Hyperhidrosis, also known as hi-pur-hii-DROEsis, is an abnormally high level of sweating. It’s not always related to heat or exercise. It’s possible to sweat so much it soaks into your clothes or drips off of your hands. This type of heavy sweating may not only disrupt your daily routine, but can also cause embarrassment and social anxiety.
Hyperhidrosis treatment usually helps, beginning with prescription-strength antiperspirants. You may have to try other medications or therapies if antiperspirants are not effective. Your doctor might recommend surgery to either remove the sweat glands or to disengage the nerves that cause excessive sweat production.
Sometimes, an underlying cause can be identified and treated.
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People sweat when they are exercising, exerting themselves, in hot environments, or under stress. Hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating that goes beyond normal sweating.
Hyperhidrosis is a condition that affects the feet, hands, underarms, and face. It usually occurs during the day. The sweating is usually on both the left and right sides of the body.
When should you see a doctor?
Excessive sweating can be a sign that you have a serious condition.
If you experience heavy sweating, lightheadedness, chest pain, nausea or lightheadedness, seek immediate medical attention
See your doctor if:
- Sweating disrupts your daily routine
- Sweating can cause emotional distress and social withdrawal
- You suddenly feel more sweaty than usual
- Night sweats are not an obvious reason.
Your body’s way of cooling itself is through sweating. When your body temperature increases, your nervous system triggers your sweat glands. When you are nervous, sweating can also occur, especially on your palms.
Primary focal (or essential) hyperhidrosis, the most common type of hyperhidrosis, is the most prevalent. This type causes the nerves that control your sweat glands to become hyperactive even though they aren’t triggered by temperature rises or physical activity. The problem gets worse when there is stress or nervousness. This type of problem usually affects your palms, soles, and sometimes your face.
Hyperhidrosis can occur without any medical reason. This condition can sometimes run in families.
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Secondary hyperhidrosis is when excessive sweating is caused by a medical condition. This is the rarer type. This is more likely to cause excessive sweating. These conditions can cause heavy sweating:
- Menopause hot flashes
- Thyroid problems
- Low blood sugar
- There are several types of cancer
- Heart attack
- Nervous system disorders
Heavy sweating can also be caused by certain medications, such as opioid withdrawal.
Hyperhidrosis can lead to:
- Skin infections. People who sweat a lot are more likely to get skin infections.
- Emotional and social effects. Damp or clammy hands, sweaty clothes, and dripping fingers can make you look embarrassed. Your ability to pursue your educational and work goals may be affected by your condition.