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Reasons why One Armpit Sweats More Than the Other

Updated on January 5, 2017

Why one armpit sweats more than the other

The above image shows one armpits sweating more than the other
The above image shows one armpits sweating more than the other

The structure of the human armpit

Have you ever wondered why sometimes you sweat more in one armpit than the other? If you have, then this post is exactly what you need since I will be explaining why this strange thing happens.

On a daily basis, several bizarre things happen to us such as: shivering towards the end of urination, experiencing headaches when you drink or eat very cold food, experiencing shaky hands when you do not will it, and walking or talking while you are asleep. These are all wonders of the human body that science, over the years, has tried to explain – some, very convincingly, others, with minimal success.

In today’s post, I’m going to explore yet another wonder of the body that can lead you to your wits end. This wonder is no other than sweating more under one of your armpits than the other. Personally, I haven’t experienced this condition; but I have had friends who have, and are somewhat embarrassed to talk about it. To start us off, I’ll examine the structure of the armpit and why we even sweat there in the first place.

The structure of the armpit

The armpit, medically known as axilla, refers to a hollow under the arms. The natural positioning of the chest, shoulder bone and the upper arm creates it. Normally, blood vessels that carry blood to the arms pass through the armpit.

The armpit also consists of small lumps of tissue, known as lymph, which are responsible for fighting any infections that may come upon the armpit. On the outside, the armpit also has lots of hair follicles and sweat glands.

While the purpose of armpit hair is debated, many believe that it is to prevent sweat from chocking the pores of the skin. As for the sweat glands in the armpit, their purpose is to help our bodies to cool off.

The average human has about four million (4m) sweat glands, including those in the armpit, whose job is to produce sweat to cool off the body. Usually, when the environment around us is warm or, we perform some physical activity, our bodies become hot in the inside. The brain then signals the sweat glands to produce sweat, which comes out through the pores of the skin, and cools us down from the inside.

Lastly, due to its position under the arm, which makes it somewhat enclosed, warm and moist, the armpit is home to a lot of bacteria. These bacteria are healthy for us; in fact, the average human has about two hundred (200) different types of unseen bacteria on his or her skin. Such bacteria establish a presence on us to avoid harmful bacteria from invading us. It is when these bacteria breakdown sweat that the armpit smells.

One armpit sweats more

Sweating more in one armpit
Sweating more in one armpit

Why does one armpit sweat more than the other?

Now let’s consider why one armpit can sweat more than the other. Below are some of the reasons for this condition:

Sweat glands quantity difference

First is a difference in the quantity of sweat glands. Not all armpits are created equal; the left armpit may have more sweat glands than the right armpit, and vice versa. When that happens, one of the armpits will produce more sweat than the other when the environment is hot or when we become hot in the inside. Like I mentioned early on, sweat is a very important aspect of our living because it cools us down.

Frequency of arm usage

Another reason why one of the armpits will sweat more than the other is the frequency of use of the arms. Sometimes we sweat in different parts of the body, depending how rigorously we use them physically.

Let’s take the example of Eric, a young fitness enthusiast who lives in the suburbs of Boston. Whenever Eric does quick sprints, he notices that his calves begin to sweat. Similarly, when he does stomach crumps, he sweats on his stomach and abs. Finally, when Eric does body planks, he observes that there’s a lot of sweat on his upper arm, armpits and lower arms.

Eric’s example helps us to understand that sweat comes out depending on which part of the body is used the most; in the case of Eric, while he sweats generally from exercise, the sweat is more on the calves, stomachs, abs, armpits, upper and lower arm areas. Therefore it could be that you use one arm more than the other, which causes you to sweat more in that armpit.

Disparity in care of armpits

Finally, one armpit may sweat more than the other because you don’t give both equal care. As part of everyday hygiene, we apply antiperspirants to both armpits to block the sweat glands. We might even go further by shaving the armpits so that the hair doesn’t hold more sweat for the bacteria to thrive and produce a bad smell.

Antiperspirants perform their job by engaging the sweat glands and blocking the sweat ducts so that little sweat reaches the surface of the skin. In the case were you do not apply an antiperspirant to both armpits well, there’s a disparity in the level of sweat. So taking time to treat both armpits well is key for solving the problem.

Summary

Now that we have some understanding of this wonder of the body, I hope that we will give some attention to the armpits, especially by how much one sweats more than the other. It is in doing so that we can determine whether we have the condition, and begin to find solutions to it. You should know, though, that the condition is normal and nothing dangerous.

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    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 9 months ago from Norfolk, England

      That's interesting to know. Certainly something I have learned. Thankfully I tend not to sweat that much!