Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)

What is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is a condition where a person experiences excessive or uncontrollable sweating for no apparent reason. The sweating is so much it soaks through clothes.

Two Types of Hyperhidrosis

  • Focal Hyperhidrosis: excessive sweating in certain areas of the body, usually the armpits, hands, feet or face.
  • Generalised Hyperhidrosis: excessive sweating that affects the entire body, usually due to an underlying medical problem.

Causes of excessive sweating

Sweating normally happens when the nervous system triggers the sweat glands to produce fluid to cool the body. This can happen in response to the temperature, physical activity or stress.

Sometimes, the nerves become overactive and trigger the sweat glands even without heat or physical activity. This type of hyperhidrosis often runs in families. It can be worse if you are nervous or stressed.

Excessive sweating can also be caused by a medical condition such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Some Types of Cancer
  • Nervous System Disorders
  • Some medicines can also cause excessive sweating
  • Menopause
  • Low Blood Sugar
  • Heart Attack
  • Infections

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Hyperhidrosis

Excessive sweating in itself doesn’t affect your health. But many people with this condition find it can make them unhappy, depressed and embarrassed. It can affect people's social lives, work, relationships and level of confidence. It can also can lead to complications such as skin conditions like tinea and eczema, and physical discomfort.

To diagnose hyperhidrosis, your doctor will examine you and may do some tests to rule out a medical cause of your excessive sweating.

Treatments for Hyperhidrosis

Most people with excessive sweating don't realise they can get help, but possible treatments include:

  • Therapy: Psychotherapy, Behaviour Therapy and Relaxation Techniques to help you reduce anxiety and improve your quality of life.
  • Medicines: including prescription antiperspirants, nerve-blocking medicines, antidepressants or botox (this works by reducing the amount of sweat produced by sweat glands when injected around the glands)
  • Lontophoresis: A mild electrical current is delivered through water to areas of affected skin.
  • Surgery: As a last resort, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the sweat glands or sever the nerves.

Reference:

Health Direct. (Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)).
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