What is Anhidrosis?
Anhidrosis is a rare condition in which a person does not sweat or perspire sufficiently. When you do not sweat normally, your body is not able to cool itself down. This can cause serious and potentially life threatening complications like heatstroke.
Also known as hypohidrosis, the condition can affect either a small part of a person’s body or more seriously – large areas. Although it is believed to be rare, there are no reliable estimates of the number of sufferers and many people with mild forms of the condition are unaware they have a problem
Sweat is absolutely essential to survival. It is effectively works as the body’s cooling mechanism. It helps to prevent the body from overheating and gets rid of body heat caused by the working muscles and metabolism.
Because of their inability to sweat properly, people with a severe form of anhidrosis can have problems working or exercising and any form of strenuous activity can put them in danger. Their body’s inability to cool down can lead to exhaustion and in the most severe cases – heatstroke.
Symptoms of Anhidrosis
Many people with a milder form of anhidrosis do not even realize that they have the condition and it can be difficult to diagnose.
The main symptoms and signs to be on the lookout for include:
- Very little perspiration or no sweating at all.
- Muscle cramps and weakness.
- Feeling hotter than normal.
- Skin Flushing.
The characteristic lack of sweating can be generalized meaning it occurs over most parts of the body or in a single part or in more scattered areas around the body.
The parts of the body that are still able to perspire might attempt to produce more sweat. Because of this, it is actually possible for the condition to cause a person to perspire profusely from one part of the body bit at the same time produce no sweat from another.
Where anhidrosis affects large areas of the body, it prevents you from cooling. Strenuous exercise, hard physical labor and hot temperatures can result in cramps, exhaustion and heatstroke.
Anhidrosis can develop independently of another condition or may be a symptom of another underlying condition like diabetes or a skin trauma.
Anhidrosis can be severe especially if it leads to heatstroke. If you sweat very little or notice that you do not perspire at all even when taking strenuous exercise, you should speak to your doctor immediately.
Causes of Anhidrosis
There are many potential causes of anhidrosis but it occurs as a result of the sweat glands failing to function as they should. It can occur as a result of a congenital condition or a condition affecting the nerves in the skin or dehydration.
The main causes of anhidrosis include the following:
- Certain congenital conditions that a person is born with.
- Inherited conditions which affect a person’s metabolic system like Favry’s disease.
- Connective tissue disorders which cause dry mouth and eyes like Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Skin trauma like damage done by radiation therapy or burns.
- Chronic skin conditions that clog the pores like psoriasis.
- Conditions which cause neuropathy or damage to the nerves like diabetes and alcoholism.
- Certain medications including morphine and anti-psychotic drugs..
Anhidrosis is more likely to occur because of certain factors that include the following:
- People over the age of 65 and young children are more likely to experience the heat stress that contributes to the condition.
- People with the health problems like neuropathy and diabetes.
- People with certain skin disorders that affect the pores and sweat glands are more prone. These include psoriasis, scleroderma, ichtyosis and exfoliative dermatitis.
Home Remedies and Prevention
In cases where anhidrosis only affects a small area of the body, it is unlikely to cause any major issues and treatment is not really necessary. However, in more serious cases where the condition affects the entire body or large parts of it, you must seek medical attention immediately. Medical treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the condition.
These home remedies might help with mild cases but in serious cases or if you suspect that somebody is suffering from heatstroke, it is essential that you seek emergency medical care.
Before we talk about potential home remedies, there are several preventive measures that the Mayo clinic recommends to avoid complications from the condition. While anhidrosis can not usually be entirely prevented, it is possible to prevent overheating by following these measure:
- Avoid dehydrating beverages like alcohol and caffeinated drinks that add to the problem.
- Stay indoors during very hot weather.
- Wear loose fitting light clothing especially on hot days.
- Monitor your activities and be careful not to overdo it.
- Stay well-hydrated at all times but especially when you are working out or the weather is warm.
2) Baking Soda
Baking soda is probably the most commonly used natural remedy to treat anhidrosis. You may not have thought about taking baking soda as an internal remedy before but it works because of its ability to alkalize your body.
The alkalinity helps to dilate the capillaries and improve capillary flow. This in turn increases your body’s ability to perspire more effectively. The opposite is also true. By eating more acid producing food, the capillaries tend to constrict making it more difficult for your body to sweat and cool.
If you have a mild form of anhidrosis, mix a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water each night and drink it down before bed. There are no guarantees that the remedy will work but anecdotal evidence from anhidrosis forums suggest it is among the most effective remedies for the condition.
3) Sea Salt
Sea salt mixed with water has a similar effect on the body as baking soda. Salt gets a bad rap but sea salt is actually contains various important nutrients that can help the body to find a natural equilibrium.
Increasing the body’s salt intake can help the body to hold more fluids and in turn release increased amounts of water through perspiration.
Mix a teaspoon of sea salt into a glass of water and drink it up once a day. According to evidence from people with the condition, it has helped their body to produce more perspiration and cool down more effectively.
4) Cucumber Juice
Cucumber juice is another home remedy for anhidrosis that makes a regular appearance on websites and forums related to the condition.
It is essential that people with anhidrosis stay very well hydrated and cucumber juice can help you to achieve that. Drinking plenty of cucumber juice is an excellent way to keep your body hydrated naturally. You should aim for several glasses of fresh cucumber juice a day. You can either make your own or buy it ready made but be careful to avoid ready made drinks with too many additives.
5) Apple Cider Vinegar
Many people with anhidrosis swear by the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar to boost their sweat production. It has plenty of additional health benefits besides but I have been unable to find any research related to its ability to promote sweating.
You can take a spoonful of organic apple cider vinegar several times a day. Mix it with water if you can not stomach it neat. There is no harm in giving it a try as it is full of nutritious benefits without any risk of adverse side effects.
6) Herbal Remedies
Several herbal remedies are often recommended to help promote perspiration and may help people with mild forms of anhidrosis. These include the following herbs that are especially popular in traditional Chinese medicine.
If you suffer with anhidrosis and you have used any of these remedies, please let us know how effective they were. We would also like to know if you have had any success with any other home remedies that we could add to the article.