Medical Treatments of Sweat Problems
Hyperhidrosis treatment options generally involve a trip to the dermatologist or a qualified healthcare practitioner. Your dermatology doctor may perform blood tests and will gather information about your symptoms and medical or family history to determine the cause of your excessive sweating. They may recommend prescription antiperspirants with aluminum chloride or botulinum toxin injections (Botox injections).
Treatment of hyperhidrosis may also include iontophoresis — a medical treatment where medications are given through electrical currents — particularly for plantar hyperhidrosis and palmar hyperhidrosis, which affect the hands and feet. You may also need to use anticholinergic drugs if your sweating is related to nervous system issues.
In severe cases, your doctor may recommend sweat gland removal or an endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy — a procedure that burns spinal nerves in the affected area to reduce sweating. This curettage procedure may have the side effect of compensatory sweating, which causes an increase in sweat in other glands.
Health Benefits of Sweating
Sweat is a natural process that offers health benefits including temperature regulation, improved blood flow, and detoxification. Additionally, sweat is often associated with healthy activities like working out. Exercise and cardio workouts can help produce endorphins that operate as natural painkillers and can boost your mood. While many of us reach for deodorants and antiperspirants to hide or block sweat, sweat is actually beneficial to your wellbeing. Here are some ways sweat is useful for your body.
Regulates Body Temperature
The main function of sweat is to regulate your core body temperature. That’s why we sweat when temperatures outdoors soar and when we exercise. It’s also why you leave a Bikram yoga class, a Finnish sauna, or a Native American sweat lodge soaked from head to toe.
Plays a Role in Detoxification
While your kidneys and liver are the main actors when it comes to eliminating toxins and waste from your body, sweat also plays a role. Research indicates that perspiring can help eliminate a small number of toxins, including BPA — a manufacturing chemical found in plastics — and heavy metals. Studies also show that sweating may help to detox certain, but not all, PCBs — lab-created chemicals that may cause adverse health effects.
Supports the Immune System
Your eccrine glands secrete sweat, which contains peptides that help support immune function. When you sweat, your body releases an antimicrobial peptide known as dermcidin. Studies show that this protein may help to deter bacteria and prevent infection, supporting your immune system, and keeping you healthy.
So, Is Sweating Good For You?
As you can see, sweat plays an important role in supporting our overall health, but there are times when too much sweating can become problematic. If you are concerned about fluid loss related to excessive sweating, try DripDrop ORS—a medical grade solution for mild to moderate dehydration.
DripDrop ORS contains 3x more electrolytes and half as much sugar as your average sports drink. And best of all, DripDrop ORS is available in convenient packaging that allows you to have it on hand when you need it — wherever you need it. Get started with a trial or our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast.