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SWEATOPEDIA

Sweatopedia is a leading source of comprehensive, objective, and accurate information on hyperhidrosis.

Causes of Hyperhidrosis

How to Tell if I Have Hyperhidrosis

By Katie Crissman /

Are you dealing with excessive sweating? If you’re a super sweater, here's how you can tell whether your symptoms may be related to a condition called hyperhidrosis.

What is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition categorized by excessive sweating that isn’t related to temperature regulation. It affects roughly 3% of people and it’s very treatable.[1]

If you have hyperhidrosis then you may experience symptoms like: 

  • Sweating that specifically affects your hands, feet, underarms, face or groin.
  • You can’t find an environmental trigger for your sweat like heat.
  • Your sweat so much that it impacts your self confidence and interferes in your personal or work life.
  • You have to change clothes often due to sweat problems.[1]

You get the idea - hyperhidrosis causes sweating that’s disruptive and more or less constant. It’s important to know that there are two types of hyperhidrosis. They are called primary focal hyperhidrosis, and secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. In this article we are going to focus on the symptoms of primary focal hyperhidrosis.[1] 

However, if you have excessive sweating that doesn’t seem related to primary hyperhidrosis read our article on secondary generalized hyperhidrosis as it’s caused by underlying health conditions and it’s important to get them looked at. 

Back to primary hyperhidrosis! Here are some quick facts to know about the condition:

  • It’s categorized by profuse sweating in one or more specific areas of the body, the main areas affected are:
    • Hands
    • Feet 
    • Underarms 
    • Face
    • Groin
    • Breast
  • It typically starts in adolescence or during early adulthood. Sometimes kids can experience excessive hyperhidrosis as well.
  • It’s not a result of any other disease or disorder - the excessive sweating itself is the disorder.
  • Men are more likely to have it.
  • It tends to run in some families.
  • The sweating tends to be symmetrical on the body. For example, if your right hand sweats your left hand will too.
  • It’s treatable![1]

Factors to Consider When Self-Diagnosing Hyperhidrosis

If you can relate to our description of hyperhidrosis consider these factors when self diagnosing. The first thing to know is that you should consult a doctor! Specifically, a dermatologist who’s trained in dealing with hyperhidrosis. If you’re still interested in more information consider the following: 

1. Temperature and Weather

 

First and foremost, you should be cognizant of whether or not you sweat in response to high temperatures in your surrounding environment. Since sweat is produced primarily as a means to cool the body via thermoregulation, all people should sweat when the temperature is high. Typically, the higher the temperature, the more sweat produced to keep the body cool. However, the first sign of both primary and secondary hyperhidrosis is whether or not your body sweats even when the temperature is at a comfortable, or even cool, level. 

For those with hyperhidrosis, they have sweat glands that are overactive because they are receiving and reacting to too many signals from the spinal cord and brain. Due to the fact that these synaptic signals are sent regardless of temperature, gauging the temperature of the environment when sweating occurs is a strong indicator of potential hyperhidrosis.

2. Environmental Triggers

In addition to temperature, you should be aware of whether or not other environmental triggers are causing excessive sweating on a repeated basis. For example, situations that are anxiety producing like meeting new people, anticipating handshakes, preparing for major assignments or tests, and public speaking may prompt an individual’s hyperhidrosis to worsen. This is because hyperhidrosis and anxiety are closely related. 

When thinking of your own sweatiest moments, are they tied to a specific set of conditions? If so, you may have primary focal hyperhidrosis that is triggered by those specific conditions. 

However, an important distinction between hyperhidrosis and stress sweating related to anxiety must be made; just because someone sweats in a specific situation doesn’t mean they have hyperhidrosis. Most people will sweat a little before a business meeting, and many people find the idea of a public speech to be intimidating. 

The important distinction is to determine whether or not your body is producing sweat to aid with thermoregulation (i.e. keeping you cool and calm when you become a little worried before an event) or producing sweat at an excessive and uncontrollable rate. 

3. Timing of Your Sweat

The third factor to evaluate in order to tell if a person’s sweating is indicative of hyperhidrosis is the length of time a person has been experiencing excessive sweating. If you’ve been sweating excessively since adolescence or young adulthood it’s a sign you may have primary hyperhidrosis. If it just started suddenly later in life it’s less likely to be secondary hyperhidrosis. 

If you think you might have hyperhidrosis there are many ways to manage your sweat and there are several treatments you can try. A great starting place is finding a good antiperspirant - we recommend Carpe antiperspirant lotion. They have products tailored to each specific part of your body and their special formula is gentle on skin.

Are you still curious about whether you have hyperhidrosis? Take this quiz.

Sources
  1. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Amsterdam: Elsevier Pub. Co., 2014. Retrieved from https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0 
  2. Kamudoni, P., Mueller, B., Halford, J., Schouveller, A., Stacey, B., & Salek, M. (2017, June 8). The impact of hyperhidrosis on patients' daily life and quality of life: A qualitative investigation. Retrieved May 21, 2018, from https://hqlo.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12955-017-0693-x
  3. MiraMar Labs, O'Shaughnessy, K., & Melkerson, M. (2011). 510(k) Summary. Division of Surgical, Orthopedic And Restorative Devices. Retrieved May 23, 2018, from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cdrh_docs/pdf10/K103014.pdf.
    Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

    Can Athlete’s Foot Cause Sweating?

    By JP Carter /

    The answer is “no” - Athlete’s foot does not make you sweat more, but it can make excessive sweating even more uncomfortable than it already was. Here is an in-depth look at what Athlete’s foot really is and how excessive sweating impacts it.

    Athlete’s foot, known scientifically as tinea pedis, is caused by a fungal infection (called dermatophytes) that affects the skin of the feet, especially the skin between the toes. The fungus causes skin to redden and crack and the affected areas are often flaky and itchy. Sometimes affected skin can also become inflamed. The fungus is able to infect a foot when it enters the top layer of the skin through small cracks or wounds. The infection can be passed on from person to person through direct contact or when someone steps on infected flakes of skin from another person. In order to grow and thrive, the fungus that causes Athlete’s foot needs a dark, moist environment and feet provide the perfect breeding ground due to those conditions. Furthermore, the skin of the feet contain large amounts of Keratin which the fungus feed on. There are certain risk factors that make it more likely for someone to develop Athlete’s foot, these include:

  1. Genetic predisposition (seems to affect some families more than others)
  2. History of allergies and eczema
  3. Excessively sweaty feet (history of hyperhidrosis)
  4. A weakened immune system
  5. Poor circulation in the legs
  6. Playing certain sports, particularly running and swimming[1]
  7. Athlete’s foot appears to be a very common problem as anywhere between 3% and 15% of the population are thought to struggle with it at any given time. It is not physically dangerous, but it typically won’t go away on it’s own. Therefore, it is important for people with the condition to seek treatment.[1] While no studies have shown that Athlete’s foot causes people to sweat more, it has been noted that excessive sweating of the feet makes the development of Athlete’s foot much more likely. This is especially true for people who suffer from a condition called primary focal hyperhidrosis.[2] Hyperhidrosis causes people to sweat excessively from specific parts of the body like the hands, feet, armpits, face, and head. It affects about 3% of the US population making hyperhidrosis quite common, like Athlete’s foot.[3] The reason so many people with hyperhidrosis develop Athlete’s foot is because the condition causes the feet to constantly produce sweat which promotes the exact environment fungus need to thrive.[2] Luckily, there are several effective ways to prevent Athlete’s foot and manage the symptoms of hyperhidrosis.

    How To Prevent Athlete’s Foot

    Preventing Athlete’s foot predominantly consists of specific types of self-care to keep feet dry and certain precautions to limit exposure to infectants. Often times, treating hyperhidrosis symptoms, which are how you stop foot sweat and its odor, can greatly reduce the likelihood of developing a fungal infection like Athlete’s foot. Here are some practical solutions you can use to make your feet a less habitable environment for the fungi that cause Athlete’s foot:

  8. Thoroughly drying feet after any activity that gets them wet. This includes activities like showering, bathing, swimming, or after sweating profusely while wearing shoes.
  9. Wearing breathable shoes that don’t constrict your feet.
  10. Not wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row. It can be useful to have two pairs of shoes that you alternate each day.
  11. Taking shoes off and airing out feet as frequently as possible.[1]
  12. If you are suffering from hyperhidrosis and practical lifestyle changes are not enough to keep your feet dry, then you may want to consider other treatments for sweaty feet. These include treatment options like using over-the-counter topical treatments like antiperspirant to more invasive procedures like botox injections.[3] Due to the fact that hyperhidrosis treatments reduce the amount of moisture your feet are exposed to they can drastically reduce the likelihood that you will develop Athlete’s foot.[2]

    In addition to maintaining a dry pedal environment, it is also important for people to limit their exposure to the fungi that cause Athlete’s foot. Here are some tips to avoid contracting it:

  13. Wear your own flip flops when swimming, using communal showers, and using communal changing rooms.
  14. Do not share towels, shoes, and socks with other people.
  15. Wash all towels, bedding, and socks in hot water that is greater than 60 degrees C.
  16. Add antifungal laundry sanitizer if you wash your laundry at a lower temperature.[1]
  17. How to Treat Athlete’s Foot

