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Definition

What is hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is abnormally excessive sweating than normal related to higher temperatures or exercise. You may sweat so much that it soaks through your clothes or drips off your hands. Besides your normal daily activities are disturbed, hyperhidrosis can cause social anxiety and embarrassment.

Sweating is embarrassing, it stains clothes, ruins romance, and complicates business and social interactions. Severe cases can have serious practical consequences as well, making people who suffer from it hard to hold a pen, grip a car steering wheel, or shake hands

How common is hyperhidrosis?

This health condition is common. It can affect patients at any age. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of hyperhidrosis?

The common symptoms of hyperhidrosis are:

  • Most people sweat when they exercise or exert themselves, are in a hot environment, or are nervous, anxious or under stress.
  • The excessive sweating experienced with hyperhidrosis far exceeds such normal sweating.
  • The type of hyperhidrosis that usually affects the hands, feet, underarms or face causes at least one episode a week, during waking hours. And the sweating usually occurs on both sides of the body.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Chills
  • Lightheadedness
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • A body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher
  • Sweating disrupts your daily routine
  • You suddenly begin to sweat more than usual
  • You experience night sweats for no apparent reason

Causes

What causes hyperhidrosis?

  • Sweating is body’s mechanism to cool itself. Your nervous system automatically triggers your sweat glands when your body temperature rises. Sweating also normally occurs, especially on your palms, when you’re nervous.
  • In hyperhidrosis the nerves responsible for triggering your sweat glands become overactive and call for more perspiration even when it’s not needed. With stress or nervousness, the problem becomes even worse.
  • It may have a hereditary component, because it sometimes clusters in families.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for hyperhidrosis?

There are many risk factors for hyperhidrosis, such as:

  • Certain medications
  • Diabetes
  • Menopause hot flashes
  • Low blood sugar
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Some types of cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Infectious disease

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is hyperhidrosis diagnosed?

Lab tests

  • Your doctor may order blood or urine tests to determine if the excessive sweating is caused by another medical condition, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Sweat tests

  • A number of tests are available to pinpoint the areas of sweating and estimate the severity of your condition. These include:
  • Iodine-starch test
  • Thermoregulatory sweat test
  • Skin conductance

How is hyperhidrosis treated?

The approach to treating excessive sweating generally proceeds as follows:

  • Over-the-counter antiperspirants containing a low dose of metal salt (usually aluminum) are usually tried first because they are readily available. Antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride (for example Certain Dri) may be more effective when other antiperspirants have failed.
  • Prescription strength antiperspirants, which contain aluminum chloride hexahydrate.
  • Iontophoresis, a device which passes ionized tap water through the skin using direct electricity.
  • Oral medications, Anticholinergics reduce sweating.
  • Botox (botulinum toxin)-A, has been approved in the U.S. by the FDA for treating excessive axillary (underarm) sweating.
  • Mira Dry. This technique uses microwave energy to permanently kill sweat glands.
  • Lasers can target and kill the underarm sweat glands.
  • A procedure called thoracic sympathectomy may be considered as a last resort.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage hyperhidrosis?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with hyperhidrosis:

  • Use antiperspirant. Nonprescription antiperspirants contain aluminum-based compounds will help block the sweat pore.
  • Bathe daily. Regular bathing helps keep the number of bacteria on your skin in check. Dry yourself thoroughly, especially between the toes and under the arms.
  • Choose shoes and socks made of natural materials. Shoes made of natural materials, such as leather, can help prevent sweaty feet by allowing your feet to breathe.
  • Rotate your shoes. Shoes won’t completely dry overnight, so try not to wear the same pair two days in a row.
  • Change your socks often
  • Air your feet. Go barefoot when you can, or at least slip out of your shoes now and then.
  • Choose clothing to suit your activity. Generally, wear natural fabrics, such as cotton, wool and silk, which allow your skin to breathe. When you exercise, you might prefer fabrics designed to wick moisture away from your skin.
  • Try relaxation techniques. Consider relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and biofeedback. These can help you learn to control the stress that triggers sweating.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: July 18, 2017 | Last Modified: July 18, 2017

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