Diaphoresis Complete Guide: Symptoms, Causes And The Top 7 Ways To Treat It.

It's absolutely normal to sweat. In fact, sweating has a lot of health benefits. But when do sweating become harmful or an indication of a potentially life threatening condition? Well, when sweating stops being beneficial and brings more harm than good, at this point, it is considered as diaphoresis.

Before we dive in deep into more details about this, I would like to make it super easy for you to navigate the article. Here is an overview of what this article will be about:

What Is Diaphoresis?

Diaphoresis is a medical term commonly used to describe profuse and abnormal sweating that seems not stop even when in an environment that does not favor sweating. When you are suffering from diaphoresis, you are likely to sweat throughout the entire body, and not in some selected part of the body. Diaphoresis is closely related to hyperhidrosis that prompt profuse sweats in some selected part of the body. Hyperhidrosis is commonly associated with a disorder of the nervous system.

Diaphoresis medical definition puts it as profuse sweating as a result of an underlying medical conditions. This condition varies with age, with infants being less likely to be affected while the elderly being more susceptible to diaphoresis.

When Does Sweating Become Harmful?

Everybody sweat and this usually comes as a result of your body trying to cool itself. At times, your body temperature may rise as a result of some activities you are doing or the environment you are in. In return, your body will try to cool itself through a number of ways, sweating being one of them.

When the temperature rises above the normal body temperature of 37º Celsius your nervous system will relay a signal to the hypothalamus that regulates the functions of your sweat glands. As a result, the sweat glands will release a salty fluid through your skin in the form of sweats. The sweat will subsequently evaporates leaving the salt behind while reducing the core temperature your body.

Most people tend to perspire when they take a walk on a hot summer day or get involved in tedious physical exercise. Perspiring under these conditions is absolutely normal as it is one of the ways the body is trying to regulate the temperature. Other people may also sweat whenever they are stressed, having stomach upsets, anxious, or having motion sickness. The level sweating differs from person to person as a result of having varying sweat glands or simply having inherited trait.

But what’s the thin line that separates normal sweating and diaphoresis? If you find yourself so sweaty such that you are left drenched in sweat that seems not to stop you have a reason to worry. You might be suffering from diaphoresis, and you should try to establish the cause as well as learn to identify the symptoms.

Symptoms Of Diaphoresis

There are a number of symptoms that can help you identify if you are suffering from diaphoresis. The signs and symptoms are not obscure but are easily identifiable. Here are the common signs and symptoms of diaphoresis.

➔Sweating profusely

The main symptom includes profuse sweating that seems not to go away even when you are in a cool place. The sweating is not limited to a given region but usually, affects every part of your body. You may find yourself sweating a lot in your face, hands, and feet, and your back. Even when you try to take a shower or splash cold water on your face, you will find that the sweating does not go away. The sweats will appear in the form of beads that would drench your cloths sooner or later.


Normal sweat is often odorless and salty. Sweat is primarily a composition of water, salt, and other bodies excrete. When you lick your skin after sweating, you will realize that there it tastes a bit salty but has no strong odor.

On the other hand, sweats as a result of diaphoresis may contain odor, time strong enough to be detected by a person nearby. The odor is attributed to many factors with the underlying medical condition being a major cause. If a medical condition is the major cause of your diaphoresis, the odour could be coming as a result of secretion of unpleasant metabolites alongside sweats.

➔Discoloration on major sweating sites

When immediate medical attention is not sought after realizing that you have diaphoresis, the areas that excessively sweat may start to change colour. Your cheeks, hands, and feet may turn white or pink. In severe cases of diaphoresis these regions may appear soft, scally, or at worse cracked.

Causes of Diaphoresis

Profuse diaphoresis has many causes. In order to get a clear understanding of the causes of diaphoresis, there is a need to group the causes to various categories. Here are the common causes of diaphoresis.

➔Physiological Factors

There are physiological causes of diaphoresis. When there are physiological changes happening in your body, it may respond differently to various conditions. Such a response may include profuse sweating. Here are the common physiological factors that may cause diaphoresis.


