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Ways to reduce sweating

The treatment you have to stop your sweating depends on what is causing it. If you have an infection, antibiotics will treat the infection and stop the sweating. If your sweating is due to cancer then treating the cancer can stop it.

If you are sweating because treatment has changed your hormone levels, it may settle down after a few weeks or months, once your body is used to the treatment.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about your sweats. There are different treatments you can try.

Hot flushes and sweats

Some drugs help to cut down the number of hot flushes and sweats you have, and can make them less severe.

  • Clonidine (a blood pressure and migraine medicine) can help women with breast cancer
  • Anti depressants such as paroxetine or venlafexine
  • Gabapentin (an epilepsy drug) can help women with breast cancer
  • Progestogen (a hormone) can help men with prostate cancer
  • Cimetidine (a drug to reduce stomach acid) can reduce sweating caused by morphine

All these treatments have side effects. It is important to talk to your doctor about them before you start, and discuss how long you should take them. We need more research to find out the best way to reduce hot flushes and sweats.

People sometimes use complementary medicines to help control sweating. Research has had varying results so far.

Things you can do to reduce sweating

  • avoid alcohol and caffeine as this dilates the blood vessels in the skin, increasing sweating
  • avoid spicy foods and eating large meals late at night
  • keep your room at a cool, comfortable temperature
  • have a fan nearby at night
  • wear layers of clothes so you can easily take off or put on a layer to adjust your temperature
  • use light bedclothes so you can take some off if you get hot
  • if you are sweating a lot at night, lie on a soft towel to soak up moisture and keep your sheets dry
  • drink at least 2.5 to 3 litres (preferably water) a day as you can lose a lot of fluid in sweat
  • have plenty of warm baths or showers
Last reviewed: 
21 Feb 2019
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    E Weisshaar and others (2012)
    Acta Dermato Venerologica. 92 (5): 565-81

  • Oxford textbook of palliative medicine (3rd Edition)
    Doyle D and others
    Oxford University Press
    ISBN 0 19 856698 0

  • Cancer and its management (6th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

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