This article focuses on the causes and management of excessive sweating localized to certain areas of body.
Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating is one of the common disorders of sweat glands. It can trouble to the extent that one feels professional embarrassment while shaking hands. The individual usually avoids touching, which can lead to social seclusion or other symptoms of social anxiety disorders. It can affect palms, soles, axillae, and a lesser extent to involve the face and groin areas. Excessive sweating will affect your whole body or only specific areas, such as your palms, soles, face, or underarms. The type that typically attacks the hands and feet causes at least one episode a week while waking hours. A physiological cause of diffuse sweating occurs in hot and humid weather or with the thermal stimulus, or excessive physical exertion is considered normal. But, if an individual has sweated out of proportionate levels to normal individuals, it raises a concern.
There are natural differences in how people sweat, just as there are differences in other bodily functions, where some people begin sweating more quickly than others. Hyperhidrosis can be primary or secondary.
1. Localized Sweating - Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis:
The most prevalent cause of excessive sweating is called primary focal hyperhidrosis, which does not have any underlying medical cause. Hyperhidrosis usually affects about 1% to 3% of people and typically starts in childhood or adolescence. Primary focal hyperhidrosis does not cause any illnesses. Although it is a medical condition, it is not a symptom of a disease or a side effect. People who have it are otherwise normal. The symptoms of primary focal hyperhidrosis are moderately specific. It is called focal or localized because it only affects particular parts of the body, such as the head, face, underarms, groin, hands, or feet. Symptoms also tend to be symmetrical, occurring on both sides equally. Primary focal hyperhidrosis seems to originate from a minor defect in the nervous system. There is some proof that it could run in families. While primary focal hyperhidrosis is not medically risky, it can cause problems in your life. Primary focal hyperhidrosis can hinder your quality of life. Some people are merely inconvenienced by extreme sweating. Others are so ashamed that they restrict their social and work lives in unhealthy ways.
In primary focal hyperhidrosis, the cause is usually hereditary. The individual may have a family history of hyperhidrosis. The symptoms of this appear in childhood or around puberty and may persist for years. Sometimes, spontaneous improvement occurs after the age of 35. While in secondary, the causes of focal hyperhidrosis are many like cerebral infarction or strokes, spinal cord injury, etc. The severity of primary focal hyperhidrosis ranges from intermittent, slightly moist palms and soles to daily sweat drippage from hands and feet, requiring frequent use of towels.
2. Generalized Sweating - Secondary General Hyperhidrosis:
This form of hyperhidrosis causes sweating all over the body and not just on the hands or feet. Secondary general hyperhidrosis is also severe medically. It is called secondary because some underlying health condition causes it. One significant sign of secondary hyperhidrosis is excessive generalized sweating, especially at night.
What Can Trigger Secondary General Hyperhidrosis?
There are many possibilities, including several different medical conditions and diseases. They include:
Infectious diseases like tuberculosis.
Fever of undetermined cause.
Cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
Pheochromocytoma (a unique adrenal gland tumor).
Medication side effects are sometimes experienced while taking some antidepressants and beta-blockers.
Those who are anxious or who have real anxiety disorders may sweat more than others. Experts say that nervous sweating is not related to hyperhidrosis, but in some people, the two conditions can still happen simultaneously.
Medications can also induce general excessive sweating. Medicines that can increase sweating include:
Some psychiatric drugs.
Certain blood pressure medications.
Certain medicines for dry mouth.
The treatment for secondary hyperhidrosis often depends on the condition causing it. For example, hyperhidrosis which is caused by an overactive thyroid, can be fixed by managing the thyroid issues with medication or surgery. Excessive sweating caused by diabetes will cease once the levels of glucose are under control. If a medicine is causing excessive sweating, the doctor will prescribe a different drug. While there is no remedy for primary focal hyperhidrosis, there are techniques to help control the symptoms. It should be focused on the severity, distribution of involvement, and other causes of hyperhidrosis.
Antiperspirants: Mild axillary and palmar hyperhidrosis cases can be controlled by local application of Aluminum Chloride or topical and oral Glycopyrrolate and specific over-the-counter or prescription sprays, roll-ons, and lotions to control symptoms.
Palmar hyperhidrosis can be controlled by iontophoresis or intradermal injection of Botulinum toxin type A, appropriate for the focal area and effective for two to eight months. It can temporarily prevent the nerves from triggering extreme sweating.
Iontophoresis. This treatment uses low-level electrical impulses to disable the sweat glands momentarily.
Medications. Some drugs can obstruct the sweat glands from booting into action.
Surgery. One way is to cut a nerve in the chest that triggers unnecessary sweating. Another way is to eliminate some of the sweat glands surgically.
When the body is working harder, it naturally cools itself by sweating. But you should seek immediate medical attention if the heavy sweating is followed by nausea, lightheadedness, chest pain or when you suddenly begin to sweat more than normal when your sweating interrupts your daily routine, you experience night sweats for no obvious reason, and when sweating causes social withdrawal or emotional distress.
Sweating is a normal phenomenon. Abnormal and excessive sweating in unusual situations is referred to as hyperhidrosis. This might also indicate a heart attack, infection, obesity, and thyroid problem. You have to seek medical attention to maintain better health.
The causes of excessive sweating are:
- Diabetic hypoglycemia.
Excessive sweating at night is called night sweats. Night sweat is a common symptom faced by many women compared to men. Hormonal disturbances are the reason for sweating in women. In men, low blood sugar, neurological problems, and certain medications can be the cause.
Complicated cases of diabetes can result in nerve damage. The nerves that supply the sweat glands are always in an activated state. In such a significantly activated state, a condition of hyperhidrosis can occur.
Sweating can be an indicator of heart problems. When there is blockage of the arteries, there will be an increase in the blood flow so that there will be an increased sweating level. You should consult your doctor for your heart problems.
If an individual is sweating profusely from head and face, then it can be due to a condition called craniofacial hyperhidrosis. In this condition, the normal balance in the body temperature gets altered. Medical treatment in an organized way can help in overcoming the condition.
The triggers for excessive sweating include:
- Hot weather.
- Spicy foods.
Menopause is the time where the menstrual cycle is coming to an end. During this phase, sweating and hot flashes are common. In some people, sweating is very mild, where in others, there might be excessive sweating. This can start at the age of 40.
Sweating is a normal physiological phenomenon happening in the body. When it exceeds a normal limit, then it can indicate a medical condition. Vitamin D deficiency can cause excessive sweating conditions.
Yes, autoimmune diseases can cause excessive sweating. The different autoimmune conditions that cause excessive sweating are listed below:
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Celiac disease.
- Multiple sclerosis.
Yes, excessive sweating can happen due to hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance can happen during pregnancy, menstrual period, and menopause. You can get help from icliniq.com for hyperhidrosis.
Yes, medications can cause hyperhidrosis. They might include the following drugs.
It is the natural tendency of the body to produce more sweating while eating. This is also a healthy mechanism of the digestive system. The nerves that are found near the parotid gland are affected, and so there is excessive sweating seen while eating.
You can follow the below tips for avoiding excesses naturally.
- Wear fabrics that are comfortable to you.
- You can apply antiperspirant before going to bed.
- Avoid spicy foods.
In order to stop the sweating in your hands and feet, you can choose to follow the below steps:
- You can use antiperspirant in your palms and feet before going to sleep.
- Avoid spicy foods and caffeine as it can stimulate the sympathetic nervous system.
- Avoid taking hot showers as they can drastically increase the body temperature.
Last reviewed at:
06 Apr 2021 - 4 min read
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