Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition in which a person sweats excessively and unpredictably. People with hyperhidrosis may sweat even when the temperature is cool or when they are at rest.
Sweating helps the body stay cool. In most cases, it is perfectly natural. People sweat more in warm temperatures, when they exercise, or in response to situations that make them nervous, angry, embarrassed, or afraid.
Excessive sweating occurs without such triggers. Persons with hyperhidrosis appear to have overactive sweat glands. The uncontrollable sweating can lead to significant discomfort, both physical and emotional.
When excessive sweating affects the hands, feet, and armpits, it is called primary or focal hyperhidrosis. In most cases, no cause can be found. It seems to run in families.
If the sweating occurs as a result of another medical condition, it is called secondary hyperhidrosis. The sweating may be all over the body or it may be in one area. Conditions that cause second hyperhidrosis include:
The primary symptom of hyperhidrosis is wetness.
Visible signs of sweating may be noted during a doctor's visit. Tests may also be used to diagnose excessive sweating, including:
You may be also be asked details about your sweating, such as:
Treatments may include:
International Hyperhidrosis Society | www.sweathelp.org
With treatment, hyperhidrosis can be managed. Your doctor can discuss treatment options with you.
Call your health care provider if you have:
Sweating - excessive; Perspiration - excessive; Diaphoresis
Miller JL. Diseases of the eccrine and apocrine sweat glands. In: In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 39.
Reisfeld R, Berliner KI. Evidence-based review of the nonsurgical management of hyperhidrosis. Thorac Surg Clin. 2008 May;18(2):157-66. Review.
Updated by: Diane M. Horowitz, MD, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, Great Neck, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team.
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