Who sweats more: women or men?
Sweating is a natural function to regulate body temperature. The human body has two to four million sweat glands under the skin. It is often said that men sweat more than women. But is that really true?
A very natural process
Sweating is a natural process that performs various functions. On the one hand, excess heat is released during sweating and the temperature is regulated. On the other hand, sweat has a signaling effect via the sense of smell. For example, an international team of researchers found in a study that the smell of sweat due to certain chemical substances can make other people happy. But most people would rather share the opinion that sweat smells unpleasant.
Different causes of sweating
Most of the human sweat glands are located on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and in the armpits, which explains why many people complain of sweaty feet or wet hands.
We also start to sweat when nervous, stage fright or fear. In addition, hormonal factors, eating habits or diseases affect sweating.
It is often said that men sweat more than women. Australian researchers are now reporting that this is not the case.
Men don't sweat more than women
A study by researchers from the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia and colleagues from the Mie Prefectural College of Nursing in Japan showed that women sweat as much as men.
According to the research published in the journal “Experimental Physiology”, the amount of sweat depends on body size and not on gender. Large people sweat more than small people.
"We know that all objects lose heat through their surfaces," said co-author Professor Nigel Taylor in a statement from the Australian university.
"If you compare a metal plate and a sphere with the same mass, both of which have been heated to the same temperature, the plate will cool down much faster if it is placed in cool air because it has a larger area."
According to the scientists, the same principle also applies to people. Smaller people have more surface area per kilogram of body mass than taller people and can cool down more efficiently by increasing the blood flow - the heat - on the surface of the skin. Taller people have to sweat more to achieve the same cooling effect.
It depends on the body size
To arrive at their results, the research team led by Sean Notley let 36 men and 24 women cycle twice in the laboratory for 45 minutes at a room temperature of 28 degrees and a relative humidity of 36 percent while their body functions were measured.
It turns out that men and women were able to regulate their body heat equally. The experiment showed hardly any gender differences in the sweat rate.
“We found that less than five percent of the difference in heat loss between men and women could be explained by their gender,” said Taylor.
Women are smaller on average than men, so an average-sized woman is likely to sweat less than an average-sized man. "But it's because of their size and not their gender," says the university's announcement. (ad)