Gender Differences in Sweating Explained By Size Interview with:

Sean Notley, PhD. Postdoctoral Fellow School of Human Kinetics | École des sciences de l'activité physique University of Ottawa | Université d'Ottawa Ottawa ON

Dr. Notley

Sean Notley, PhD.
Postdoctoral Fellow
School of Human Kinetics | École des sciences de l’activité physique
University of Ottawa | Université d’Ottawa
Ottawa ON What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Gender-differences in human heat loss (skin blood flow and sweating) have long been ascribed to innate differences between men and women. However, we believed that these were more related more to size than to gender, because most previous research compared average (larger) men with average (smaller) women. In our view, the size and shape (morphology) of an individual might be as important, if not more important, than gender in determining heat loss.

When we matched men and women for body morphology, and when we studied those participants in tolerable conditions, we found that larger men and women were more dependent on sweating and less on skin blood flow, while smaller individuals were more reliant on skin blood flow and less on sweating. Moreover, as anticipated, gender differences in those heat-loss responses could be explained almost entirely by individual variations in morphology. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: It is often said that men sweat, while women glow. However, our findings indicate that heat-loss responses are similar in men and women when they are matched for body size. Conversely, gender differences in these responses largely arise from differences in body morphology. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: It would be interesting to explore these relationships during more thermally stressful exercise conditions, and also with regard to children. For instance, we do not know whether these morphological determinants made in adults extend to children Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: These findings relate only to exercise conditions in which humans can regulate body temperature, and thereby prevent its continued elevation. In more thermally stressful exercise conditions, there is evidence men and women of similar body size display differences in heat loss capacity. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Variations in body morphology explain gender differences in thermoeffector function during compensable heat stress
Sean R. Notley1, Joonhee Park1, Kyoko Tagami1, Norikazu Ohnishi1,2 and Nigel A. S. Taylor1,*
Experimental Physiology DOI: 10.1113/EP086112

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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