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Excessive Sweating

Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis) 

Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that occurs on the:

  • Underarms

  • Palms

  • Face

  • Scalp

  • Feet

What is excessive sweating?

The body uses sweat as a form of temperature control, in order to cool itself. Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating, which means sweating more than normal.

People with hyperhidrosis report feelings of social isolation and withdrawal from others in order to avoid touching others. This includes dating, business activities (where shaking hands is commonplace) and other activities for fear of body odor and damp clothing.

People with hyperhidrosis don’t have more sweat glands than other people. Rather, the nerve that controls sweating—the sympathetic nerve—is oversensitive and causes the overproduction of sweat.

Who gets excessive sweating?

There are two types of hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating): primary hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis.

Primary hyperhidrosis is usually inherited, which means one of your family members may have had it. Primary hyperhidrosis begins in childhood and worsens with puberty, especially in women.

Secondary hyperhidrosis is caused by some other condition or behavior. Some of these might include:

  • Neurologic syndromes

  • Thyrotoxicosis

  • Diabetes mellitus

  • Gout

  • Menopause

  • Medications that may cause sweating

  • Chronic alcoholism

  • Spinal cord injury

Some cancers are known to cause night sweats, so if you only sweat at night, see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out a serious disease.

Excessive Sweating Symptoms

Depending  where on your body you experience hyperhidrosis will determine your symptoms. Typically, symptoms include:

  • Excess sweat on your palms, hands, underarms, face and trunk (body)

  • Some patients may experience extreme flushing on their faces

Excessive Sweating Diagnosis

Our doctors diagnose hyperhidrosis by doing a physical examination and listening to a patient’s history. We can also measure the level of sweating in two different ways:

  1. Starch Iodine Test: This is a test that turns the sweat brown and is used to detect excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)

  2. Vapometer: This device measures transepidermal water loss and measures the amount of sweat that the hands, underarms, feet and scalp make. Measuring the amount of sweat gives your doctor an objective way to compare the amount of sweat before and after treatment.

Excessive Sweating Treatment

There are different treatments for hyperhidrosis, depending on the severity of the condition. These include:

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