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Hyperhidrosis: Dealing with Excessive Sweating

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Nov 20, 2022

    Hyperhidrosis: Dealing with Excessive Sweating

    If you find yourself sweating more than usual without exercising or it being hot, there may be an underlying problem. It may be hyperhidrosis. If you suspect that you have hyperhidrosis because you are excessively sweating, there is no need to worry. It can be a nuisance, but it is not life-threatening. Certain treatments can help manage it like hyperhidrosis surgery. But do they work?

    Here are some quick facts you can learn about hyperhidrosis.

    What Is Hyperhidrosis?

    Abnormal and excessive sweating that is not directly related to exercise, movement or heat is hyperhidrosis. The sweating can be very obvious to yourself and others.

    Heavy sweating can disrupt daily activities. Additionally, it can make a person feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. It can also potentially cause some people to have social anxiety.

    What Are the Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis?

    The most evident sign of hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating. Most people may sweat when they are stressed or anxious, in a hot environment, or when they exert themselves in physical activity or exercise. Sweating is completely normal under these circumstances.

    However, hyperhidrosis causes a person to evidently sweat much more under those circumstances and potentially in cases where they normally should not.

    Other than frequent sweating, a person with hyperhidrosis may experience wet or clammy palms and soles. Additionally, their excessive sweating can often soak through clothing.

    Hyperhidrosis can also cause painful and irritating skin problems like bacterial or fungal infections. Other symptoms may include worrying about body odor, being self-conscious, etc.

    The 2 Types of Hyperhidrosis

    The first kind of hyperhidrosis is focal hyperhidrosis. This is when abnormal sweating is localized and occurs on specific areas — the soles of the feet, palms, or head.

    The second kind of hyperhidrosis is generalized hyperhidrosis. This is when abnormal sweating affects the whole body.

    Who Can Get Hyperhidrosis?

    According to this study, hyperhidrosis is more common than you think. An estimated 2.8% of the US population alone have primary hyperhidrosis. Primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis refers to hyperhidrosis with an unknown cause.

    It was believed that primary hyperhidrosis is caused by a person’s emotional and physical state. However, people with primary hyperhidrosis seem to experience the same levels of emotions when exposed to similar triggers.

    Secondary hyperhidrosis is when a person excessively sweats due to an underlying health problem. These conditions include:

    • Tumors
    • Menopause
    • Obesity
    • Gout
    • Substance abuse
    • Certain medications

    Certain genes could also be the culprit. Often, many patients who have primary hyperhidrosis have a parent or sibling with the condition, which could mean that they had inherited it.

    However, do understand that sweating is a normal body function. It offers numerous benefits. But when excessive becomes a nuisance in your daily life, you can consult your doctor.

    hyperhidrosis surgery

    How Can I Manage Hyperhidrosis?

    Botox and Iontophoresis Treatment

    If a doctor diagnoses you with hyperhidrosis, they may suggest a few ways you can deal with it. For instance, iontophoresis treatments and botox injections can help a person manage their sweating.

    Anticholinergic Drugs

    A doctor may also prescribe anticholinergic drugs, which inhibit nerve impulses. Many patients who take these may see a great improvement in their symptoms in as quickly as 2 weeks.

    Hyperhidrosis Surgery

    There is also hyperhidrosis surgery to help a patient better manage their symptoms. For instance, there is a minimally invasive surgery that helps people with excessive hand sweating, facial sweating, and armpit sweating, among others.

    If a patient has very severe armpit sweating, then a doctor may recommend a plastic surgeon for a different kind of hyperhidrosis surgery. They may remove the sweat glands by either using traditional surgery or minimally invasive liposuction surgery.

    Other Tips

    Some people may find that non-medical remedies can help them deal with their hyperhidrosis. For instance, antiperspirants can help stop sweating. Keep in mind that deodorants prevent odor, not sweating.

    Some people may also use armpit shields. The armpit shields are pads that provide a cover for their clothing. That way, the sweat will be absorbed into the pads rather than your clothes.

    Changing the materials of your clothing can also be greatly beneficial as well. Certain fabrics can worsen the symptoms of your hyperhidrosis.

    When you choose your clothing, it would be best to avoid synthetic fibers like nylon. Try to choose natural materials for your shoes, too, like leather. You can select cotton socks that absorb moisture well.

    What Happens if I Do Not Treat Hyperhidrosis?

    You can develop certain complications if you ignore your hyperhidrosis. For instance, you can get nail infections, particularly in your toenails. You can also develop bacterial infections, especially between your toes and around your hair follicles.

    You may also get a prickly heat rash, which is a red and itchy rash on the trunk area that causes a prickling or tingling sensation. A person normally gets a heat rash because perspiration gets trapped under their skin when their sweat ducts get blocked.

    Additionally, excessive sweating can have a psychological impact on people. For instance, a person’s job, relationships, and self-confidence can get affected by hyperhidrosis.

    When Should I See a Doctor?

    On average, most people seek medical attention after having the condition for around 9 years. However, if you think that you have it and your symptoms are worsening, it would be best to seek medical help immediately for treatment options.

    Key Takeaways

    While hyperhidrosis can be difficult to manage, there are ways to better live with the condition. Based on your doctor’s recommendation, you can opt to manage it through medication, non-medical approaches, and even hyperhidrosis surgery. Consult your doctor for the most helpful treatments.

    Learn more about Healthy Lifestyle here. 


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

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Nov 20, 2022

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