Are there physiological differences between women and men that impact thermoregulation?

Yes. Comparatively, women have more sweat glands than men. Women also have a higher concentration of sweat glands in many areas of their body. Interestingly, women also tend to use a higher percentage of their sweat glands, while secreting less total sweat. Overall, this translates to a more efficient sweating process that can decrease the amount of so-called “wasted sweating”. Wasted sweating occurs when sweat is produced and then drips off the body, not remaining on the skin long enough to cool you through the evaporation process.

In the early 1900s, women were banned from participating in Olympic distance events for being “too fragile” and were not allowed to participate in the Boston marathon until 1972. However, subsequent research has shown no evidence that women are at higher risk of heat illness when standard management techniques are in place regarding exercise intensity, clothing, and hydration.


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