December 1, 2011

Anhidrosis- I Don't Sweat

Anhidrosis causes us to not sweat or hardly sweat and we are more prone to heat stroke than anyone else.

My whole life my internal heating and cooling system has never worked properly. When I get hot I never sweat, seriously. People around me will be melting, dripping with water and I have no perspiration whatsoever.

Now some women may think this is great, no perspiration stains on my clothing, no running make-up or wet clothes at the gym, but it’s not really a good thing.

I cannot go in a sauna; this would be suicide for me. I have tried them out and all that happens is that I start to pass out. Luckily, I have gotten out before actually reaching unconsciousness because that could be fatal. This was before I knew what was wrong (I still didn’t have a name for it) and that I wasn’t like most people. I now steer clear of saunas.

This is also part of why I’ve never been much of an outdoors person; this coupled with my Raynaud’s syndrome (yeah, I’m messed up at both ends of the spectrum) keeps me from extreme temperatures. If it’s really hot or really cold, I stay inside otherwise bad things happen.

I’ve never had to wear a sweatband, never needed a towel at the gym or had unsightly wet spots on my underarms. I do still wear antiperspirant because even though there is no moisture I do still have body odor if I get overheated. Not sure how that works but it does.

Some of my friends have been jealous when we are out in the heat because I appear to be cool as a cucumber but that isn’t the case. I’m just as hot, maybe more so, than everyone else it just doesn’t show on my body.

When I was a kid I was mostly an indoors type person. I could never play sports because if I got overheated I passed out. Kind of hard to win a game if one of your players keeps becoming unconscious. I’m not much of a sports fan anyway.

I can hike, if its not too hot and I am in the shade at least part of the time and I can exercise if it’s in an air-conditioned environment. My husband calls me lizard woman.

My family looks out for me. We live in the southwest where it can get very warm in the summer time. They’ll tell me it’s too hot for me to be outside. I have to have air conditioning in my car or I could pass out while driving. A couple of times we’ve had power outages in the summer due to storms or fires. When that happened I kept wet towels around my neck to stay cool until the power came back on. If it had lasted very long or been extremely hot I would have gone to a hotel.

There isn’t really any cure, you just have to deal with it and know your limitations. If you have anhidrosis or think you do take these precautions.

Don’t get overheated and pay attention to the weather; your meteorologist is your friend. Use water to stay cool; since you don’t sweat you can moisten your body with water. This does the same as perspiration does for everyone else. Even though you aren’t losing water through your pores you still need to drink plenty of water. Hydration is important for everyone, even lizard people.

I have no idea what causes it, I’m pretty sure I was born with it because I have always been sensitive to the heat and don’t ever remember sweating. I’ve read the list of reasons some people get it and I have none of them.


Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela,

Great reading. Just a short note. I have hyperhidrosis following a sympathectomy.

Literally I'm sweating heavily from my upper chest to my feet in summer, when stressed, when exercising or just walking in the sreet for more than 10 minutes in spring and summer. My clothes can be soaking wet. Socially, it has ruined my life. I have seen many doctors and they can't help me. Travelling to a holiday destination in a hot country is like going to hell for me. It's been like this for 17 years. It also ruined my carrier and my family life because my wife has never understood what I'm going through, she despises me, she sees me as a weak person, a loser. I got myself out of all the social activities. I'm a loner whereas my real personality is the opposite. I love(d) partying, meeting persons, hanging out. It's over now, I'm a weirdo.

If I could choose, I'd rather have anhidrosis than hyperhidrosis. Anyway, both deregulations are evil.

Good luck to you.

Pamela N Red said...

That is terrible and no reason to avoid people. Your wife should be more understanding.

I think my husband may have what you have. He drips sweat at the least amount of heat and has always suffered from sweaty hands. I have heard that people who sweat too much can have laser treatments. I'm sure it's not cheap but might be worth looking into.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I heard about laser treatment but it is available only for armpits as far as I know. Strangely I don't sweat a lot from the armpits. Probably a side effect from the surgery.

