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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

    9 Outrageous Things People Try to Avoid Excessive Armpit Sweating

    By Daniel McCarthy /

    9 Outrageous Things People Try to Avoid Excessive Armpit Sweating


    On my first day of work a few years ago, I got dressed to impress and walked the 20 minutes to my new office to meet my new colleagues for the first time. Having just moved to the southern US, I’d been getting used to the unbearable humidity and its effects on my excessive armpit sweating. Luckily (I thought), the sun wasn’t out and the temps dropped below 80, so maybe my sweat glands wouldn’t take center stage! Well...I arrived to meet my colleagues looking like a wet bass in business clothes. Thank goodness I arrived 15 minutes early, which brings me to the first outrageous thing people try to avoid armpit sweating. 

    1. The Hand Dryer 

    I anxiously scurried to the nearest bathroom, declothed, and put the hand dryer to good use on my shirt stains and sweat stains. More outrageously, I awkwardly hovered my sweaty extremities (including my sweaty underarms) over the hand dryer. Thankfully, I reapplied my antiperspirant and headed out to meet my colleagues a decently dry man. That was the day I knew I really needed clinical strength antiperspirant for my excessive armpit sweating (and a car). 


    1. Pantyliners


    Many with excessive underarm sweating already know that underarm pads are one way to help with sweating armpits. But if you find yourself sans pad and worried about your excessive armpit sweating, you would not be the first person to try pantyliners. That’s right, pantyliners have been used in a pinch to help keep sweat stains at bay. 

    1. Give a shirt

    In 2019, a reddit user posted that to combat his excessive armpit sweating, he skipped the typical clothing and made his own shirt. He posted asking others to try out his creation and received over 250 replies! By creating and giving others shirts, this innovative reddit user designed his way into the hearts of many with smelly armpits. 

    1. Get inked

    If you’ve been debating whether to get a tasteful tattoo and you have hyperhidrosis, this finding may just help you make your decision. A 2017 study found that getting inked helped reduce sweat [1]! Now, I don’t recommend choosing a tattoo as a means of treatment for excessive armpit sweating (and maybe don’t tattoo your armpit), but the connection is a fun little fact nonetheless. 

    1. Become a naked mole rat

    If you can’t pull the trigger on an armpit tattoo, another method some people have tried is hair removal. Yes, like Steve Carrell (who actually has hyperhidrosis himself) in the hit movie 40-year Old Virgin, removing hair can help reduce sweat buildup for you too. Many likely already “naturally” lose hair thanks to some sweat prevention products, but more natural hair removal may just be the trick to solving excessive sweating

    1. Armpit art

    Even though we know most sweaty armpit causes, like too much caffeine or spicy foods, it’s no fun to cut these out completely. A more outrageous approach to excessive underarm sweating is actually turning sweating armpits into art. Multiple users of the Reddit community r/Hyperhidrosis have created shirts, sweatshirts, and other clothing that includes beautiful tie-dye in the armpits. Creative, fun, and beautiful, and even better when combined with sweat prevention like antiperspirant or carpe underarm

    1. Vinegar your armpit

    You may already know how to get rid of pit stains with vinegar, but there are other interesting ways it can help with excessive armpit sweating. Splashing vinegar on your sweaty underarms  is one method many recommend. Those that swear by this method also recommend using deodorant or antiperspirant, too. 

    While we don’t know how this was discovered, I like to think someone accidentally splashed vinegar on their pits hundreds of years ago and voila! Too bad the first person to splash his pits with vinegar didn’t also have access to the best antiperspirant for his excessive armpit sweating. 

    1. Baking soda your sweaty underarms

    If you find deodorant or antiperspirant irritating, one creative way to help alleviate your excessive underarm sweating is baking soda. Many crafty people with hyperhidrosis swear that not only can baking soda help reduce sweat, but it can also help alleviate pesky underarm smell with some of the best sweat prevention. 

    1. Restart the plaid fad

    Black t-shirt, black sweatshirt, black button down, black tank top. If this sounds like your closet, you’re clearly an expert on the hyperhidrosis wardrobe. But if you want some variety as you fight excessive armpit sweating, add some plaid, a trick many with hyperhidrosis use that you may not know. Hey, you just may be starting the resurgence of the plaid fad, and at worst, you’ll add some fun, lumberjack variety to your dark closet. 


