If You Sweat When You Eat, Here's Why

Have you been sweating lately while you're eating? If so, this may have more to do with your biology than that spicy green curry chicken dish or first date jitters. It could be the result of something called gustatory sweating. 

Science experts have been studying gustatory sweating for over 300 years and believe one of the causes for the onset of this sticky syndrome is due to damage to the nerve pathways that go to a large salivary gland in the cheek called the parotid gland. You could get this kind of nerve damage as a result of a severe injury (via National Library of Medicine) or if you've had recent surgery in your head or neck region (via National Organization for Rare Disorders). 

If you are sweating as a result of either of these circumstances, you may be suffering from something called "Frey syndrome." Frey syndrome is a rare disorder named after the pioneering Polish neurologist, Łucja Frey, who studied this phenomenon and theorized a connection between nerve damage in the face and sweating (via SpringerLink).

Alternatively, another cause could be a medical condition like type 2 diabetes (via MedicineNet) — or you may simply be eating food that is a bit too spicy.

So, what can you do if you sweat while you eat?

Given that Frey's syndrome is rare, chances are pretty good that you don't have it. Assuming that's the case, then what can you do to keep those sweat glands in check while you scarf down your favorite meal? Well, if that favorite meal of yours is uber-spicy, or contains ingredients like vinegar or anything acidic, you may want to cut down on these and try foods that have a bit less kick. There's a good chance that this could make a difference. Meals that are high in sugar could also be the culprit, so consider limiting foods that are clearly going to give you a sugar rush. Check ingredients at the market whenever possible if you're cooking at home (via WebMD).

Gustatory sweating is uncommon, but if you are someone who regularly sweats while you eat and you are taking measures to improve the situation and nothing seems to be helping, then it could be time for a visit to the doctor. But, if you're like most people, try making a few healthy adjustments — and don't sweat it.