For a moment, the doctor pondered what to say. Then he looked up and said, “Women who have had hysterectomies are often able to stop sweating completely during menopause.” He paused as if waiting for me to ask how he knew this about his patients. I didn’t need him to explain it; I thought of my mother-in-law, after she lost her uterus in a hysterectomy more than twenty years ago. She never perspired again—until she died at ninety years old: dead of old age and not from any other cause that day or ever before or since.
I had always wondered why some people were immune to hot weather while others found themselves drenched within minutes of stepping outside on summer days. The doctor explained that anyone likely had an incompletely functioning sweat gland somewhere between the neck and navel but was unaware of having such a problem because all their sweat glands worked well enough most of the time—especially if they were young when they first became aware their body wasn’t producing sufficient amounts of normal sweat on its own so they needed extra help from synthetic products like deodorant: antiperspirants instead (even though these actually contained salts that would irritate sensitive skin). Teenage girls especially could be affected by severe sweating problems; kids don’t yet know about puberty and hormones until much later in life—and then only with any certainty after