You should tell your husband that he MUST not perform the sympathectomy (even the clamping one). It's a win or fail surgery and failure is more than 70%. You can't go back and it's difficult to live with such a mistake done when I was 25. Summers will be mostly hell for the rest of my life.

Take care

Pamela N Red said...

I would just drink plenty of fluids and go out and enjoy life. Most people probably aren't paying any attention anyway. You can wear a sweatband to keep the sweat out of your eyes and bring extra shirts.

Anonymous said...

I all the time used to study post in news papers but now as I am a user of internet so from now I am using net for content, thanks to web.

Pamela N Red said...

Someday, print news will be a thing of the past. I will miss it but already I have seen some papers go out of print and others have decreased the amount of days they deliver a paper. Thanks for reading.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I too suffer from anhydrous i cant stay out side in the heat too long it really sucks i cant play with my kids like i want too.. even when i cant do too much heavy lifting or activities.. my face swells up and i feel dizzy like i am going to pass out.. i have been trying to search for cures since i was just suddenly struck with this about 3-4 years ago.. i went to a acupuncture lady and she gave me a few sessions but they were getting costly and my insurance wouldn't cover. but i did get one sweat drop from weeks of treatment.. that's was my only success..regular doctors just brush it off and act like they don't know anything about it.. or just say there's nothing they can do.. im determined to beat this.. my next attempt is to drink 12 cups of water a day to try and restart something.. i saw this method on a site to re-hydrate the claims it takes about 3 months.. this is about all the news i can give..if anyone wants to reach me email me at and can give any help...we arent alone

Pamela N Red said...

I don't think doctor's really know what to do about it. I have heard that laser treatments sometimes work but like another commenter mentioned you have to be careful or you might end up with the reverse problem and sweat all the time.

Try to choose shady parks to play outside with your kids and plant tree. I have a forest in my front and backyard. It helps.

SWE said...

It is SO good to read your post. I've spent my entire life thinking that I was just some kind of wimp. After nearly passing out at the gym the other day (after a whopping 15 minutes of not-so-strenuous work, I finally asked the great Google machine. I had no idea anhidrosis is a "thing." I have been muddling through, avoiding heat and staying hydrated for as long as I can remember. Thank you for letting me know that I'm not alone.

Pamela N Red said...

SWE, it's a weird symptom and I haven't met anyone in person with it and only found a few online. I just deal with it the best I can.

From reading other people who have tried laser and a few other remedies they ended up in worse shape sweating profusely so until they find better treatment I think I'll stick with my anhidrosis.

Nick said...

I don't sweat either. Never have. I played basketball for 3 years and next year (11th grade) I will be trying football. I would love if someone had any tips to stay cool. I push myself to the limit when playing sports, but I would like to get some advice from someone.

Pamela N Red said...

Nick, the important thing is to keep hydrated and when possible dampen your skin with wet towels while playing sports so you don't get overheated.

Sweat is a natural way for our bodies to keep cool so when you don't sweat you need to replicate that with water.

Anonymous said...

So good to read your post. In ten years I've never talked to anyone else who has this.

I have one question I'm dying to ask someone with anhidrosis. Do you only get symptoms related to the heat, or does overheating cause you additional pain and/or disability? I have an additional neurological condition, and the two team up against me. I have never fully known which symptoms go to which disease. I am endlessly curious about the lives of others with this condition and how it affects them. Would love to chat with anyone who has it!

Pamela N Red said...

Eslee, the heat is what bothers me. I have noticed that when I've been exercising (usually indoors on my treadmill) my feet will burn and feel like they are on fire. I believe this is because of the inability to sweat. I have used athletic sandals or make sure the room is cool and fans on while exercising.

My biggest symptom is dizziness and sometimes nausea but as far as pain my feet burning when wearing tennis shoes and socks is the only pain I can recall. I am very careful not to get overheated since it can be dangerous.

