Overview | Types | Affect | Causes | Symptoms | Complications | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention |
Hyperhidrosis refers to unnecessary extreme sweating.
Do you also feel embarrass because of hyperhidrosis?
Read further to know all, that you should know.
What is hyperhidrosis?
Sweating is a natural process of our body that occurs in response to certain conditions such as warm weather, exercise or physical activity, stress, anger, etc. But when you begin to sweat without such reasons then this condition develops in a disorder called hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis is a disorder which causes your body to extreme sweating, without any apparent cause or reason, such as heat or exercising etc. In this, your body’s sweat glands overacts. Due to this overactivity, you suffer sweating even at such times and places, when others don’t.
Sometimes, medical conditions or emotions such as anxiety, etc. Triggers excessive sweating.
In hyperhidrosis, you may sweat so much that it soaks through your clothes or drips off your hands. It can not only be a reason of embarrassment, social anxiety etc. but also can effect your normal daily activities.
The sweating can affect either one specific area or the whole body. Mostly, the feet, hands, armpits, groin, and face are affected by this hyperhidrosis. This is because all these parts of the body have a relatively high concentration of sweat glands than the other parts of the body. Although, it is not dangerous for health and not even life-threatening but can surely become a reason for embarrassment and psychological trauma. It can be hereditary but not necessarily is. This hyperhidrosis condition begins mostly in the teenage or adolescent age of a person.
Hyperhidrosis is also known as polyhidrosis and sudorrhea.
Fact: About 7.8 million people in the U. S. Are suffering from hyperhidrosis.
Types of hyperhidrosis:
Hyperhidrosis can be classified on two basis.
- On the basis of causes —
- Primary Idiopathic hyperhidrosis – Idiopathic means unknown cause. This type includes no known cause for the overactivity of sweat glands in your body, which results in hyperhidrosis. This is also known as focal hyperhidrosis, which you can inherit from your family. It occurs as a result of a mutation in the genes. It tends to begin early, before 25 years of age. It usually affects the armpits, hands, feet, and head. Most of the people who are suffering from hyperhidrosis are having focal or primary hyperhidrosis.
- Secondary hyperhidrosis – When a person extremely sweats due to an underlying health condition such as menopause, tumor, obesity, mercury poisoning, gout, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, etc.
- On the basis of sweating —
- Focal hyperhidrosis – When only one or some organ shows over sweating, or your sweating is localized to some area or organ, it is called focal hyperhidrosis. For example, excessive sweating of palms only, or soles only, etc.
- Generalized hyperhidrosis – When your whole body sweats extremely, then this condition od called generalized hyperhidrosis.
What are the effects of hyperhidrosis?
General hyperhidrosis sweats much from all over your body, whereas focal hyperhidrosis can have said-
- Bottoms of the feet
- Face (Including the cheeks and forehead)
- Lower back
- Underside palms of the hands etc.
Causes of hyperhidrosis:
Causes of primary hyperhidrosis —
- Hereditary (in about 30-50% cases)
Causes of secondary hyperhidrosis —
- Heart disease
- Spinal cord injury
- Alcohol abuse
- Substance abuse
- Lung disease
- Respiratory failure
- Parkinson’s disease
- Some types of cancers
- Adrenal gland disorder
- Some infections
- Some medications, such as antidepressants, propranolol, etc.
Causes of focal hyperhidrosis —
- Emotional stress
- Spinal cord injury
- Certain odors and foods, such as chocolate, coffee, citric acid, peanut butter, etc.
Causes of generalized hyperhidrosis—
- Malignancies, such as lymphatic cancer etc.
- Severe psychological stress
- Pituitary gland disease
- Metabolic diseases and disorders
- Certain prescribed drugs or medications such as insulin, antidepressants, etc.
Symptoms of hyperhidrosis —
Symptoms of hyperhidrosis range vastly in severity and impact on your life. Different people suffer different symptoms of hyperhidrosis. Some of the symptoms are as follows —
- Extreme sweating that make you uncomfortable
- Have to change clothes again to feel comfortable
- Excessive sweating on both sides of your body in roughly the same amount
- Sweat beads on your forehead or cheeks
- Incidents of excessive sweating at least once a week
- Excessive sweating before the age of 25 years.
- Sweat may soak by your socks
- Itching and inflammation
- Family history of hyperhidrosis
- Body odour, due to formation of mixture of sweat and bacteria
- Residue from combinations of sweat, bacteria and chemicals
- Paleness, discoloration, cracks and wrinkles
- Not sweating while sleeping
- Irritable or painful skin problems such as fungal or bacterial infection
- Reluctant to make physical contact
- Experiencing body odour more than others
- Maceration etc.
Sweating can be associated with any underlying health problem, therefore consulting your doctor at least once is not a bad idea at all.
If hyperhidrosis is not treated, it canlead to some complications such as —
- Nail infection
- Bacterial infection
- Heat rash (prickly heat, malaria etc.)
- Mental health
- Psychological impacts etc.
To diagnose hyperhidrosis, first you need to tell about your symptoms, health history and family history to your health care provider or doctor.
You may need one or more tests to accurately diagnose your condition. Blood or urine tests may confirm or rule out an underlying medical cause.
How much sweat you are producing is also important in diagnosis. To know your condition, some tests that can be done are as follows—
- Starch-iodine test – Your doctor applies an iodine solution to the sweaty area and sprinkles starch over the iodine solution. The turns dark blue in those part of the body, where you sweat in excess.
- Paper test – Your doctor places special paper on the affected area to absorb sweat. Later, that paper will be weighted by your doctor to determine how much you sweat.
If there is any underlying health condition responsible for your hyperhidrosis, then that condition would treated first. If not, then there are some treatment options which you can opt to treat hyperhidrosis.
You must keep in mind that if there is an underlying cause behind your hyperhidrosis, only then it can be cured. Bit if not, then the treatment can only decrease your symptoms and their effects, but can’t cure it fully.
Treatment options include —
- Aluminium based antidepressants
- Lifestyle changes
- Oral medications
- Clinical-grade cloth wipes
- Botox injection
- Microwave therapy
If any of these treatment options don’t work for you, then you can go with surgery.
Focal or primary hyperhidrosis can’t be prevented. In some cases, generalized hyperhidrosis can be prevented. The key is getting a precise diagnosis and treatment for the underlying cause.