    Sources: 

    [1] Luetkemeier, M. J., Hanisko, J. M., & Aho, K. M. (2017). Skin Tattoos Alter Sweat Rate and Na+ Concentration. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 49(7), 1432–1436. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001244
    Lifestyle

    An Introduction to Epidermolysis Bullosa

    By Daniel McCarthy /

    Epidermolysis Bullosa

    General Overview

    Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) refers to a group of diseases most associated with blistering due to fragile skin. The four main types of EB are: epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS), dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB), junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB), and Kindler [1]. To care for the symptoms of EB, researchers have identified many therapies, but there is currently no cure. Prevention has also proven evasive as “most types of epidermolysis are inherited”. Ultimately, diagnosis and treatment form the foundation for EB management. 

    Symptoms and Diagnosis

    Symptoms

    There are a range of symptoms associated with EB. The Mayo Clinic lists these symptoms as one, or many, of the following:  

    • Fragile skin that blisters easily, especially on the hands and feet
    • Nails that are thick or don't form
    • Blisters inside the mouth and throat
    • Thickened skin on the palms and soles of the feet
    • Scalp blistering, scarring and hair loss (scarring alopecia)
    • Thin-appearing skin (atrophic scarring)
    • Tiny white skin bumps or pimples (milia)
    • Dental problems, such as tooth decay from poorly formed enamel
    • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
    • Itchy, painful skin

    Diagnosis

    Diagnosis of EB can occur when a medical professional identifies or is made aware of one or many of the above symptoms. Also, because EB is often genetic, a medical professional may preemptively test for this skin condition. To confirm whether a patient has EB, a medical professional will most often conduct a skin biopsy, genetic testing via a blood sample, or even prenatal testing. Early diagnosis of EB can be especially important for infants who may suffer from extreme pain and potentially fatal blistering, which requires immediate, proper care [2]. In general, appropriately caring for EB symptoms is crucial for patient health and wellbeing. 

    Available Treatments

    To properly manage EB symptoms, medical professionals emphasize proper skin protection and wound care by changing bandages often and using non-adhesive bandages to avoid further damage. If the skin does become infected (e.g. infected blisters), doctors will prescribe oral or topical antibiotics. 

    If effects on the skin or air pathways are more severe, there may be long-term effects, such as motion limitations to affected areas or even scarring of the esophagus. Occupational and physical therapy can help improve range of motion issues, while surgery may be needed in the most severe cases. 

    Current treatments detailed above outline EB management, but there is hope for improved outcomes based on current research. Specifically, clinical trials focused on “stem cell transplantation, protein replacements, gene therapies, and various wound care therapies show progress”. Until more treatments are found, EB is best managed through a combination of these existing patient-specific symptom treatments. 

    Sources

     

    1. The Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America. (n.d.). About EB. Retrieved December 9, 2020, from https://www.debra.org/about-eb/
    2. Boesen, M. L., Bygum, A., Hertz, J. M., & Zachariassen, G. (2016). Newborn with severe epidermolysis bullosa: to treat or not to treat?. BMJ case reports, 2016, bcr2016214727. https://doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2016-214727

     

    Antiperspirant

    8 Random & Interesting Facts about Excessive Armpit Sweating

    By Daniel McCarthy /

    8 Random & Interesting Facts about Excessive Armpit Sweating

    Our worries about shirt stains, sweaty underarms, and smelly armpits may dominate how we think about excessive armpit sweating. Hey, we may even avoid thinking about these all together. But guess what? There are some random and interesting facts that just may change how you think about excessive underarm sweating! Let’s take a look: 

    Fact number 1: Sweat by itself ISN’T smelly

    Sweat is often associated with smelliness. But by itself, it doesn’t smell AT ALL. The reason sweat can smell (in places like your armpit) isn’t really about sweat. It’s about the sweat glands (and hair)! Apocrine glands are the biggest of sweat-producing glands and are usually located near hair. It’s this combo that leads to smelly armpits.

    Fact number 2: Excessive armpit sweating is as old as cavemen

    Hang with me here. Excessive underarm sweating is connected to the fight-or-flight response ingrained in even the most ancient of human predecessors. This excessive armpit sweating response has helped humans survive for millenia. And yep, it means our cavemen ancestors likely had sweating armpits, too. Even though they didn’t have to worry about shirt stains like us, we have the benefit of products like carpe underarm and antiperspirant in general to help with our excessive armpit sweating.  

