Small pearls of sweat appear on your friend’s upper lip while relishing a quick bite of fried Maggie or a juicy burger. You both have a good laugh at it as every time he/she eats something it is always accompanied by sweating. This is medically termed as gustatory sweating. While such sweating makes you laugh, some people find it embarrassing as they sweat on both sides of the face after eating. Let’s compare normal sweating to gustatory sweating and look for ways to prevent such food-induced sweating.
Gustatory sweating is normal sweating that happens on the forehead, neck, scalp and upper lip when the person thinks, talks or eats food. Most people experience sweating while eating hot and spicy food, but some others sweat after eating any food.
The word ‘gustatory’ is related to the sense of taste and any nerve damage around the parotid gland (cheek gland that produces saliva) causes sweating on one side of the face, called as Frey’s syndrome. Patients with diabetes mellitus may experience sweating on both sides of the face and this is termed as bilateral gustatory sweating.
The Sweating Anomaly
Gustatory sweating and Frey’s syndrome are used interchangeably though both do not mean the same thing exactly. Food is special to each of us and nothing brings about more joy than delicious food for most people. So, it is normal to sweat while/after eating as this is the body’s way of responding to rise in body temperature.
The same sweating process happens for a different reason in people with Frey’s syndrome. This kind of sweating mostly happens because of surgery near the parotid gland and rarely due to illness/injury that affects the parotid gland. In an attempt to heal themselves, damaged nerve cells mix with other nerves causing sweat instead of saliva.
Gustatory sweating happens as a result of eating, thinking or talking about food. Some other rare causes of this type of sweating include diabetes mellitus, tumor, face injury or viral infection of the face.
Start Treatment to Stop Sweating
There is no need of meeting a doctor if you sweat while eating spicy or hot food. Even people with Frey’s syndrome who find it a nuisance to sweat while eating might not find it troublesome enough to seek medical help. Only those who sweat profusely while tasting, smelling or talking about food may want to seek medical guidance.
Actually, nothing much can be done to treat this kind of sweating. Surgical procedures can be done to replace the damaged skin, but the risks are not worth taking. Doctors mostly prescribe medicines or creams to stop the sweat. Botox treatment is increasingly used to treat Frey’s syndrome. Medication is induced via injection into the affected area to stop sweating and this has minimal side effects. Get a clearer idea about this treatment at the website www.firsteatright.com. But, Botox treatment too is not advocated or approved by many countries.
Sweating that happens without any previous injury/illness needs diagnosis on the underlying disease or disorder. In short, gustatory sweating does not require any treatment until the patient feels embarrassed to face others.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.