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Excessive Sweating/ Hyperhidrosis


What is Excessive Sweating?

Hyperhidrosis, commonly referred to as excessive sweating, is a condition in which someone sweats a good deal even when they are not hot or exercising. The sweating can be so pervasive that it actually soaks the clothing of the affected person. Excessive sweating can cause emotional and social stress, though it is not life-threatening, and many people with the condition seek out treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Excessive Sweating

Sweating is a natural and healthy function. Signs that it is excessive include:

  • Sweating through the clothes even when not exerting oneself
  • Wet palms and feet
  • Excessive sweating in the face
  • Episodes occur at least once a week during waking hours

What Causes Excessive Sweating?

We all sweat to cool our bodies. Sweating developed over time as a way for humans to cool themselves during exertion. In typical cases of excessive sweating, also known as primary focal hyperhidrosis, the nerves that signal the sweat glands to work are overactive. The medical cause for this is not known, though there may be a hereditary component to the condition. In some cases, excessive sweating may be secondary to another condition, including diabetes, menopause and infections.

How Excessive Sweating is Treated

As a first step, your doctor may suggest that you undergo testing to rule out an underlying condition. Treating excessive sweating itself often involves medications, including prescription antiperspirant, prescription creams, nerve-blocking medications and Botox injections. There are also some medical procedures that can be used to treat the condition, including nerve surgery, microwave therapy or sweat gland removal in cases where the excess sweating is present in the armpits.

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