    Fact number 3: Famous people worry about excessive armpit sweating too

    Michael Gary Scott, fearless and deliciously cringeworthy leader of Dunder Mifflin Scranton on the show The Office, is perfectly played by actor Steve Carell. Carell seemed to play the role with such ease, comfort, and confidence that nobody would ever know he was worried about excessive underarm sweating due to his hyperhidrosis. Co-star Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute on the show) even pointed out that the set temperature was a cool 64 degrees to keep Carell’s sweaty underarms from becoming the focus of the scene. 

    Even though Carell’s excessive armpit sweating wasn’t part of the show, I like to think Michael’s approach to sweat stains could be summed up by his famous line:  “I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.” 

    Fact number 4: Other celebrities combat hyperhidrosis too

    Steve Carell is not the only notable person looking for the best sweat prevention. As a longtime vampire and real-life human with hyperhidrosis, Robert Pattinson is another actor who combats hyperhidrosis (and werewolves) on the regular. 

    Like Pattinson and Carell, Halle Berry also has hyperhidrosis. Famously, Berry confidently showed her sweat stains on the Ellen Show back in 2010. So when you’re feeling a little self-conscious about your own excessive underarm sweating, remember you too can confidently move through your day like Berry barring her pits for the world. 

    Fact number 5: Ventilation over here please!

    If you’re still worried about how to get rid of pit stains, some ventilation could provide a brief respite. Because we sometimes get pesky pit stains, it can feel like our excessive underarm sweating is due to our pits proclivity to produce the most amount of sweat. Yet, this annoying issue is more commonly attributed to a lack of ventilation, although sweaty armpit causes cannot be narrowed to one thing. Still, a little ventilation and clinical strength antiperspirant can go a long way in dealing with pesky pit stains and excessive armpit sweating. 

    Fact number 6: An underappreciated aspect of a non-meat diet

    Sometimes even the best antiperspirant and deodorant may not feel like enough to help with excessive armpit sweating and underarm smell. That’s okay though because there are other interesting ways to approach this issue. A 2006 study showed that women found mens’ armpit odor “more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense” when these men ate a non-meat diet [1]. If you haven’t already thought about eating less meat, the improved aroma of your pits (and the kitchen) may be another reason to eat a non-meat diet. 

    Fact number 7: Fashion matters

    Choosing clothes is a fashion statement for many. And while fashion may matter more to some than others, there’s one interesting reason we can all get behind to choose our clothes. Our clothing choices can help deal with excessive underarm sweating. That’s right, there are clothes, materials, styles, and pads that all can help with excessive armpit sweating as well as excessive sweating and shirt stains in general. 

    Fact number 8: You aren’t alone

    An estimated 2-3% of the US population suffers from axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating). Even though this percentage may seem small, 3% of the US population is right around 10 million people. That’s like all of NYC combating excessive armpit sweating at the same time. It can be easy to feel isolated in dealing with hyperhidrosis, but there’s some comfort in knowing many others are dealing with the same worries. 

    Sources

     

    1. Havlicek, J., & Lenochova, P. (2006). The Effect of Meat Consumption on Body Odor Attractiveness. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/chemse/article/31/8/747/364338
    Antiperspirant

    7 Effective Tips to Stop Sweaty Hands

    By Daniel McCarthy /

    7 Effective Tips to Stop Sweaty Hands 

    Not sure how to stop sweaty hands and excessive sweating? You aren’t alone! Whether you’re working from home, gaming, or just trying to get your phone to recognize your thumbprint, it can get pretty dang annoying to constantly worry about how to stop having sweaty hands. In this article, we’ll cover 7 effective ways to help you stop sweaty hands:

      1. Reduce your stress
      2. Try (the right) antiperspirant
      3. Iontophoresis
      4. Check with your doctor about underlying conditions
      5. Medications
      6. Give a Botox shot 
      7. Take a more surgical approach

    1.  Reduce your stress 

    This one is often easier said than done - but it can help a lot. Research has shown that higher levels of anxiety cause sweat glands to become more active [1]. This is particularly true for hand sweating. 

    Figuring out how to stop sweaty hands looks different for each person, but there are some relaxing activities that can either prevent sweat or help control it once it’s begun. Some possible activities to reduce your stress include listening to your favorite music, getting enough sleep, and exercising daily. Other helpful techniques include deep breathing and stretching. Everyone is different, so try some of these other tips to find what works best for you. 

