Do you sweat while eating? Here’s why it may happen

Sweating while eating, also known as gustatory sweating, happens when people sweat profusely during or after eating food.
Sweating while eating
Sweating while eating may be due to underlying health conditions. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Purvi Kalra Published: 26 May 2024, 13:30 pm IST
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Have you noticed when you or someone known to you tends to sweat while eating? Spots of sweat tend to show up on their neck, face, scalp and forehead, indicating an underlying health issue. This phenomenon of sweating while eating is medically known as gustatory sweating or Frey Syndrome. Among those who suffer from this condition, it is not uncommon to sweat during or after eating food, especially after hot and spicy food due to a natural rise in body temperature. Spicy food has red or black pepper which contains an enzyme capsaicin which triggers the thermal system to make a person feel warm. To curb gustatory sweating, you must know the causes behind it.

Why does sweating while eating happen?

Gustatory sweating might happen due to multiple reasons:

1. Head or neck surgery

While eating, there may be facial flushing and sweating due to damage to the auriculotemporal nerve, surgery of parotid gland facial injury or an illness like shingles, says consultant physician and intensivist Dr Roohi Pirzada.

One of the most common causes of gustatory sweating is having a history of neck or head surgery. When the parotid gland is removed in people post-surgery, it is common to experience trauma to close-knit issues in these regions. It is generally believed that surgery of the parotid gland can accidentally harm the nearby nerves, resulting in certain mixed nerve signals, like those for sweating. Our body naturally produces more saliva when we eat. But, in case of damaged nerves to parotid glands, your body might start sweating instead of salivating. It may run in the family also.

Also read: Sweaty scalp? Here’s what causes it and 7 ways to get rid of it

Sweating while eating
Get to know the causes of sweating while eating, also known as gustatory sweating!

2. Meat sweats

Some dieticians may claim meat sweats, which is excessive perspiration after consuming high-protein meals and not just meats. Protein breakdown involves a high metabolic rate and hence thermogenesis. Hence the body’s response to cool down by sweating. So balancing protein in the diet or taking smaller amounts at frequent intervals may help in reducing these sweaty episodes.

3. Increased alcohol consumption

As alcohol tends to raise body temperature, alcohol intake can be restricted. Stay hydrated after alcohol consumption, says the expert.

How to prevent gustatory sweating?

The treatment options for this type of sweating are limited. However, many treatments may reduce or stop gustatory sweating. Some of those are:

1. Over-the-counter treatments

Sometimes, over-the-counter topical treatments and oral medications may be prescribed by your doctor. These may include antiperspirants that can be applied to the face or other areas where you sweat. Medications like anticholinergics might also curb sweating.

2. Botox injections

Botox injections are the primary treatment option for Frey’s syndrome, especially axillary hyperhidrosis, shares the expert.

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sweating while eating
You can try journaling or surgical procedures to curb symptoms of gustatory sweating!

3. Surgical procedures

Surgical procedures in very severe cases like skin grafting have been done in the past. However, this can be risky.

4. Journaling

Other practices include journaling the food that triggers the sweating and this pattern is noted. This way you can minimize or to an extent avoid excessive sweating. You can analyze the information collected by the end of the week to see which food patterns cause you to sweat more. You can eliminate those foods to see if refraining from consuming them might help curb sweating.

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About the Author

After testing her skill-set in the field of management and marketing, Purvi Kalra is exploring the world of turning thoughts to words. Her penchant for writing stems for being an avid reader all her life. Her work drives her to be better every day. ...Read More

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