    Due to the fact that Athlete’s foot is so common, even when practicing prevention procedures, people often develop the condition at some point in their lives. In most cases, Athlete’s foot can be treated with over-the-counter remedies that are available at local pharmacies. These treatments come in the form of creams, gels, or sprays that contain an active ingredient that stops fungal growth of kills off fungus completely. In rare cases, tablets can be prescribed for people who haven’t had success with over-the-counter treatment options. There are also natural remedies that people use, which include tea tree oil some herbal foot bath solutions, although there is not scientific evidence that they are effective.[1]

    Once you have treated Athlete’s foot it is important that you continue to use preventative care practices so that you don’t develop it again. If you do also happen to suffer from hyperhidrosis, then getting treatment for it should keep your feet more comfortable and prevent you from developing Athlete’s foot as easily. There are many effective treatment options and it is important to make sure that you are taking proper care of the skin on your feet.

    Sources
    1. Athlete's foot: Overview. (2015). Retrieved May 31, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279549/
    2. Common Complications of Hyperhidrosis. (n.d.). Retrieved May 31, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/common-complications-of-hyperhidrosis
    3. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
    Causes of Hyperhidrosis

    Everything you need to to know about Hyperhidrosis (or Excessive Sweat)

    By Chris Reid /

    WHAT IS HYPERHIDROSIS?

    Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is basically when you sweat beyond comfort. People with hyperhidrosis just have overactive sweat glands. 

    The medical definition is sweat that is produced in excess of what is necessary for thermoregulation (the ability to maintain a healthy temperature.

    Sweating is a perfectly natural and necessary function the body uses to cool itself down. We need to sweat to live, however, with hyperhidrosis, you’ll sweat even when your body isn’t overheating.[1] 

    SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE HYPERHIDROSIS: 

    • When dressing, you take into account how your clothes will be affected by sweat and whether they will show sweat stains. 
    • You are always aware of your environment and whether or not you can influence the temperature. 
    • You've hesitated to shake someone's hand. 
    • You tailor your routine to take in account a need for reapplying your deodorant. 
    • You worry about taking off you shoes in front of others. 
    • You leave a sweat trail. 
    • Noticeable sweat even when you aren't working out or overheated. 

    WE DON'T JUST SWEAT UNDER THE ARMS: 

    All can be affected: 

    • Feet
    • Hands
    • Groin
    • Chest/Breasts
    • Thighs
    • Buttocks
    • Face
    • Scalp

    You could have sweat in just one of these areas, or like the lucky few experience full body excessive sweating. 

    Hands, feet, and underarms are the parts of the body that are most likely to be affected by hyperhidrosis.[3]

    People who suffer from hyperhidrosis have the same number and size of sweat glands as people who don’t have the condition. Their sweat glands are just overactive.[1]

    THERE ARE SOLUTIONS: 

    Good news, you don't have to live with uncomfortable sweat.

    SOME OPTIONS: 

    If you are interested in medical solutions, you can book an appointment with your dermatologist and learn how to manage hyperhidrosis with a dermatologist.[3]

    THERE ARE TWO MAIN FORMS OF HYPERHIDROSIS

    The vast majority of people will either have primary focal hyperhidrosis or secondary generalized hyperhidrosis

    Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

    Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis (PFH) is by far the most common type, affecting up to 90 percent of people who have hyperhidrosis. 

    People with primary focal hyperhidrosis only sweat in particular areas like the hands, feet, armpits, face, and groin.

    Sweat will occur on both sides of the body in the same place and often in more than one area — like both hands and feet. [3]

    Symptoms usually begin in childhood or adolescence and tend to last for a person’s entire lifetime. There is evidence that primary focal hyperhidrosis is hereditary, meaning it often runs in families.[3]

    Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis

    While primary focal hyperhidrosis appears to be something you’re born with, secondary generalized hyperhidrosis (SGH) is a condition that shows up during adulthood. Think of SGH as an uninvited guest who arrives on your doorstep with no warning. [3]

    When someone has secondary hyperhidrosis the biggest problem isn’t the hyperhidrosis – it’s the disease or condition that might be causing it. [3]

    The source of this type of hyperhidrosis can also be a medication. Many common medications can cause hyperhidrosis as a side effect.[3]

    Unlike primary focal hyperhidrosis, the sweating from secondary hyperhidrosis tends to occur all over the body. This is a telltale sign of the condition.[3]

    Unlike primary hyperhidrosis, this condition doesn’t have to be permanent. If the instigating condition is found and treated, it can fix the hyperhidrosis. It may take a little work.[3]

    If you are concerned that your hyperhidrosis might have an underlying cause, schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor and find out.[3]

    THE IMPACTS OF HYPERHIDROSIS

    While hyperhidrosis isn’t particularly dangerous physically, it can be embarrassing.[3]

    Unfortunately, hyperhidrosis is more serious than just uncomfortable sweating.

    Up to a third of people who deal with excessive sweating from hyperhidrosis say that they are constantly bothered by their sweating.

    • 75% of respondents reported that hyperhidrosis negatively impacted their social, emotional, and mental health.[4] 
    •  Hyperhidrosis and anxiety often go hand in hand.[3] 

    HOW COMMON IS HYPERHIDROSIS?

    • 3% of the US population struggles with hyperhidrosis. In other countries the percentage of the population that has it is even higher.[3] 

    Because hyperhidrosis is such an embarrassing and overlooked condition, many individuals avoid reporting the issue to their doctor. This means that the number of people who have hyperhidrosis might even be higher than we currently think.[3]

    What Causes Hyperhidrosis?

    Doctors don’t truly understand what causes primary focal hyperhidrosis yet. One theory is that particular nerves that control the amount of sweat overreact or malfunction. That malfunction can cause the excessive sweating that can be life-changing for those who suffer from it.[7]

    Since hyperhidrosis affects so many people, researchers are now shifting into full gear to discover the causes of excessive sweating so they can develop better treatments. Future treatments and research for hyperhidrosis are being developed more rapidly than ever before.[3]

    What Conditions Can Cause Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis?

    Many diseases and medical conditions can cause hyperhidrosis. However, just because you have one of the conditions listed below this paragraph doesn’t mean you’ll develop hyperhidrosis.

    Here are some of the more common conditions that may be causing the hyperhidrosis you have developed as an adult.

    • A febrile illness
    • Menopause
    • Hyperthyroidism
    • Heart failure
    • Diabetes
    • Frostbite
    • Alcoholism - Alcohol can cause excessive sweating when someone is intoxicated, withdrawing, or in someone with an intolerance.
    • Gout
    • Lymphoma and some other cancers and tumors.
    • Obesity
    • Pregnancy
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Stroke[3]

    There are also several types of common medications that cause hyperhidrosis as a side effect. So, if you are on medication and you begin experiencing new or increased amounts of sweating mention it to your doctor. Some of these medications include antidepressants, painkillers, blood pressure medications and many others.a [3]

    If you think you might have secondary generalized hyperhidrosis it is very important that you speak to a doctor. Many of the things that cause it can be resolved, and it could be a sign of a more serious problem. Don’t panic, but it is wise to look into the reason you are sweating more.

    What Are the Treatments for Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis?

    If you are diagnosed with primary focal hyperhidrosis, there are many things you can do.These are the existing treatments for hyperhidrosis, but new treatments are currently being explored by scientists:

    • Antiperspirants:There are many over-the-counter antiperspirants that can be very useful when trying to curb sweat. If a regular antiperspirant isn’t cutting it for you, ask your doctor to write a prescription for a stronger one. You can apply antiperspirant to places other than just your underarms. Use it on your hands, hairline, or feet as well. There are even antiperspirants for the face and groin that are made specifically for sensitive areas.
    • An Iontophoresis machine:This medical device sends low-voltage currents into a pan of water where your hands or feet are sitting. The electricity can lessen the activity of your sweat glands, at least for a while. However, it can take up to 10 sessions with the iontophoresis machine to deactivate your sweat glands. You may need to use this machine up to three times a week in the beginning and one treatment can take up to 40 minutes. Although iontophoresis as a treatment for palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis may give your hands and feet a much needed break, the iontophoresis machine is anything but convenient. Iontophoresis really does work, but patients have to be willing to keep up with a regular treatment regimen for it to work successfully.
    • Botox:If other treatments aren’t enough in your, you might need Botox injections. Botox can be particularly useful for axillary hyperhidrosis, but botox can also be a treatment for palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. Botox can provide up to 6 months of reduced sweating. If you’re going to pursue this route, you should look for someone who is experienced at doing Botox injections in the underarms to ensure the right area is targeted.
    • Anticholinergics:A few oral medications can for hyperhidrosis can reduce the amount of sweat you produce by stopping your sweat glands from working. Most commonly patients are prescribed anticholinergics like glycopyrrolate or oxybutynin as a treatment for hyperhidrosis. These medications also have several side effects, including heart palpitations, blurry vision, and dry mouth.
    • ETS Surgery:An endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is a surgical treatment for primary focal hyperhidrosis. It is an operation where an individual actually has the nerve endings that transfer sensory information to the sweat glands destroyed. Since no known successful reversal of an ETS surgery has ever been recorded, this option isn’t usually on the table unless the other treatments have failed. As with any surgery, it can be risky. There is also a type of surgery called an endoscopic lumbar sympathectomy which is used to treat plantar hyperhidrosis, but this surgery can be very dangerous and is almost never recommended.[3]

    Defeating Hyperhidrosis

    Undoubtedly, hyperhidrosis can be a hard condition to cope with. Until recently, the lack of research into hyperhidrosis had made hyperhidrosis difficult to manage. Thankfully, however, new treatments and awareness has made hyperhidrosis much easier to handle. Keep trying treatments until you find what works for you and remember that you are not alone in suffering with this condition. It’s just a matter of figuring out what you can do to control your sweat instead of your sweat controlling you!

    Sources
      1. MedicineNet Medical Journal. (2016, May 13). Definition of Hyperhidrosis. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=16272
      2. Diaphoresis: What causes excessive sweating? (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321663#overview
      3. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Amsterdam: Elsevier Pub. Co., 2014. Retrieved from https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0
      4. Lenefsky, M., & Rice, Z. P. (2018). Hyperhidrosis and Its Impact on Those Living With It. AJMC. Retrieved from https://www.ajmc.com/journals/supplement/2018/hyperhidrosis-managed-markets-update-treatments/hyperhidrosis-and-its-impact--on-those-living-with-it

    Nordqvist, C. (2017, December 21). Hyperhidrosis: Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/182130.php

    Doolittle, James, et al. “Hyperhidrosis: an Update on Prevalence and Severity in the United States.” Archives of Dermatological Research, vol. 308, no. 10, 2016, pp. 743–749., doi:10.1007/s00403-016-1697-9. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27744497/

    Huddle, J. R. (2014). Hyperhidrosis: Causes, Treatment Options and Outcomes. New York, NY: Nova Science. Retrieved from https://www.bookdepository.com/Hyperhidrosis-Janine-R-Huddle/9781633215160

    Causes of Hyperhidrosis

    Hot Flashes, Menopause, and Sweating

    By Katie Crissman /

    Everyone will experience the effects of aging as they get older, but only 50% of the population will go on to deal with the symptoms and changes that occur with menopause. Menopause is a natural part of the aging process for women and it usually begins some time in a woman’s 40s, although it can occur a few years earlier or later. It is the process that occurs when a woman’s fertility begins to decline and she is no longer able to bear children or experience a period. There are three distinct phases of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. Perimenopause is the first stage of menopause in which women begin ovulating less frequently and they often experience less frequent periods and physical symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, trouble sleeping, and other hormonal shifts. Menopause officially begins when a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 consecutive months.[1]

    Menopause can be a frustrating time for many women because of the physical side effects that occur as a result, especially hot flashes and night sweats. As many as 75% of women will experience hot flashes at some point during perimenopause and menopause, making it a very common symptom. Hot flashes can feel intense and last anywhere from one to five minutes each. Their frequency varies for each woman, some only experience a few a week while others have several hot flashes a day. Some women will also experience night sweats - bouts of intense sweating that only occur during sleep. While hot flashes and night sweats may sound benign, they can be incredibly frustrating, and even debilitating, for some people.[2]

    What Causes Hot Flashes and Night Sweats?

    No one is entirely sure what causes hot flashes and night sweats to occur, but most doctors agree that it most likely has something to do with fluctuating, and often decreasing estrogen levels that menopausal women experience. Researchers suspect that dropping estrogen levels affect the part of the brain that controls temperature. The body has an acceptable window of what a person’s normal internal temperature can be and it is suspected that decreasing levels of estrogen make this window more narrow. This means that external temperatures can more easily cause a rise in body temperature. Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling itself down. So, when a woman’s body senses that her internal temperature has risen more than it should it reacts by dilating blood vessels and sweating. This is when a woman experiences a hot flash.[2]

    There are a few other theories about the causes of hot flashes and night sweats, although they are not currently proven. The first theory suggests that some women have especially sensitive skin during this time which makes them more prone to experiencing vasodilation and sweating. The second implies that menopause causes an imbalance in the hormone leptin which can in turn cause blood sugar imbalances. These blood sugar imbalances are then thought to cause hot flashes, and possibly night sweats. No matter what the cause, night sweats and hot flashes are hard to deal with![2]

    Interestingly, hot flashes and night sweats are considered to be a type of secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. This means that they are a type of excessive sweating that is caused by an underlying medical state or condition. Luckily, there are several medical and practical solutions for this type of sweating. The most effective treatments focus on eliminating the underlying cause while others aim to minimize symptoms and reduce their impact on a person’s quality of life.[3]

    Medications that Can Help

    There are a few medical treatments that can help women who experience hot flashes. The most effective treatment is called menopause hormone therapy (MHT), it is also sometimes known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This type of therapy consists of patients taking a combination of hormones, most often estrogen and progesterone, to keep their hormone levels stable while they are going through menopause. It can greatly reduce symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, vaginal dryness, and sleep problems. Unfortunately, MHT can be dangerous for some women and it can cause alarming side effects in others. Studies have shown that women using hormone replacement therapy are at an increased risk of developing heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. This is similar to the risk women take when they use hormonal birth control, but the effects can be more likely to occur in women of a more advanced age. Some evidence suggests that non oral forms of hormone replacement may reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke.[1][2]

    Some other medications can be used for women who can take hormones. SSRIs, which are normally used to treat depression, can be taken in a lower dose to reduce sweating in some people. Ironically, SSRIs can also be a cause of secondary hyperhidrosis in some people so watch out for increased sweating if you choose to try them. Another medication used to treat seizures called Neurontin can be beneficial for some. Finally, a medication called clonidine which is normally used to treat high blood pressure can be useful in reducing symptoms for some people.[2]

    Other Ways to Improve Symptoms

    While medications work well for some people, others prefer to treat their symptoms naturally. There are several practical things you can do to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes and night sweats. Here are some solutions that may help you:

  18. Lose weight: Studies have shown that overweight women who lost weight had a lower frequency of hot flashes than those who did not.
  19. Exercise: This is not confirmed by a study, but it is suspected that exercise lessens the amount of hot flashes people experience.
  20. Stop smoking: Smoking is related to a higher frequency of hot flashes, so reducing or quitting can have a positive effect.
  21. Avoid trigger foods and beverages: Caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods have been shown to trigger excessive sweating.
  22. Use other strategies to manage sweat: Use other means to manage your sweat like dressing in layers, staying in cooler temperatures, and avoiding stress.[2]
  23. Some people have claimed success when they use certain supplements or employ dietary changes. Eating more soy is thought to reduce hot flashes, although this is currently not supported by studies. Other supplements like DHEA, dong quai, ginseng, kava, and red clover have been used by some to manage symptoms. However, no scientific evidence has yet backed the claims that these supplements work up as of yet. Any time you decide to use supplements it is important to consult a doctor and they can cause side effects and interact with other medications.[2]

    Sources
    1. Scaccia, A. (2018, May 16). How Long Do Symptoms of Menopause Last? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/how-long-does-menopause-last
    2. Suszynski, M. (n.d.). Menopause and Sweating. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/menopause/features/menopause-sweating-11#1
    3. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
    4. Santoro, N., pperson, C. N., & Mathews, S. B. (2016). Menopausal Symptoms and Their Management. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am., 44(3), 497–515. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4890704/
    Causes of Hyperhidrosis

    Essential Facts About Hot Flashes, Menopause, and Sweating

    By Chris Reid /

    Menopause is a universal experience for all women who have a menstrual cycle. As if years of dealing with a period weren’t stressful enough, menopause brings its own batch of bodily changes and experiences. Menopause and sweat have an unfortunate link. Some of the most notorious symptoms that menopause causes are hot flashes, night sweats, and excessive sweating. These symptoms can be difficult to deal with for some and downright debilitating for others. If you or someone you love is struggling to deal with these specific symptoms then read on to learn these crucial facts about menopause and sweating.

    #1: About 75% of women going through menopause will experience hot flashes and night sweats.

    Sweating is one of the first and most common indications of impending menopause. As many as 75% of women who are in perimenopause or menopause will experience hot flashes and night sweats to varying degrees. This means these symptoms affect more women more often than not, making them very common. What’s more concerning is that for 25% to 30% of the women who experience hot flashes and night sweats the symptoms will be so severe that they interfere with their quality of life. Luckily, for those with severe symptoms due to menopause and sweating there are effective treatments that can help.[1]

    #2: Doctors think that hot flashes and excessive sweating associated with menopause is caused by decreasing levels of estrogen, but there are a few other theories as well.

    Once menstrual cycles stop women experience a dramatic drop in the level of estrogen in their body. This drop in estrogen is thought to affect the part of the brain that regulates body temperature in such a way that even small changes in external temperature can cause a core rise in body heat. Sweating is the body’s natural way of keeping itself cool so the body begins the process of sending blood to the skin and sweating when its core temperature increases. Hot flashes are essentially your body’s way of trying to cool itself down and keeping your internal temperature stable.[1]

    No one is really sure what causes the relationship between menopause and sweating. So naturally, there are a few other theories about what causes menopausal women to experience hot flashes. One theory suggests that women have super sensitive skin during this time in life which makes them more prone to vasodilation (blood vessels opening up) and hot flashes. Another theory holds that a brain chemical imbalance is at play. The level of a hormone called leptin (a hormone that influences appetite) can be affected during menopause in addition to blood sugar levels. Some think that these hormonal shifts may lead to hot flashes.[1]

    #3: Menopause begins once you haven’t had a period for 12 months in a row - but hot flashes and night sweats can begin much sooner.

    Menopause occurs in three stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. Perimenopause is the first stage. During this stage, the body begins to produce less estrogen (a sex hormone) which is when menopause and sweating symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats begin. This process typically starts some time during a woman’s 40’s, but it can begin as early as a woman’s late 30’s. Menopause comes next. This stage starts when a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Generally this is when hot flashes and night sweats actually tend to subside, although the time frame is different for each woman. Postmenopause is the third stage and most women will no longer have significant symptoms once they reach it.[2]

    #4: Hot flashes and excessive sweating related to menopause can last for a long time. The average time women experience perimenopause symptoms is 4 years!

    Hot flashes and night sweats seem to peak during perimenopause (the first stage of menopause). It is thought that perimenopause lasts for around four years in the average woman. One research study found that women with moderate to severe hot flashes struggled with them for a median of 10.2 years! This is a longer timeframe than is generally thought to occur (thankfully). If you are dealing with hot flashes it could be a while before your body adjusts to its new normal and they taper off.[2]

    #5: The excessive sweating associated with menopause is actually considered to be a form of secondary hyperhidrosis and it can be treated.

    Hot flashes, night sweats, and excessive sweating are considered to be normal physiological changes that occur during menopause. However, it may be interesting to note that the excessive sweating caused by menopause is considered to be a type of secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis is just a medical term for excessive sweating that is caused by an underlying physiological condition, disease, or medication side effect.[3] It may be beneficial to look into some of the ways that people deal with hyperhidrosis when learning how to cope with persistent menopause and sweating symptoms. Companies like Carpe, make antiperspirant lotions that can reduce sweating production and make you more comfortable.

    #6: Menopause Hormone Therapy (MHT) and other medications can be used to treat hot flashes, night sweats, and excessive sweating.

    Menopause hormone therapy consists of replacing a woman’s lowered levels of the sex hormone estrogen with artificial estrogen. This type of treatment is the most effective way to reduce symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. Unfortunately, it is associated with a higher risk of developing heart disease, blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer. The longer a person uses hormone therapy the higher their risk of developing a health problem. There are also other medications that can be used to treat symptoms such as gabapentin, clonidine, and SSRI’s. Each medication has its own potential benefits and drawbacks, so speak with your doctor if you are struggling with symptoms and considering treatment.[1][2]

    #7: Hot flashes were thought to be associated with negative mood symptoms during menopause, but that has changed.

    Several years ago researchers thought that the development of hot flashes were associated with depression that can accompany menopause. It has recently been found that depression typically occurs before the development of hot flashes if it is going to occur as a result of menopause. So, just because you have hot flashes does not mean you will also get depression. Some women struggle with depression as a side effect of fluctuating hormones during menopause which can also make other physiological symptoms more difficult to deal with.[4]

    #8: There are non medical ways to manage menopausal sweating.

    There are several ways to manage hot flashes and night sweats that don’t involve medications. While there is no conclusive scientific evidence, some people believe that supplements like black cohosh, DHEA, dong quai, ginseng, kava, red clover, and soy are beneficial in relieving symptoms.[1] You can also use practical strategies to manage your sweat like avoiding caffeine and alcohol, staying in cool environments when possible, dressing in layers, keeping your bedroom cool, and using over-the-counter topical products like antiperspirant. Even though these changes might seem small they can make menopause and sweating more manageable.[2]

    Sources
    1. Suszynski, M. (n.d.). Menopause and Sweating. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/menopause/features/menopause-sweating-11#1
    2. Scaccia, A. (2018, May 16). How Long Do Symptoms of Menopause Last? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/how-long-does-menopause-last
    3. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Amsterdam: Elsevier Pub. Co., 2014. Retrieved from https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0
    4. Santoro, N., pperson, C. N., & Mathews, S. B. (2016). Menopausal Symptoms and Their Management. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am., 44(3), 497–515. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4890704/
    Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

    What are the Causes of Groin Sweat?

    By Katie Crissman /

    Sweating is a normal, healthy occurrence if it helps your body to cool itself down. However, some people experience excessive sweating that is burdensome rather than beneficial. This is especially problematic when sweat accumulates on certain parts of the body - like the groin. If you experience the following symptoms it could be a sign that your groin sweating has become excessive and may require some intervention:

  24. Chafing
  25. Itching
  26. Irritation
  27. Bad odor or negative changes in body odor
  28. Sweating disrupts you daily routine
  29. You regularly soak through your undergarments and/or pants
  30. So, what causes this type of unsettling groin sweat production? There are many possible culprits. Keep reading to learn about the most common causes![1][2]

    Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

    Hyperhidrosis is the medical term used to describe unusual, excessive sweating that is not related to the heat or exertion. The two most common types of hyperhidrosis are called primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. Most commonly, night sweats are a symptom of secondary hyperhidrosis - which is a type of hyperhidrosis caused by an underlying medical condition or medication. For example, some medications cause excessive sweating as a side effect. Due to the fact that the excessive sweating has a causative agent, the medication, a person would be said to have secondary hyperhidrosis. In contrast, primary focal hyperhidrosis develops earlier on in life and has no causative factor.[3] While primary focal hyperhidrosis could potentially cause night sweats, this is much less common.[1] The other causes of night sweats discussed in this article are actually types of secondary generalized hyperhidrosis.

    Pregnancy and Menopause

    One of the most common causes of excessive groin sweating is called primary focal hyperhidrosis (PFH). Hyperhidrosis is a skin disorder that causes sweating to occur in excess of what is needed by the body for normal physiological functioning. Most of the time, primary focal hyperhidrosis affects specific areas of the body like the hands, feet, armpits, face, and less commonly, the groin. A specific type of PFH called Hexsel’s hyperhidrosis is used to describe the condition when hyperhidrosis specifically affects the inguinal (groin) region. People with this type of hyperhidrosis usually struggle with sweating on the upper thighs, suprapubic area, external genitalia, gluteal folds, and the gluteal cleft. Sweating can become so severe that patients often experience soaking their clothes and deal with embarrassing situations as a result.[3]

    Researchers aren’t sure how many people struggle with primary focal hyperhidrosis that causes excessive groin sweating. It is thought to be less than the population of people that have hyperhidrosis that affects other parts of the body. One retrospective chart review published in the journal of Dermatologic Clinics observed that only 1.3% of the patients reviewed experienced groin sweating. It is known that about 50% of patients who have Hexsel’s hyperhidrosis have a family history of the condition, leading doctors to believe that there is at least some heritable component to hyperhidrosis. No one is sure why people develop primary focal hyperhidrosis, but it typically begins during puberty and can affect a person over their lifetime. While there is no cure for hyperhidrosis, there are ways to stop or decrease groin sweating.[3]

    Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis

    Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that is caused by an underlying factor like a medical condition or medication. Typically the sweating from this type of hyperhidrosis causes sweating to occur evenly all over the body and it can appear suddenly during any stage of life. Secondary hyperhidrosis is not known to only affect the groin area, but it can certainly cause excessive groin sweating. People with this type of hyperhidrosis often also experience night sweating in contrast to those with primary focal hyperhidrosis.[3]

    There are several possible causes of secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. Below is a list of conditions that could possibly cause secondary hyperhidrosis:

  31. Menopause
  32. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  33. Pregnancy
  34. Certain infections
  35. Some cancers
  36. Anxiety disorder or stress
  37. Hormonal imbalances
  38. Medications (antidepressants, painkillers, antibiotics, some cold medications, and many others)
  39. Hyperthyroidism[1]
  40. There are several other factors that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis, some of which are benign and others that are medically serious. Therefore, if you think you might have secondary hyperhidrosis it is important that you speak to a doctor about the potential causes. Luckily, secondary hyperhidrosis can be fixed by treating the underlying condition or stopping the medication that is causing it.[3]

    Other Factors

    While lifestyle factors aren’t going to cause excessive groin sweating to the point of needing medical attention, they can make a bad problem worse. You might be experiencing increased groin sweat production if you are wearing underwear that are tight, constricting, or made of fabrics with moisture-retentive properties. As unimportant as this may seem, it can actually be an important factor for some people. Exercise is another reason some people experience excessive groin sweating. So, if your sweat is only an issue after you are physically active then you probably don’t have a problem but you may want to dress accordingly. Finally, other lifestyle factors like obesity and pubic grooming can lead to differences in sweat production.[4]

    If you are struggling with excessive groin sweat then don’t give up! It can be difficult to find a treatment that works for you, but there are options available. There are treatments that allow patients to control groin sweat and that will help you to move on from the stress that excessive sweating causes.

    Sources
    1. Is the Sweating Between My Legs Excessive? (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-do-i-stop-sweating-between-my-legs
    2. Sweating and body odor. (2017, February 14). Retrieved August 14, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sweating-and-body-odor/symptoms-causes/syc-20353895
    3. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
    4. Eske, J. (2018, November 16). What causes sweating around the vagina? Retrieved August 14, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323719.php
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