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Hyperhidrosis: Abnormal, Excessive Sweating

Hyperhidrosis: Abnormal, Excessive Sweating
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excessive sweating

Hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating that is not the result of exercise or warm temperatures. Individuals with hyperhidrosis sweat to an abnormal extent, to the point of soaking clothing or bedding. This excessive sweating can occur while the individual is at rest and even in cool temperatures.

What Causes Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis can occur on its own or can be the result of one of the following underlying conditions or factors including, but not limited to the following:

  • Autonomic dysreflexia
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Extreme stress or trauma
  • Posttraumatic syringomyelia
  • Familial dysautonomia (Riley-Day syndrome)
  • Congenital autonomic dysfunction with universal pain loss
  • Exposure to cold, notably associated with cold-induced sweating syndrome
  • Episodic with hypothermia (Hines and Bannick syndrome)
  • Episodic without hypothermia
  • Olfactory
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Anxiety
  • Menopausal state
  • Night sweats
  • Compensatory
  • Infantile acrodynia induced by chronic low-dose mercury exposure
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Cancer
  • Using certain medications

Types of Hyperhidrosis

Primary Hyperhidrosis

This type of hyperhidrosis occurs on its own with no identifiable cause.

Secondary Hyperhidrosis

This type of hyperhidrosis occurs as the result of an underlying condition.

Hyperhidrosis Symptoms

  • Wet palms (hands)
  • Wet soles (feet)
  • Sweating frequently
  • Sweating in cold temperatures
  • Sweating without exertion
  • Sweating that soaks through clothing or bedding

sweaty palms

Diagnosing Hyperhidrosis

A primary care physician can diagnose hyperhidrosis after assessing your symptoms and medical history. They will likely order diagnostic tests to rule out certain underlying conditions that can cause excessive sweating.

Treating Hyperhidrosis

Topical medications containing antiperspirants are the most common treatment for hyperhidrosis. In severe cases that severely affect the patient’s quality of life, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgery for hyperhidrosis involves removal of the sweat glands to permanently resolve excessive sweating.

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