When you are through with a good workout, you are bound to sweat profusely. However, some people may experience a lack of sweating, or anhidrosis. This 'condition' can result due to a host of reasons, including genetics and medical disorders. Sweating is a natural way for your body to cool itself. If you have trouble sweating while exercising, chances are that your body will overheat. While some people sweat naturally, and profusely, others may be dry as ice after performing an exercise routine. If you are having trouble sweating while exercising or working out, maybe it is time to consult a doctor for a thorough diagnosis.

Basic Facts about Sweating?

When your body's core temperature gets heated, the sweat glands tend to discharge fluids and electrolytes which show up on the skin's surface. The sweat tends to dissipate on the skin, which in turns cools the body. A person is born with an average of 2-4 million sweat glands. These glands do not become fully active till a person hits puberty. While women are 'blessed' with more sweat glands than men, the latter's glands are more active.

What are the Risk Factors Associated With Lack of Sweating While Exercising?

There are a number of factors that contribute to anhidrosis or lack of sweat while exercising. They include:

  • Age can play a role in restricting sweat while exercising. Those who are 65 years old and older, children and infants are prone to heat stress, leading to anhidrosis.
  • There are certain health problems which may cause anhidrosis or lack of sweat while working out or exercising. A medical condition that could alter the autonomic nerves, like diabetes, are more likely to contribute to sweat gland problems.
  • There are skin disorders which can also be responsible for lack of sweat. Diseases that cause irritation or inflammation on the skin can affect sweat glands. The diseases include psoriasis, exfoliative dermatitis – condition which causes severe skin scaling; heat rashscleroderma – causing hard, tight skin; as well as ichthyosis — resulting in dry, scaly skin.
  • Genetic abnormalities like mutations in certain genes could lead to disorders that can affect sweat glands and cause anhidrosis or lack of sweat.

What Can Cause Lack of Sweat While Exercising?

Lack of Sweat While Exercising Caused Due to Nerve Damage

A condition that leads to nerve damage can prevent the proper functioning of sweat glands during exercise. Some of these conditions include:

  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Amyloidosis – a condition caused due to the build-up of amyloid (a protein) in your organs which disrupts the nervous system
  • Sjogren's syndrome
  • Small cell lung cancer
  • Fabry disease – a genetic disorder which leads to fat build-up in cells
  • Horner syndrome – a type of nerve damage that takes place in the eyes and face.

Lack of Sweat While Exercising Caused Due to Nerve Damage

Lack of Sweating While Exercising Caused Due to Skin Damage?

Damage to the skin caused by severe burns can permanently disrupt sweat glands, causing to sweat less after a rigorous workout. The other forms of skin damage that can lead to low sweat include:

  • Radiation
  • Infection
  • Trauma
  • inflammation

The other skin disorders that cause inflammation to the skin may also damage the sweat glands. They include:

  • Psoriasis
  • Heat rash
  • Exfoliative dermatitis
  • Ichthyosis
  • Scleroderma.

Lack of Sweating While Exercising Caused Due to Clogged Duct

There are a few skin conditions that could clog sweat ducts, leading to low sweat after exercising. It is known as poral occlusion. This is among the common causes of anhidrosis. Sometimes, antiperspirants can clog ducts, albeit on a localized and temporary basis.

Lack of Sweating While Exercising Caused Due to Dehydration

If you follow a daily exercise routine, you need to stay hydrated. If you do not drink enough water, your body will not be able to fulfill its normal functions. Your body will be prone to dehydration when you exercise in warm conditions, without replenishing your body with the required amount of fluids. Other causes of dehydration include diarrhea or vomiting or even the use of medication that increases urine flow (diuretics). If you do not take cognizance of these issues, you can lose a lot of fluid that could lead to low sweat.

Some of the main symptoms of dehydration include weakness, thirst and confusion. Severe dehydration can have a life-threatening impact, especially in children and older adults.

Lack of Sweating While Exercising Caused Due to Medication Use

Certain medication, especially anticholinergics, can lead to anhidrosis. Apart from inducing low sweat, this type of medication comes with a few side effects, including a sore throat and dry mouth.

Lack of Sweating While Exercising Caused Due to Genetic Factor

You might inherit a damaged gene that could cause the sweat glands to malfunction. The inherited condition is known as "hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia". It could limit the amount of sweat glands you have on your body. You may have only a few or no sweat glands.

Treatment or Ways to Deal with Lack of Sweat While Exercising

You can treat the problem of lack of sweat while exercising by taking recourse to natural remedies or just keeping a check on your activities.

Many feel that genetics decide whether you sweat profusely or not. If you cannot sweat after exercising, chances are that you run the risk of falling prey to something far more life-threatening. You can always seek medical help. A doctor will run a few tests to ascertain whether your lack of sweating will cause problems for you or not. When you find yourself overheating, take a break from the activity you are engaged in and head for a cool shower. If you overheat while on the road, quickly wash your face with cold water or use a damp towel to wipe your face.

Also, ensure that your fluid intake increases. Ensure that you carry a bottle of water with you while jogging. If you exercise at home, a bottle of water should be on standby. If you feel uneasy while jogging or running, take a break and take shelter under a tree. Sit down for a while before heading home. It is imperative that you do not exert yourself when you feel like your body is overheating.

Prevention is better than cure. While exercising is good, replenishing your body with water is essential.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: July 8, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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