Although often ill-timed and embarrassing, sweating after eating is something diabetics can treat. This condition is called gustatory sweating, and it often involves profuse sweating on both sides of your face, scalp, neck and chest. This condition is not well understood, but investigational reports have found that a medication and a topical cream help. Ask your doctor if you need treatment.
Scientists aren't sure why gustatory sweating happens with diabetics. But the condition has been linked to complications such as nerve and kidney damage, as well as poorly controlled blood sugar. In a "Diabetic Medicine" study, 69 percent of the diabetics who reported gustatory sweating had nephropathy, or kidney damage; 36 percent had neuropathy or nerve damage. Chewing activates the sweating, and the condition is marked by sweating about the face, scalp and neck.
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Some gustatory sweating is normal, especially after you eat spicy foods, but in diabetes, it's often profuse, inappropriate or unexpected sweating. The American Diabetes Association reports that cheese and chocolate are two of the most common causes of such sweating. Pickles, vinegar, fresh fruit, salty foods and alcohol may also trigger gustatory sweating.
Oral medicines and roll-on ointments can be used to treat gustatory sweating in diabetes. A topical ointment called glycopyrrolate successfully stopped it in a case study reported in the "Archives of Internal Medicine." The authors reported it was safe, effective and well tolerated. A Dutch study reported in the "Netherlands Journal of Medicine" that oxybutynin, a pill, provided "striking" relief from gustatory sweating. If you seek treatment of gustatory sweating from your doctor, ask about the side effects of both of these medications. In a study published in "Diabetic Medicine," five of the participants who reported the sweating condition had their sweating disappear or significantly improve after a kidney transplant. The American Diabetes Association states that prevention of gustatory sweating may be found in good blood sugar control.
Although you may want to avoid foods that trigger excessive sweating, you should nevertheless continue eating. Some people may be embarrassed by the condition and cut back on eating. However, given that diabetes requires that you eat on a reasonable schedule, avoiding meals can affect your blood sugar control.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.