Excessive Sweating With Fibromyalgia & CFS

Excessive Sweating in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
 
Do you find yourself dripping with sweat at odd times, for no apparent reason? This is one of those bizarre, confusing symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome that you don't see on those inadequate little symptoms lists. Doctors and researchers don't really bother themselves with it because we have so many bigger problems, but when you have to deal with this every day it can have a big impact on your life. Here are some of the comments I've seen:
"What exactly causes the excessive sweating? Is it hormonal, side effect of all my meds? or a combo of both? I don't bother to wear makeup in the summer because there is no point - it just melts off."

"I have a problem that I have not seen yet..unexplained excessive sweating...like just stepping out of the shower...hair dripping wet..clothes...soaked! ... It has put a big damper on my lifestyle."

"My limbs get so cold and painful during that time, and yet my face will be sweating from the heat inside."

"I can't stand too much heat either, my heart starts beating too fast, and I sweat profusely. I can be sweaty and my skin too cold at the same time!"

"I sweat heavily - especially from my head and neck - from the least exertion."

What Causes Excessive Sweating?
Several things could be responsible for our sweating, either on their own or in combination. They include:
The only cause that's "curable" is the medication side effect, and that may not be an attractive option to you if the drug is doing more good than harm. This is one of those symptoms we have to either live with or find ways to manage. One of the important things is to stay hydrated -- replace both the water and the electrolytes you sweat out, because dehydration is really no fun. And it can be hard for us to tell when we're dehydrated because the symptoms can be similar to some we already have. (You can find them here: Symptoms of Dehydration.)

My biggest sweat issue is on my forehead. It's generally worst right after I get out of the tub or shower, and it can get ridiculous if I blow my hair dry right away. Sometimes it stops with a thorough wipe-down, but other times it just keeps coming. On those days, I have to wear a hat because the front of my hair will look horrible. I often carry a hat with me in the summer, in case the sweating starts again. I've tried antiperspirant on my forehead and in my hairline, but it does nothing to help.

I think mine comes from both heat sensitivity and autonomic dysfunction. My body seems to "hold on" to heat too much, and then my system can't regulate itself properly to turn off the flow once it starts.

What triggers your sweating? Do you have an idea what causes it? Does anything help? Leave your comments below!

Learn more or join the conversation!
Excessive sweating is one of those bizarre symptoms that rarely make it onto lists of symptoms or particularly grab the attention of researchers. That's understandable, since we have much bigger problems.
While doctors and researchers have noted that excessive sweating can be a symptom of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, you may want to talk to your doctor about complex regional pain syndrome. It has similar symptoms and some research suggests excessive sweating may be more common in that condition.

What Causes Excessive Sweating?

Several factors could be responsible for our sweating, either on their own or in combination. They include:
The only cause that's "curable" is the medication side effect, and that may not be an attractive option to you if the drug is doing more good than harm. This is one of those symptoms we have to either live with or find ways to manage.

Dealing with Excessive Sweating

  • One of the important things is to stay hydrated - make sure you replace both the water and the electrolytes you sweat out. It can be hard for us to tell when we're dehydrated because the symptoms can be similar to some we already have. Here is some additional information about dehydration.
  • Some easy things to try are loose powders and antiperspirants. You may also want to carry tissues or a wash cloth with you to blot your skin. Taking cooler baths or showers, or running cooler water over your body before you get out, may also help. Your doctor may have ideas for medications to help with excessive sweating.
  • Oil-absorbing face wipes can help you from having greasy-looking skin.

  • Dress shields and sweat pads can help absorb sweat before it soaks through your clothing. For especially heavy sweat, a menstrual pad may work better.

  • For those times when you are really sweaty, you may want to keep a change of clothes in your car or at work. A hat or ponytail holder can help hide sweat-related hair disasters in a pinch.
  • Especially if you tend to be cold, you may frequently find yourself dressed too warmly for the environment. Dressing in layers gives you more temperature-control options.

    Temperature Sensitivity in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    The Symptom of Temperature Sensitivity:

    Many people with fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) complain of being cold all the time, or hot all the time, or alternately hot or cold. This symptom is called temperature sensitivity.

    We don't yet know exactly what causes this symptom, but there are several theories, including impaired homeostasis, low blood volume, or impaired blood flow. In FMS, some research shows an inability to adapt to changes in temperature along with a lower pain threshold to both heat and cold stimuli.

    A lot of people with FMS and ME/CFS say that the discomfort of temperature sensitivity can exacerbate other symptoms.

    Cold Sensitivity:

    Cold-sensitive people are often chilled to the bone and have a hard time warming up. The cold can be all over, or just in the hands and feet.

    It can be hard for cold-sensitive people to warm up. They may need outside sources of heat, such as electric heating devices or a hot bath.

    This symptom is generally worse during cold weather but can strike at any time.

    We don't currently have treatments that are known to relieve cold sensitivity. However, many people are able to avoid this symptom by:
    • Keeping their environment warm
    • Dressing warmly
    • Keeping their feet covered
    • Drinking hot liquid
    • Taking frequent baths or showers

    Heat Sensitivity:

    Some heat-sensitive people describe all-over heat sensations that seem to emanate from inside. Others may only have problems in their hands and/or feet, possibly along with puffiness and an ache, while some may get both types.

    It can be hard to cool off and may require ice packs, cooling products, and soaking in cold water.
    Hot weather can exacerbate this symptom, but it can also occur at any time.

    As with cold sensitivity, we don't have treatments for this and instead rely mostly on lifestyle changes, such as:
    • Keeping the environment cool
    • Avoiding heavy clothing
    • Drinking cold liquids
    • Avoiding overly hot baths or showers

    Dual Temperature Sensitivity:

    People who are sensitive to both heat and cold face special challenges. How do you set your thermostat when you could freeze or overheat at any time?

    Some people find that dressing in layers, or having extra layers available, can be helpful. It also pays to play close attention to your temperature so that you can take steps to warm up or cool down before it becomes problematic.

    Some products are designed to help regulate your temperature or keep night sweats from waking you up. Learn more about them:
    Source:
    Smith BW, et al. Pain. 2008 Dec;140(3):420-8. Habituation and sensitization to heat and cold pain in women with fibromyalgia and healthy controls.