    2. Try (the right) antiperspirant

    You’re relaxed, but maybe you’re still trying to work out how to stop having sweaty hands? While reducing stress is a beneficial home remedy, it should be combined with other easy-to-use remedies. Some home remedies, such as baking soda or apple cider vinegar, may help with hyperhidrosis, but the next best step is over-the-counter antiperspirant

    Antiperspirants are great at preventing clam hands and often work better than deodorants to stop excessive sweating. Antiperspirants for hands are especially important in how to stop sweaty hands. Others prefer anti sweat wipes. Finding the right hand antiperspirant is an important step to combat sweaty hands. 

    3. Iontophoresis

      Hate needles? Need to figure out how to stop sweaty hands? Iontophoresis may be for you. This method uses mild electrical currents to treat your hands while they’re submerged in water. And although iontophoresis sessions may be performed at a doctor’s office, some people choose to purchase their own iontophoresis machines for at-home treatment [2].  

      While this method can be a bit harder on the wallet, if you can pay upfront for a machine, you may save by avoiding paying for every visit to the doctors. However, if you don’t see progress after a few weeks, talk to your doctor to discuss how to stop your sweaty hands from affecting your daily life. 

      4. Check with your doctor about underlying conditions

      It can be easy to write off sweaty hands as a reaction to anxiety or nervousness. But sometimes sweaty hands can be caused by underlying conditions. These conditions might include diabetes, low blood sugar, overactive thyroid, infections, and other issues. To learn more on how to stop sweaty hands that may be connected to underlying conditions, it is best to talk to a medical professional about your hyperhidrosis needs. 

      5. Medications

      In addition to talking about your underlying conditions, a medical professional may also suggest a prescription to help with sweaty hands. More specifically, your dermatologist may prescribe an oral medication for hyperhidrosis like a series of pills known as anticholinergics, which help your body produce less sweat. Like pills, topical creams may also be prescribed to help reduce excessive sweating. These creams are made up of solutions that will decrease the amount of sweat released, including hand sweat. If medications don’t cut it for you, you may need to take one of the two steps below. 

      6. Give botox a shot

        You may be thinking, I’m not sure how to stop sweaty hands, so why are you recommending botox? While many may not associate botox with hyperhidrosis, it can significantly reduce excessive sweating, including in your hands [3] . While botox may solve how to stop having sweaty hands, this method can cause temporary pain or weakness of the hands, so it is crucial that you consult a medical professional for appropriate botox delivery. 

        7. Take a more surgical approach. This one is only for serious sweaters who have tried everything else.

        If you can’t figure out how to stop having sweaty hands after trying these first six tips, you might consider surgical treatment for primary focal hyperhidrosis. While botox is a less invasive surgery, significantly more invasive procedures include endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy​ or an endoscopic lumbar sympathectomy. These names may be hard to pronounce, but these surgeries can provide significant relief for people with certain kinds of severe hyperhidrosis. Of course, try less invasive options first, and talk to a medical professional before deciding to take a more surgical approach. 

        There may be no one-size-fits-all solution for how to stop sweaty hands, but hopefully one of, or a combo of these tips help you enjoy life a bit more and worry about sweat a bit less. 

        Sources

        1. Huddle, J. R. (2014). Hyperhidrosis: Causes, Treatment Options and Outcomes. New York, NY: Nova Science.
        2. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Amsterdam: Elsevier Pub. Co., 2014. Retrieved from <a href=https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0>https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0</a>
        3. Lakraj, A. A., Moghimi, N., & Jabbari, B. (2013). Hyperhidrosis: anatomy, pathophysiology and treatment with emphasis on the role of botulinum toxins. Toxins, 5(4), 821–840. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins5040821
        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 characterized by 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. However, if you have hyperhidrosis, you’ll start sweating even when your body isn’t overheating.[1] Sweating that has no apparent cause is known to doctors as diaphoresis.[2]

        If you have hyperhidrosis, you can experience sweating on several parts of the body, including in the hands, underarms, face, scalp, and feet. Some people even experience excessive groin sweat and sweating under the breasts. The type of hyperhidrosis you have will determine whether you experience sweating all over your body or if it is just in specific areas. Some people with hyperhidrosis sweat in several different areas simultaneously, while others only experience excessive sweating at one location - it is a highly individualized condition. 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, compared to what they would normally be.[1]

        What Are the Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis?