As women age, they eventually stop menstruating. But just before reaching menopause they go through a period called perimenopause that is characterized by excessive sweating and hot flashes. The excessive sweating observed at this stage is attributed to hormonal imbalance that sends false overheating signals to your brain. As such the body will respond by producing excessive sweating especially at night.


Pregnancy comes with lots of body changes, some to prepare your body to accommodate your baby to be while others are but a reaction to the presence of the baby within the body. One significant change that is commonly witnessed during pregnancy involves a significant hormonal changes. Besides, the rate of metabolism will increase, and as a result your body temperature will subsequently increase. All these changes will make your body to increase the amount of sweat and perspiration.

This type of diaphoresis causes no harm as long as there are no accompanying medical conditions such as vomiting, body aches, and fever.

➔Anxiety or acute stress

Acute stress and anxiety can trigger the body to profusely sweat. One can develop acute stress or anxiety as a result of a previous unpleasant experience. Fear and anxiety cause body changes that may cause the body to sweat profusely.

➔Reaction to certain food or allergic reactions

As much as food is good for your health, some food can trigger an allergic reaction that can cause the sweat glands to secret sweat profusely. Spicy food, in particular, has been known to cause diaphoresis in some people. It is recommended therefore to avoid spicy if you are the kind of a person who is prune to diaphoresis after eating spicy foods.

➔Pathological causes

Ill health is thought to be a major cause of diaphoresis. In fact, diaphoresis definition from a medical perspective is a symptom and not necessarily a kind of disease of its own. Currently, there are numerous pathological conditions that have been identified to cause diaphoresis.

These conditions include:

Heart attack

An individual would likely to suffer from heart attack commonly called myocardial infarction when there is damage in heart muscles. When there is a blockage in the coronary artery such that the cardiac muscles are receiving insufficient oxygen, they begin to die or get damaged. A heart attack would follow suit when its muscles are compromised.

Other than the common symptoms of heart attack that include radiating pain in stomach, arm, and neck, faintness, pain in the chest, vomiting, and ashen face, one of the visible symptom is diaphoresis. A victim of heart attack tends to sweat profusely.


Diabetes, when not managed properly, can be life threatening to say the least. Diaphoresis is one early signs of diabetes as the body reacts to low blood sugar. Other symptoms of diabetes that accompany diaphoresis include slurred speech, dizziness, blurred vision, and anxiety. When you suspect diabetes seeks medical attention as soon as possible.


When you suffer from hyperthyroidism, you are bound to experience diaphoresis. What is hyperthyroidism? It is a medical condition where the thyroid glands become excessively reactive producing excess hormone thyroxine. This hormone is known to enhance your metabolism and subsequently profuse diaphoresis. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include nervousness, shaking hands, racing of the heart, rapid weight loss, sleep disorders, and anxiety.

Some form of cancer

Cancer comes with tons of medical problem, and diaphoresis is certainly one of them. Some common form cancers that have been linked with diaphoresis include liver cancer, carcinoid tumors, cancer of the bone, leukemia, and lymphoma. Even worse, the medication used to treat cancer causes excessive sweating.


Anaphylaxis can be defined as an allergic reaction that occurs after being exposed to an allergen. Anaphylaxis can present itself in many forms including hives, loss of consciousness, a sudden drop in blood pressure, itchy skin, and undoubtedly diaphoresis. It is therefore recommended that you avoid the allergen that often makes you have diaphoresis.

Drug abuse and withdrawal

When a person suddenly stops taking drugs following an addiction that person is bound to diaphoresis as one of the withdrawal symptoms. Other drug withdrawal signs that accompany diaphoresis include changes in blood pressure, agitation, anxiety, increased heart beats, and vomiting.


Medicines are essential for good health, but when abused they can cause ill health, or at worse fatal. Always get a prescription from a qualified doctors and avoid the over-counter medications where possible. Some of the medications that can cause diaphoresis include naproxen, ciprofloxacin, chemotherapy drugs, antidepressants, and hormonal drugs.

