Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating. It can be an embarrassing and serious problem. It can affect social, professional, and intimate relationships. The sweating may be in just one area. It is most common in the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and/or armpits. In some cases the sweating can also affect the entire body. Hyperhidrosis is divided into two categories:

  • Causes

    Primary hyperhidrosis may be triggered by:

    • High emotional states (such as intense sadness, fear, anger, or stress)
    • Spicy foods
    • Hot climates
    • Certain medicines:

      • Fever-lowering medicines
      • Insulin
      • Meperidine
      • Emetics (vomit-inducing medicines)
      • Alcohol
      • Pilocarpine

    Secondary hyperhidrosis may be caused by conditions such as:

    • Menopause
    • Fever
    • Infection
    • Cancer, such as lymphoma
    • Thyroid disease
    • Acromegaly or anterior pituitary tumor
    • Hypothalamic disorders
    • Adrenal tumor
    • Parkinsons disease
    • Nervous system disorders
    • Diabetes
    • Tuberculosis
    • Drug withdrawal
    • Certain medicines:

      • Fever-lowering medicines
      • Insulin
      • Antidepressants
      • Meperidine
      • Emetics (vomit-inducing medicines)
      • Alcohol
      • Pilocarpine

  • Definition

    Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating. It can be an embarrassing and serious problem. It can affect social, professional, and intimate relationships.

    The sweating may be in just one area. It is most common in the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and/or armpits. In some cases the sweating can also affect the entire body. Hyperhidrosis is divided into two categories:

    • Primary hyperhidrosis
      • usually affects specific areas
      • has no known cause
    • Secondary hyperhidrosis
      • usually the entire body
      • caused by an underlying condition
    Sweat Gland
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    A starch-iodine test is often used on armpits. It may be used to determine the areas with the most active sweat glands.

    Tests may be done if your doctor is concerned that you may have a specific medical condition.

  • Prevention

    There are no known ways to prevent hyperhidrosis.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance of secondary hyperhidrosis are the conditions that cause it (listed above).

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms include:

    • Excessive sweating of palms of the hands and/or soles of the feet
    • Excessive sweating of armpits
    • Increased amount of sweating
    • Change in pattern of sweating
    • Change in the odor associated with sweating
    • Stained clothing

  • Treatment

    Treatment includes: