What Causes Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis occurs when your sweat glands make more sweat than you need to regulate your body temperature. It may happen for no reason, or because of a medical condition or as a side effect of a medicine you take.
Excessive sweating can have a negative impact on your life and can lead to social isolation, depression or anxiety. It can also affect your skin, causing skin maceration.
There are many different causes of hyperhidrosis. It can be triggered by a condition, an infection, an allergy, or even a medication you’re taking.
People who have this condition typically sweat more during the day than other people do. They also sweat more on the palms of their hands and in the armpits.
The condition affects about 3% of the population, and it can start at any age. It is more common in women, but it can occur in people of all races.
Most people with hyperhidrosis don’t know they have it and don’t tell their healthcare provider about their symptoms. That makes it hard to estimate how many people have this condition in the U.S.
It is important to get a diagnosis of hyperhidrosis before treatment can begin. Your doctor will review your medical history and check your vital signs to rule out other conditions that can cause excessive sweating.
If your symptoms don’t get better with a simple medication or other treatment, you may need to see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can diagnose you and prescribe medications, such as antiperspirants or deodorants.
A board-certified dermatologist Cameron Rokhsar also recommends other treatments. Some options include a topical medication, an oral medication, or miraDry electromagnetic treatment.
There are also some natural remedies for this condition, such as tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil. You can apply these products directly to the area that is sweating. They can help control your sweating by calming the nerves that trigger your sweat glands.
Other possible treatments include Botox injections, which block the nerves that stimulate your sweat glands. These injections usually work best when you get several of them.
Another option is surgery, which can reduce or stop your sweating by removing the sweat glands in your armpits. In some cases, surgery can improve the quality of life and help you to function better.
A dermatologist can treat your hyperhidrosis by recommending medications, physical therapy and other treatments. They can also help you to manage your symptoms so that they don’t interfere with your daily activities.
In normal conditions, your sweat glands work to control your body’s temperature. They produce sweat to cool you off when your body gets hot, or to cool you down when you get sick or nervous.
Hyperhidrosis, however, is a condition in which sweat glands become overactive. This happens because the nerve that controls sweating – the sympathetic nerve – is oversensitive, which means it tells your sweat glands to work overtime when you don’t need to.
The symptoms of hyperhidrosis can be very annoying and uncomfortable. They can cause social embarrassment, and affect your career choices and free time activities. Your self-image can also be affected. You may find it difficult to wear certain clothes, and your odor can become offensive.
Symptoms can occur at any age, but they usually start in childhood. They can happen in only one area of your body, or in many different areas.
Focal hyperhidrosis is when you sweat excessively in a particular area, such as the underarms or the hands and feet. This is called primary focal hyperhidrosis. This is the most common form of hyperhidrosis.
Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is when you sweat all over your body, or in more than one area. This is called generalized hyperhidrosis.
It can be a sign of other health problems, such as low blood sugar, thyroid issues or nervous system disorders. Your doctor should run tests to check these conditions.
Patients will be asked questions about how often they sweat, where on the body they sweat, and whether it occurs during sleep. These answers will help your doctor determine the best treatment for you.
Your doctor might suggest using antiperspirants or iontophoresis, which involves placing your hands or feet in water that has low-voltage electrical currents. This type of treatment is effective at controlling your sweating.
Herbal solutions can also be used to help manage hyperhidrosis. Some of these herbs have astringent properties and can shrink pores in the skin, which will reduce the amount of sweat produced.
Your doctor might also recommend a diet that is high in plant-based foods and eliminates MSG, GMOs, and trans fats from your diet. Some people find that taking vitamin B and D can help too.
If you’re sweating more than normal or have a sudden increase in your sweating, see a doctor. They can diagnose you with hyperhidrosis and help you get the treatment you need.
Most people with hyperhidrosis are able to get treated through nonsurgical means. However, for severe cases, surgical treatment may be needed. At Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), our pediatric general and thoracic surgeons specialize in a minimally invasive procedure called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, or ETS surgery. This procedure disrupts the sympathetic nerve pathways that lead to sweat glands, allowing excess sweating to be eliminated.
When a patient is diagnosed with focal hyperhidrosis, the disorder can affect a person’s quality of life and make daily tasks difficult. It can also be embarrassing and frustrating, particularly when it interferes with social interactions.
Some patients are able to control their symptoms with topical treatments such as antiperspirants, methenamine solution applications or oral medicines. Other patients need more serious treatment, such as thoracic sympathectomy surgery.
Your doctor will ask questions about how much and where you sweat. They will also perform a physical exam and lab tests to determine the cause of your excessive sweating.
Primary hyperhidrosis can be caused by a variety of factors, such as an overactive thyroid or low blood sugar. You may need to have blood or urine tests to find out if these problems are causing your sweating.
Secondary hyperhidrosis occurs when your body’s sweat glands become overactive or enlarged due to other conditions such as nervous system disorders, certain medications or an infection. These conditions can also cause your skin to itch or produce an odor.
The most common causes of secondary hyperhidrosis include spinal cord injury, reflex sympathetic dystrophy and hypertension (high blood pressure). A medical diagnosis will require a doctor to rule out other health conditions that can cause hyperhidrosis.
If your doctor believes you have hyperhidrosis, they will prescribe a medication to stop your sweating. They will also help you find ways to prevent your symptoms from returning.
Your doctor will also recommend lifestyle changes that can help you feel more comfortable and reduce your sweating. These changes could include avoiding smoking, using ice packs on your hands or feet when you’re hot or using an extra-strength antiperspirant. If your doctor feels you need a more comprehensive treatment plan, they can refer you to a specialist dermatologist for testing and recommending a suitable treatment plan.
Excessive sweating is a common problem that affects up to one in every 100 people. It can be a frustrating and embarrassing condition that can negatively impact your life. If you have hyperhidrosis, there are a range of treatments available to help control your symptoms.
The treatment you choose depends on the cause of your excessive sweating. Your GP will diagnose your symptoms and then work with you to find a suitable treatment.
Most people with hyperhidrosis have a genetic disorder that causes their sweat glands to overact. This condition is known as primary focal hyperhidrosis, and it usually affects the armpits, hands and feet.
If you have a genetically-related form of hyperhidrosis, your doctor may prescribe medications such as anticholinergics (which dry the skin) and corticosteroids to reduce your sweating. These medications are often very effective, but can also have unpleasant side effects like dry mouth or eyes.
Your GP will also suggest ways to manage your sweating, such as changing your clothing or wearing a deodorant. These treatments can often ease the symptoms and allow you to lead an active lifestyle.
Another option is to change your diet. Studies have shown that certain foods and dietary supplements can help you stop sweating.
Other treatment options include topical antiperspirants, oral medications and botulinum toxin. Your GP will recommend these if you have mild to moderate hyperhidrosis that’s affecting your life and doesn’t respond to other therapies.
In severe cases, your GP may recommend a minimally invasive surgery called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. This can be an effective way to treat hand sweating, although it is a risky procedure.
If you have severe underarm sweating, your GP can recommend microwave therapy. This treatment uses a special device that emits thermal energy (heat) to destroy your sweat glands.
Your GP can also recommend botulinum toxin injections, which are effective at blocking the nerves that trigger your sweating. This is a good option for some patients with primary axillary hyperhidrosis, and it can reduce or eliminate underarm sweating permanently.
If you have palmar hyperhidrosis, a variety of topical creams can be very effective. Using these products daily can help you to control your sweating.