The old adage is that men perspire and women ‘merely glow’ and, as the temperatures begin to rise, we take a look at whether men really are the sweatier sex.
Before puberty, girls and boys sweat the same amount, but as adults there seems to be a marked difference in the amount we produce, with men starting to sweat sooner and with more volume. It’s generally assumed that our hormones are the culprit as testosterone is thought to enhance the male sweat response and oestrogen promotes a lower body temperature in women.
However, a recent study found that the difference in sweat relates to body size, not sex. Men tend to be larger than women as a whole but it’s purely the size of your frame that dictates how much you sweat. In research published in Experimental Physiology journal, scientists from Australian and Japanese universities called into question the conventional belief that women and men respond differently to heat stress.
The male / female sweat response
The study compared 36 men and 24 women and conducted two trials – one where the participants performed light exercise and a second, more rigorous test, at 28 degrees Celsius and 36% humidity. These are the conditions where our body’s natural mechanisms kick in to prevent further rises in internal temperature – by increasing sweating and blood flow to our skin.
Lead author Sean Notley explained: “We found that these heat loss responses are, in fact, gender independent during exercise in conditions where the body can successfully regulate its temperature.”
However, this is a normal response to regulating body temperature, but if you suffer from excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis then perspiration can actually become a problem that impacts your work, relationships and ability to enjoy normal activities.
Hyperhidrosis: when sweating isn’t normal
Hyperhidrosis usually starts in adolescence and young adulthood and the exact reason why some people sweat excessively isn’t known; sometimes an underlying medical condition can be the reason for excessive sweating, but for most people suffering from primary or focal hyperhidrosis, they are otherwise healthy and no more stressed or anxious than others.
Primary hyperhidrosis can affect your whole body or just one area, such as the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, groin or face. However, for many, the armpits are often the main area affected due to the number of eccrine glands situated under the arms.
If prescription antiperspirants have failed to reduce excessive sweating under the arms, miraDry is a highly effective and long-term solution. In this non-invasive procedure, thermal energy is delivered into the sweat and odour producing glands, safely eliminating them to produce an 82% reduction in sweating. As the sweat glands don’t grow back, sweating does not return, yet there is minimal downtime and the procedure is pain-free.