The 8 Surprising Causes of Those Embarrassing Sweaty Palms

If you’re one of the unlucky 2-3% of the US population who suffers from excessively sweaty palms - or palmar hyperhidrosis, as it’s also known - you’ll know just how debilitating and embarrassing this condition can be
sweaty hands

Because even when you’re not doing anything strenuous, you’re most definitely not sick, and you’re hardly living in a tropical climate, you’ll still find your palms dripping with sweat. All too often this leads to social anxiety, low self-esteem, failed relationships and missed business opportunities as you struggle to get to grips with your issues.

Many people will tell you that it’s all in your head, that you’re exaggerating the problem, or worse still, that you just need to ‘get a grip’ and you’ll be fine. But they’re wrong.

Here are the eight surprising causes of those sweaty palms:

#1: You Inherited ‘Bad’ Genes

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but those constantly sweaty palms could be the result of some bad luck with your genes. One famous study carried out at the University of California in 2002 demonstrated that many debilitating cases of palmar hyperhidrosis are indeed the result of ‘faulty’ genes passed down from generation to generation.

This highlights the fact that your symptoms aren’t necessarily the result of stress or emotional issues, although these things can certainly impact upon their severity. However, don’t think that healing is an impossibility for you- there are still many treatments that can make a difference and improve the quality of your life.

#2: You’re Battling Stress

Most of us have experienced sweaty palms when something stressful happens, such as an examination, a marriage proposal or speaking in public.

This is because the stress has triggered our fight-or-flight response, releasing the stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol. These hormones help us cope with the stress, but also raise our body temperature. Naturally, our bodies work to reduce this temperature in the way they know best- by activating your sweat glands.

If you’re under chronic stress, your body is constantly on high alert and you are likely to continue to sweat around the clock.

Stop believing that your sweaty palms are all your fault or a sign of weakness. They’re simply not. There are many potential causes for your problem, including lifestyle factors, genetic factors and health conditions.

#3: You’re Under The Grip Of Social Phobia

When it comes to excess sweating and social phobia, it’s often hard to tell which came first. But there’s no doubt that the two feed a vicious cycle.

The scenario is a familiar one- you feel horribly ashamed about your sweaty hands and feel that other people will look at you in disgust, judge you negatively and you will never ever find a partner.

So when the bank manager goes for the formal handshake and you feel yourself die inside a little. When your gorgeous date reaches for your hand affectionately that dread rises up in you.

This triggers your fight-or-flight response, your stress hormones kick in, your palms get sweaty and it feels like all of your worst nightmares become true. This will only reinforce your social phobia and make you more likely to avoid this kind of scenario in the future.

#4: Your Blood Sugar Is Low

Do you find yourself reaching for that mid-afternoon bar of candy? Do you crave your caffeine fix like clockwork? Are you a massive fan of sugary drinks and snacks? Do you often skip meals? Do you suffer from diabetes?

If your answer is yes, your blood sugar issues are probably to blame for your palmar hyperhidrosis. You see, your body needs a constant supply of energy in order to work efficiently. But when you eat these kinds of sugary foods or go for a long time without eating, your blood sugar levels will fluctuate wildly. In order to cope, it releases stress hormones like epinephrine which stimulate the release of sugar from your body stores but also trigger symptoms of stress like sweaty palms and shaking.

#5: You Drink Too Much Alcohol

Most of us enjoy a glass or two of something alcohol to help us wind down at the end of a long hard day. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

But alcohol can be a huge problem if you’re vulnerable to sweaty palms, worsening or even triggering your symptoms. This is because alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate which has a warming effect on your skin. And you guessed right- this causes your parasympathetic nervous system to kick in, releasing plenty of sweat to help bring your body temperature back down.

These symptoms get worse the more alcohol you consume, and can hit chronic levels for those who are alcohol dependent. Be warned!

sweaty beer

#6: You’re A Fan Of Spicy Foods & Coffee

Whilst spicy foods and coffee are unlikely to cause severe sweaty palms, they can have a powerful effect upon your body’s thermoregulation and worsen any symptoms you might already be suffering, especially if you are sensitive to spice or caffeine.

Both spice and caffeine can activate neurotransmitters like acetylcholine which cause your sweat glands to overreact and turn you into a sweaty mess. They can also trigger the release of your stress hormones which can further worsen the problem.

#7: You Have A Thyroid Problem

If you suffer from thyroid disease, it’s highly likely that you also suffer from excessive sweating. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Dermatology highlighted this often-ignored link between the two, offering answers for sufferers.

Hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disease which causes your immune cells to attack your healthy cells which increases your body temperature in much the same way as when you are fighting off the flu. In an attempt to bring your temperature down, your parasympathetic nervous system will kick-in, releasing yet more sweat.

#8: You’re Menopausal (Or Peri-Menopausal)

Hot flashes and night sweats are a well-known part of the menopause and can cause excessive sweating on the palms, hands, feet and rest of the body. This is thanks to fluctuating levels of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone which interfere with the body’s temperature regulation process and trigger those hot and sweaty moments. If you’re especially hormone-sensitive, this can lead to severe symptoms that can last many years if not addressed.

Stop believing that your sweaty palms are all your fault or a sign of weakness. They’re simply not. There are many potential causes for your problem, including lifestyle factors, genetic factors and health conditions.

Get to the root of your problem and you can start fighting back!

Subscribe to get new hyperhidrosis tips, discounts, and Carpe news delivered to your inbox every month!