So, I've got a personal question for y'all.
And it's a bit icky. Ickiness hasn't stopped me from posting previously, read this, but consider yourself forewarned. I hope you don't mind my asking.
So my question is this: Has Sjogren's changed the way you sweat? Because I sweat much differently than I did before I began dealing with autoimmune disease.
I don't sweat under my arms anymore. And I have stopped perspiring on my palms and feet. But I sweat much more profusely from the skin on my face and trunk and on my shins. Sometimes, I have different physical sensations when I sweat. Instead of feeling flushed, perspiring, and warm in response to physical activity, I feel as though the skin on my face is ice cold. And slimy.
I perspire in response to different things, as well. Physical exertion, yes. But also when I eat or drink certain foods. I've come to expect the head itch/flushed face/perspiration when I drink wine, but who breaks out in a sweat while sitting quietly drinking a can of artificially sweetened cola? Or a cup of coffee? Or while digesting a non-descript but fairly large meal?
I have sweating issues more often when I'm crashing, or at least am functioning just barely above EMPTY on the energy meter. Not consistently, but often. Strange.
I asked my rheumatologist about it once. She said, "Yes. That is strange."
And that was the extent of our conversation about sweating.
But really, I'm OK with that. Because on reflection, while I don't understand the physiology, this isn't a symptom that bothers me enough to consider adding yet another medication to the burden on my already overtaxed liver. If there is such a medication.
I just want to know that I'm not the only weirdo out there that is experiencing this. Wait, I didn't mean you guys are weirdos, but, well, what I meant to say is that I hope that there are others that have some of the same symptoms. That weird old Julia has.
I suspect that some autoimmune related change in my sympathetic nervous system has something to do with my glistening er, transphoresis, er, diaphoretic, er, drippy issues. The sweat glands are triggered into activity by the sympathetic or autonomic nervous system.
Of course, I've been Googling and reading since my interest was piqued. You can read a great article about normal sweat gland anatomy and physiology here. The medical term for sweating excessively and unpredictably is hyperhidrosis. You can read more about this condition here.
I found a very interesting discussion on a specific type of a sweat mechanism called gustatory sweating here.
Gustatory sweating: Sweating on the forehead, face, scalp, and neck occurring soon after ingesting food. Some gustatory sweating is normal after eating hot, spicy foods. Otherwise, gustatory sweating is most commonly a result of damage to a nerve that goes to the parotid gland, the large salivary gland in the cheek.Most medical literature that I could find that discussed parotid-caused gustatory sweating indicated that trauma from surgery was the usual cause. But I wonder.......my parotids are and have always been enlarged since the onset of Sjogren's. Could it be possible that the sympathetic nerves innervating my parotids and the rest of my sweat glands have been damaged due to autoimmune disease?
When the autonomic or sympathetic nervous system is impaired in some way, the condition is defined as an autonomic neuropathy, and since the autonomic nervous system affects nearly every system in the body, the symptoms related to AN are enormously varied. AN can be caused by a wide range of conditions as well. You can read more about autonomic neuropathy on Medscape, here. Of particular interest is this paragraph:
Sjögren syndrome may lead to peripheral and autonomic neuropathy without characteristic systemic symptoms. A small-fiber neuropathy associated with Sjögren syndrome can be associated with widespread anhidrosis. Also, a sensory neuronopathy due to Sjögren syndrome can be associated with autonomic dysfunction. The cause of neuropathy in these patients is likely to be autoimmune, but this remains unclear.I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if my sweaty issues are related to some kind of autoimmune-caused neuropathy.
What do you think?