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Hyperhidrosis - Types, Symptoms Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Published on Apr 07, 2020   -  5 min read

Abstract

The condition that results in excessive sweating in the absence of any trigger is called hyperhidrosis. Learn about its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

Contents
Hyperhidrosis - Types, Symptoms Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What Is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is when a person sweats excessively, irrespective of the climate or physical exertion. The person can sweat when the weather is cold or without any trigger, or sometimes due to menopause or thyroid problems. Such people sweat so much that their clothes might get soaked and sweat starts dripping from their hands and feet. This can cause embarrassment and social anxiety and hinders in normal day to day activities. For a few individuals, the symptoms are so severe that it makes them anxious. It affects the patient’s career choices, activities, relationships, self-esteem, and emotional health.

Treatment is usually done with strong antiperspirants, and if that does not help, the doctor might suggest various medications or therapies. In extreme cases, the person might need surgery to get the sweat glands removed or to cut the nerves that are responsible for excessive sweating.

Hyperhidrosis disorder is a condition that results in excessive sweating. Most people do not consult a doctor for excess sweating as they thing it is not a condition that can be treated.

What Are the Types of Hyperhidrosis?

Sweating caused due to hyperhidrosis occurs mostly in the hands, feet, groin, and armpits, as these parts contain the most concentration of sweat glands. The types are:

  1. Focal hyperhidrosis - This is when excessive sweating is localized in a particular body part. For example, sweating in the palms and soles (palmoplantar hyperhidrosis).

  2. Generalized hyperhidrosis - This is the type where the entire body is affected.

This condition can be present at birth, or it can develop later on. Most people start experiencing the symptoms during their teenage. This condition can also be classified based on the cause:

  1. Primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis - the cause is unknown. Most of the cases are of this type.

  2. Secondary hyperhidrosis - sweating is due to an underlying health condition like obesity, menopause, gout, mercury poisoning, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, etc.

What Are the Symptoms Experienced by a Person with Hyperhidrosis?

The signs of hyperhidrosis include:

  1. Wet and clammy palms (underside of the hand).

  2. Wet and clammy soles (underside of the feet).

  3. Profuse sweating.

  4. Wet and soaked clothing.

The person might also experience the following symptoms:

What Are the Causes of Hyperhidrosis?

Depending on the type, the causes of hyperhidrosis are:

Primary Hyperhidrosis - It was believed that primary hyperhidrosis was due to the person’s emotional state. Stress, anxiety, etc., were believed to trigger this. But, recent studies showed that people with this type of hyperhidrosis are anxious and stressed because of excessive sweating and not the other way round. It also showed that genetics plays a role and that this condition could be inherited.

Here, the nervous system triggers the sweat glands and makes them overactive, and make them secrete sweat even without the rise in body temperature. The condition worsens with stress and nervousness.

Secondary Hyperhidrosis -

Injury to the spinal cord.

How Does the Doctor Diagnose Hyperhidrosis?

Visit a doctor if you feel that you sweat a lot without any reason. On your visit, the doctor will ask you about the symptoms, your medical history, and some questions to understand what triggers such sweating episodes. If needed, the doctor will then suggest you go for further testing:

  1. Blood and urine tests - to rule out all other medical conditions that can result in similar symptoms, such as hyperthyroidism.

  2. Thermoregulatory sweat test - Here, a moisture-sensitive powder is applied to your skin, and when you sweat, the color of the powder changes.

People’s palms and soles, who do not have hyperhidrosis, do not sweat when exposed to heat. But hyperhidrosis patients do. Other tests, such as the iodine-starch test and skin conductance test are also used.

What Are the Treatment Options for Hyperhidrosis?

The treatment options include:

1) Home Remedies:

2) Medications:

3) Other Procedures and Surgery:

Microwave therapy - Here, a device is used to destroy sweat glands with the help of microwave energy.

For more information on hyperhidrosis, consult a doctor online now.

 

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Last reviewed at:
07 Apr 2020  -  5 min read

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