Disease: Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis

Excessive sweating

What is hyperhidrosis (hi-purr-hi-DROE-sis)?

This is a medical condition that causes excessive sweating. The word “hyperhidrosis” means too much (hyper) sweating (hidrosis).

Excessive sweating happens when a person sweats more than is necessary. Yes, it’s necessary to sweat. Sweating cools the body, which prevents us from overheating. People who have hyperhidrosis, however, sweat when the body does not need cooling.

Many people who have hyperhidrosis sweat from one or two areas of the body. Most often, they sweat from their palms, feet, underarms, or head. While the rest of the body remains dry, one or two areas may drip with sweat.

This excessive sweating can interfere with everyday activities. Hands can be so sweaty that it becomes difficult to turn a doorknob or use a computer. Sweat from the underarms often soaks through clothes, causing obvious sweat marks. Because the skin is often wet, skin infections can develop.

You can learn about other signs and symptoms, treatment, and more by visiting the pages below.

Source: https://www.aad.org

Hyperhidrosis: Signs and symptoms

If you have this medical condition, you may notice:

  • Visible sweating: When you are not exerting yourself, do you often see beads of sweat on your skin or have sweat-soaked clothing? Do you sweat when you’re sitting?
  • Sweating interferes with everyday activities: Does sweating cause difficulty holding a pen, walking, or turning a doorknob? Does sweat drip heavily on to your papers or computer?
  • Skin turns soft, white, and peels in certain areas: Does your skin stay wet for long periods?
  • Skin infections: Do you get frequent skin infections on the parts of your body that sweat heavily? Athlete’s foot and jock itch are common skin infections.

Two types of hyperhidrosis

Both types cause excessive sweating, but there are some differences.

Primary focal hyperhidrosis: This type of hyperhidrosis affects one or a few areas of the body, like the underarms.

Primary focal hyperhidrosis: This is the most common type. A person who has this type will notice that the excessive sweating occurs:

  • In one or a few areas of the body: “Focal” means that the excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) affects one or a few parts of the body. The areas of the body most commonly affected are the underarms, hands and/or feet, and forehead.
  • On both sides of the body: If the excessive sweating occurs in the underarms, the person usually notices both underarms sweat excessively. The same holds true for the hands and feet.
  • After waking up: Sweating may begin soon after the person wakes up, but the person usually does not notice damp sheets or wet clothing unless the room is hot.
  • At least once a week: For many people, it occurs much more often.
  • This type of hyperhidrosis usually begins when the person is a child or adolescent. Most people who have this type are otherwise healthy. In medical terminology, the word “primary” means that the cause is not another medical condition.

Secondary hyperhidrosis: In medical terminology, “secondary” means that the excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) has an underlying cause. The cause could be a:

  • Medical condition
  • Side effect of taking a medicine or food supplement
Medical conditions that can cause excessive sweating include:
  • Diabetes
  • Frostbite
  • Gout
  • Injury, such as head trauma caused by an accident
  • Menopause
  • Obesity
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • Tumor
If a person has this type of hyperhidrosis, the person may notice:

  • The entire body sweats excessively: Sometimes, only parts of the body sweat.
  • Sweating occurs during sleeping: If you sweat excessively while asleep, it is important to see a dermatologist to learn why this happens.
This type of sweating usually begins when the person is an adult. It also may begin after an accident or frostbite. Many medicines also can cause this type of hyperhidrosis.

Anxiety and embarrassment

Both types of hyperhidrosis can cause people to feel extremely anxious and embarrassed. Students often avoid raising their hand during class. Many teens never date. Adults may hide the sweat stains by wearing layers of clothing or changing frequently throughout the day.

Some people are more likely to develop hyperhidrosis. To learn who is most likely to develop it, read Hyperhidrosis: Who gets and causes.

Source: https://www.aad.org

Hyperhidrosis: Who gets and causes

Who gets hyperhidrosis?

It is difficult to say how many people have excessive sweating. Many people never see a doctor. Some are too embarrassed to talk with a doctor. Others do not realize that this is a treatable medical condition. Dermatologists estimate that 3% of people in the United States have excessive sweating.

We know that some people are more likely to get hyperhidrosis. Researchers have learned that most people have one of the following:

  • Family member who sweats excessively.
  • Medical condition that causes the sweating.
  • Medicine or food supplement that they take, which can cause excessive sweating.

When the excessive sweating occurs in one or two areas of the body, it is likely that a family member also has this condition.

Many medical conditions can cause excessive sweating. These include diabetes and gout. A tumor or injury also can cause excessive sweating.

Women often sweat excessively when they get hot flashes during menopause. The cause is obvious. Some women, however, develop excessive sweating after they have gone through menopause. This sweating does not have an obvious cause.

People of all races get hyperhidrosis. The excessive sweating can begin at any age. For many people, it begins when they are a child or teen. Dermatologists believe that more children and adolescents have this condition than are diagnosed.

Whether you live in a cold climate or a warm one, you can have hyperhidrosis.

What causes hyperhidrosis?

Certain nerves tell the body when to sweat. It is possible that these nerves overreact, causing excessive sweating.

We know that you cannot catch it from someone.

Dermatologists continue to study what causes this condition. They also continue improve treatments. If excessive sweating interferes with your life, you may want to see a dermatologist. Many effective treatments are available.

You can learn how dermatologists diagnose and treat this condition at Hyperhidrosis: Diagnosis and treatment.

Source: https://www.aad.org

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