        If you’re wondering how to tell whether you have hyperhidrosis , here is a checklist of symptoms for you to review.

        • Noticeable sweat:Even when you’re sitting down and taking it easy, you’ll notice your clothes are wet. On your bare skin, you’ll often see beads of sweat.
        • You leave a trail in your wake:You might not just see sweat on your clothes and skin. You might be transferring it to everything you touch, including door knobs, keyboards, and papers that you touch.
        • Your skin is white and peeling:You might notice white and peeling skin from the constant moisture.
        • You have skin infections:Skin infections can happen to people who don’t have hyperhidrosis. However, if you have repeated skin infections due to constant moisture, like athlete’s foot, you might suspect hyperhidrosis.[1]

        Different dermatologists characterize hyperhidrosis in various ways. What’s important is the fact that if you are uncomfortable with the level of sweat that your body produces (wherever it’s being produced), there are solutions that are available. You have access to over-the-counter topical treatments, prescription options, and medical procedures that can help. 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]

        Now that we’ve answered the question “what is hyperhidrosis?”, It’s important to understand the different types of hyperhidrosis. The approaches used to understand and treat hyperhidrosis are very different depending on the type you have.

        The Two Main Types of Hyperhidrosis

        There are two main types of hyperhidrosis. There are a few other types that are much less common, but the vast majority of people will either have primary focal hyperhidrosis or secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. Let’s look at each type of hyperhidrosis and what they entail.

        Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

        Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis (PFH) is by far the most common type, affecting up to 90 percent of people who have hyperhidrosis. The cause is not well understood, but it is thought to have a genetic component.[3]

        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. For example, if someone has one sweaty hand it is likely their other hand will also be sweaty. Additionally, the sweat will usually occur in more than one area — one common problem with PFH is that the sweating occurs on hands and feet simultaneously. It can also affect other body parts individually or simultaneously, it just depends on a person’s specific situation.[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 has a genetic component and 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. Unfortunately, it may be a little harder to get rid of than an uninvited guest.[3]

        You might suddenly wonder why you’ve been so sweaty lately. And you’d be right to wonder, because this type of hyperhidrosis can point to an underlying problem.

        When someone has secondary hyperhidrosis the biggest problem isn’t the hyperhidrosis – it’s the disease or condition that might be causing it. That’s why it’s known as secondary hyperhidrosis. The true cause may be a medical condition and the symptom of that condition is hyperhidrosis.[3]

        Before you panic that you’re suffering from a mysterious disease, keep in mind 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, but you CAN kick this guest off your porch.[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 Impact of Hyperhidrosis

        While hyperhidrosis isn’t particularly dangerous physically, it can be embarrassing for those who suffer from it. It won’t just give you clammy skin – the sweat can literally drip off. That can cause a great deal of anxiety for those who experience it.[3]

        Shaking hands can become a nightmare because you may be so self-conscious about how sweaty your palms are. Your socks can become wet even if you don’t do any exercise. It can make basic human experiences extremely stressful.

        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. One study done in the US found that 75% of respondents reported that hyperhidrosis negatively impacted their social, emotional, and mental health.[4] That’s a lot of people who are suffering! Due to these issues, hyperhidrosis and anxiety often go hand in hand.[3] Many people find it helpful to utilize anxiety reduction methods that are known to lessen excessive sweating.

        Hyperhidrosis is hard for adults to deal with, so it is especially important to find help for kids with hyperhidrosis.

        Some people refer to hyperhidrosis as a silent handicap because of the impact it has upon the lives of those who live with it. It can deeply impact their confidence and hyperhidrosis can even keep people from doing the things they love most.[5]

        Is Hyperhidrosis Common?

        It is thought that about 3% of the US population struggles with hyperhidrosis. In other countries the percentage of the population that has it is even higher.[3] Other sources have stated that up to 5% of the population might even have it![6] This means that hyperhidrosis is a very common issue.

        While most doctor’s offices are familiar with managing hyperhidrosis, they generally don’t see a lot of patients who suffer from it. However, 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]

        Those with family members who have this ailment are more likely to get it – making it an inherited condition. If you have a family member teased for their sweaty hands constantly, there could be a chance they have hyperhidrosis. [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
        5. 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

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