Parkinson’s Disease Is Enough of a Stinker Without Sweat Problems

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

by Sherri Woodbridge |

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Sherri Journeying Through

Parkinson’s disease can be difficult to live with, and excessive sweating adds to the mix. People with PD have a higher likelihood of emitting unfavorable odors because a person with PD can perspire more than someone who doesn’t have it.

“When Parkinson’s affects the autonomic nervous system, it loses its ability to regulate the body, which can cause changes in the skin and sweat glands,” Melanie Haiken wrote in a column for “Some people find themselves sweating uncontrollably when there’s no apparent reason, such as heat or anxiety. For a woman, these attacks may feel much like the hot flashes of menopause. The official term for this symptom is hyperhidrosis. … This condition can also show up in the form of excessively oily skin or an oily scalp resulting in dandruff.”

In the summer here in Southern Oregon, where I live, it can get rather warm. I love to garden, and so I can often be found outside soaking up vitamin D while working in my yard. I don’t, however, like the endless perspiration it creates. It has been quite embarrassing, on several occasions, when a neighbor has walked by to say hello and I turned around to acknowledge their greeting with sweat pouring down my face and dripping onto my shirt below. Their response was one of concern when they looked at me, diagnosing me with an imminent heart attack if I didn’t go in immediately to cool down and rest.

Because I have Parkinson’s and they don’t, and because I know excessive sweating can be part of the disease and they don’t, it leaves much room for frustration. And, as we are all aware, excessive sweating leads to excessive unfavorable odor. For the person with PD, this can be a quandary in that we can be physically challenged in yet another area: sense of smell. It may be slowly deteriorating or may have left altogether.

Therefore, it is important to stay on top of your hygiene tactics. For example, give someone you trust permission to let you know if you are ever giving off a foul odor. If they are a trusted friend, spouse, caregiver, whatever, they will be telling you in love. Try different deodorants until you find one you like.

Hang in there. This journey can be stinkin’ hard, but we’re in it together.


Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Coach Hans avatar

Coach Hans

My PD diagnosis explained my excessive sweating. As a Rock Steady Boxing fighter and coach I sweat profusely at the gym.I am also one of those really hairy guys; so besides two showers most days,good deodorant, I also buzz off a lot of body hair.. Mostly bald so shaving my head is no big deal! These are the measures I take so as to not stink. I do not have the ability to smell but some my friends still do. Just trying to be considerate of others!

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Coach - thanks for the comment and suggestions. They were great!

Jenn avatar


Hi, I have young onset Parkinson’s- diagnosed about 5 years ago. One of the most unbearable symptoms is the excessive sweating for me. Have you found any products that work well for the face?

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

I recently found a moisturizer with 30 SPF that doesn’t make me sweat profusely in the heat - but it’s rather pricey. Here is the link on Amazon so you can see it. It’s called Ultimate Miracle Worker. I got mine at Ulta but I see it’s less expensive other places- good luck!

Chris Snowden avatar

Chris Snowden

Hi folks,
We're having a heatwave in the UK just now & combined with my everyday sweating with the Parkinson's,I'm absolutely dripping,so uncomfortable + I'm so lethargic!!
A real bundle of joy!! Any more suggestions greatly appreciated.

Kate avatar


My son has a lady friend in her 60’s with Parkinson’s. She is miserable feeling this clamminess all the time. I don’t think she is sweating though. She only feels better taking a shower and changing clothes. She is not wet, just has the clammy feeling.
Has anybody ever heard of that?


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