Cold sweating (diaphoresis)

Cold sweating means that you suddenly start sweating even though your body is cold. Usually, sweating is triggered by an elevated body temperature after, for example, physical exertion. Cold sweats, on the other hand, are caused by the activation of the sympathetic nervous system.

It is normal to sweat as this is the body’s own cooling system. You often sweat more when you exercise, or if it is very hot. In some cases, however, you can sweat even when you are physically inactive and are in a cool environment, which is then called cold sweating. These types of sweating are the body’s reaction to stress, and are often called a fight or flight response. In some cases, they may be a sign of an injury or some form of underlying illness.

Why does cold sweating occur?

There are many different causes of cold sweating, and although most are harmless, there are some cases that should be taken seriously. Anything that causes the so-called “fight or flight” reaction in the body can cause cold sweats to occur. Examples of causes are pain, lack of oxygen, fear, anxiety and low blood sugar. In most cases, the condition is stress-related, or otherwise caused by anxiety or panic. Women in menopause often experience cold sweating. These are perfectly normal and harmless.

Even a state of shock in the body can cause cold sweating. When the body falls into shock, a drastic reduction in the level of carbon dioxide in the blood occurs. This causes the brain to receive less oxygen and nutrition, which in turn can lead to life-threatening conditions. In severe cases, cold sweating can be linked to heart attacks and strokes.


Cold sweating means sweating, and the skin feels cold, moist and sticky when touched. In milder cases, it may be that you experience the feeling of sweating, without actually being able to feel any traces of sweat on the skin.

Some sweat more and others sweat less, but the biggest characteristic is sweating sensation in situations where you are not normally sweating.


It is not possible to diagnose cold sweating per se, as cold sweat is really a symptom of something else. Instead, a physician can make an assessment based on the discomfort experienced, to determine if more measures are needed.

Tests will then be made to rule out the illnesses and ailments that can cause cold sweating, and a doctor will take into account past illness and injury history.

Treatment of cold sweating

It is also not possible to treat the cold sweat itself, as it is only an expression of another problem.

To get rid of the problems, the cause must first be found, and then it is treated immediately.

Other about cold sweating

It is important to seek out a health care center if you feel uneasy, or if you suddenly start to experience cold sweats for no apparent reason. Try to identify when cold sweats are coming, and if they occur in connection with any particular type of activity. This can help the doctor find the cause of sweating more quickly.

If you are not sure where to go, you can always contact the health information.

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