Since diaphoresis is medically considered a symptom and not a medical condition, treatment can be achieved by treating the real underlying medical condition. Here are seven ways of treating diaphoresis.

7 Ways To Treat Diaphoresis:

The first step towards treating diaphoresis is by visiting the doctor to examine the possible cause of your diaphoresis.Thereafter the doctor can prescribe or recommend the following methods for you.

1. Antiperspirant prescriptions

A dose of antiperspirant contains doses of aluminium chloride, a highly effective agent used to block sweat ducts. This can be applied under the arms, face, or feet. They are highly recommended as they instantly blocks sweating once applied. The downside is that they don’t cure the actual cause of diaphoresis.

2. Use of injections

The second best alternative of treating prescriptions is the use of Botox injections. By injecting Botox under the arm it is possible to control sweating for several months. Botox can also be administered to stop sweating in feet, face, and hands. Botox just like antiperspirant does not cure diaphoresis and need to be re-administered after several months. It also come with weakening of muscle as one major side effect.

3. Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis is one of the most effective ways of treating diaphoresis. How does it work? This method uses a simple principle where mild electrical current is passed through water. As a result, the minerals in water together with electric currents helps in forming a thicker top layer of skin sealing the sweat pores. You will need several iontophoresis sessions so as to reduce sweating and a weekly or monthly maintenance to sustain the gains.

4. Use of medicines

Anticholinergic drugs have been successively used to treat diaphoresis. Some of the commonly used drugs that block the sweat glands from secreting sweats include Robinul-Forte and Robinul. Although this drugs are highly effective, long term prescriptions are not advisable due to serious side effects that include memory loss, chest tightness, trouble breathing, and confusion.

5. Surgery

Surgery is considered the last option in treating diaphoresis. There are two surgical options. The first option involves the removal of some specific sweat glands. The commonly removed sweat glands are those under the arm. The second method involves the disruption of the nerves that triggers the sweat glands to secrete sweats. The two methods are effective in controlling sweats production but there is a risk of developing serious complications.

6. Avoid substance that triggers allergic reactions

One of the simplest ways of treating diaphoresis is by avoiding substances that can trigger allergic reactions and by extension diaphoresis. Though this process may involve trial and error, once you identify the substance that triggers allergy, make it a point of avoiding it.

7. Use of oestrogen

When women are approaching or in menopause, one of the challenges they face include hot flashes and excessive production of sweats due to hormonal imbalances. In order to correct this issue it would be advisable to get a dose of oestrogen at least for several months so as to regulate the hot flashes and excessive sweating.

Whenever you seek medical attention in regards to diaphoresis, you can always use icd 10 code for diaphoresis to seek reimbursement. The icd 10 code for diaphoresis replaced icd 9 code for diaphoresis as from 2015 October.

For more info about the topic, check out the video below


Diaphoresis though, not life threatening in itself, it is often a pointer to a serious underlying medical condition. It will present itself with excessive sweating that often soaks your clothes. Other than profuse sweating, you can identify diaphoresis by the odour, or your skin turning pink, white, soft, or even getting scally. It can be a constant source of discomfort and embarrassment, to say the least. It is always recommended to seek medical attention once you start seeing the first signs of diaphoresis. Once you see a doctor, you can be given a prescription to reduce the level of sweating or when an underlying issue has been identified a prescription for the same will be given. Some of the common underlying issues that can cause diaphoresis include heart attack, pregnancies, anaphylaxis, menopause, and diabetes. Once you seek medication attention in regards to diaphoresis, you can use icd 10 code for diaphoresis that replaced icd 9 code for diaphoresis as from 2015 October to seek for reimbursement. It is recommended to seek medical attention as soon as possible whenever you find yourself sweating profusely without any apparent reason.

About the Author joseph

What’s up world! Joe here. I am a writer, wordsmith and a health enthusiast at Gainheal.com. I spend most of my time reading about heath, putting everything I learn into action and of course, knitting words together. This is where I find joy. This is where my soul speaks, without any borders. I’ve seen results with everything I learned myself and practiced. My goal now is to help you, the reader, do the same and more, why not! Thanks and welcome aboard!

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