Nick said...

Hey its me Nick again. I was prohibited from trying out for baseball last year and I wasn't allowed to play football this year. Wanted to add that i have ectodermal dysplasia. Over the summer when I trained for baseball, I would soak my shirt and you were right, that sort of did the trick. I've been trying to deal witg this my whole life, and it has been hell. I can't play baseball in college because they won't take a player of my experience, I can't play football and I quit basketball, which I was very good at, because of it. I bowl now and one of my coaches is friends with some people at Florida, so I may bowl there on a full ride. The problem still remains as it gets super hot up there. I'm assuming there are no cures for my condition, so I'll just continue to soak my shirt. Do you know if drinking a lot of water will make a noticeable difference? Thankyou.

Pamela N Red said...

Sorry to hear that Nick. We just have to do what we can and avoid anything in extreme heat.

Drinking lots of water will help keep you from dehydrating but you still won't sweat. Keeping hydrated is important even though it isn't released through our pores.

Beth, from Menifee said...

Hi, my name is Beth.

I suffer from hypohidrosis, which is similar to anhidrosis, only I can sweat, albeit minimally. I totally get what it's like to overheat. I know what you mean when people think you are lucky. We aren't! It sucks to not be able to play with your kids because it's too hot. I felt like a failure in the Army because I'd overheat on runs and had to stop to cool down. Everyone thought I was just being lazy. They didn't get that I was just trying to not die!

My hypohidrosis is caused by Sjogren's Syndrome. Sjogren's also makes me have dry eyes and a dry mouth, but definitely the worst thing is to not sweat!!!
I will sweat just enough to feel moisture, but it is not enough to cool my body and once my temp rises past 101, which doesn't take long, I stop sweating completely, and run the risk of heat stroke.
I am going to speak to my doctor about starting me on pilocarpine, to see if that can help in my situation.

The reason I bring this up is that you said you have Raynaud's, which is also common in Sjogrens. If you also suffer from dry eyes, and/or dry mouth, I would encourage you to get tested, as there may be treatments for your predicament. I wish you luck, and I hope to hear back from you.

Pamela N Red said...

I don't have Sjogren's Syndrome, my eyes don't dry out and my mouth produces saliva normally. I also don't have some of the other symptoms.

I hope the medication helps you. Good luck.

Grace said...

Hi Pamela!

I also don't sweat and get overheated often. I was very interested in your comment about burning feet - because that is the number one worst symptom of anhidrosis that I experience :( The red, burning feet have been diagnosed as erythromelalgia. I don't know if I 100% agree with the diagnosis, because my red feet don't occur when my body temperature is normal or cool.

I just wanted to know whether you A) also get red, hot fingers when you're hot, and B) how long have you experienced the red feet? I hope my problem is just that I don't sweat - and not anhidrosis AND another rare condition!

Thanks so much for posting about this issue. People get jealous that I don't sweat, but it's terrible!

Pamela N Red said...

Grace, I haven't heard of erythromelalgia. My feet burn when I get overheated and I'm wearing shoes. My hands never burn but hurt when they get too cold.

Icyminareta said...

I just had to comment. I have hypohidrosis but I don't sweat when hot, only when I get nervous/embarrassed do I actually produce any sweat, which really isn't helpful at all. What jumped out at me though was that you also have Raynaud's. I have it too and I've not really found anyone who has both. I am so sorry you have both conditions. How do you balance staying cool for your anhidrosis and staying warm with the Raynaud's. I'd love any advice you could share.

Pamela N Red said...

Raynaud's is tricky and hard to regulate. Keeping my feet elevated helps with the circulation. I can't take really cool temperatures so when I'm in a restaurant or building that keeps the air conditioning really low I have a hard time. I'm cold natured so it has to be pretty warm for me to be uncomfortable. I keep my thermostat at 77 in the summer months which would be too warm for some.