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Causes of Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis Basics
Types of Hyperhidrosis
The Basics of Diaphoresis
Written by Katie Crissman
October 01 2020

You’re at the doctor and you mention that you’ve been experiencing excessive sweating - then he suggests the possibility of diaphoresis. If you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering: what is diaphoresis? Keep on reading!

What Is Diaphoresis?

There are specific reasons why humans sweat, but sometimes sweating occurs when it shouldn't. Diaphoresis is the word doctors use to define excessive sweating that has no apparent cause. The exact diaphoresis definition is this: sweating to an unusual degree as a symptom of a disease or as a side effect of a drug.[1] Diaphoresis can manifest any time a person has an underlying issue that causes them to sweat excessively. Another term you’ll hear to describe diaphoresis is secondary generalized hyperhidrosis.[2]

There are two primary kinds of hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating – primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary generalized hyperhidrosis.[1] If you think you may be suffering from this condition it is wise to learn more about hyperhidrosis and speak with a doctor about your concerns. There are other types of hyperhidrosis, like gustatory sweating and compensatory sweating, that are caused by trauma or as a side effect of a surgery. It is important to differentiate between these kinds of hyperhidrosis as the treatments for each type are different. As mentioned previously, diaphoresis is almost exclusively used to describe secondary generalized hyperhidrosis.[2]

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

Even though primary focal hyperhidrosis (PFH) is not technically the same as diaphoresis, or secondary generalized hyperhidrosis, it is worth understanding so that you know the difference between the two conditions. Hyperhidrosis is actually pretty common, and primary focal hyperhidrosis is the most common type. Up to 90% of all hyperhidrosis cases are the primary type. If you have PFH, you’ll notice an onset during childhood or adolescence. It is believed to be caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system which in turn causes overactive sweat glands[2]

Primary focal hyperhidrosis affects specific areas of the body like the hands, feet, underarms, face, or head. Most of the time, people with this type of hyperhidrosis will have more than one focal area. Those with sweaty palms, for instance, will usually have sweaty feet as well. There are specific treatments for sweaty hands and sweaty feet available.[2]

While embarrassing and damaging to a person’s confidence, primary hyperhidrosis is not bad for a person's physical health. [2] There are many ways to manage your sweat and prevent this type of hyperhidrosis from slowing you down.

Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis

Unlike primary hyperhidrosis, the secondary kind, or diaphoresis, tends to show up during a person’s adult years, usually after the age of 25. You might suddenly notice you’re super sweaty on a regular basis when you’ve never had that problem before. As with primary hyperhidrosis, this sweatiness has nothing to do with the temperature around you or any other external factor.[2]

If you are suffering from secondary hyperhidrosis, you should consider making a doctor’s appointment to review any medications you’re on and to look for any underlying reasons why it’s happening. This is because certain common medicines, diseases and conditions can cause secondary hyperhidrosis.[2]

Another symptom of secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is heavy night sweating. Conversely, night sweating is not typically a problem with primary hyperhidrosis. You’ll also notice it’s generalized – it’s not focal or occurring in just one or two primary locations. It’s all over your body.[2]

What Underlying Conditions Could be Causing Diaphoresis?

If you’re worried you might have a disease or condition causing your hyperhidrosis, you likely want to know what some of the possibilities are. There are many medical causes – some common and others rare. Some of the more common causes of diaphoresis include:

For middle-aged women, the most common cause – and the one most often suspected – is menopause. The changing hormones in menopause can bring about diaphoresis.

Due to the fact that menopause is often suspected, women who feel they have other symptoms that aren’t being caused by menopause should fight for additional testing. A doctor could assume the likeliest cause of diaphoresis is menopause and they’d be right. However, that doesn’t mean a woman can’t be going through menopause and another more serious condition at the same time. [3]

How Can a Person Tell If They Have Primary or Secondary Hyperhidrosis?

It is important to know which type of hyperhidrosis you have. If it is the secondary type and you aren’t on any medications, you and your doctor will want to start looking for answers. Some of the conditions that cause diaphoresis are serious. That’s why you need to figure out what’s going on if the doctor determines you have secondary hyperhidrosis instead of primary.

Your doctor should be able to determine which type it is partially because of the information you provide. Tell your doctor about any other symptoms you might be having that could point to an underlying reason for your excessive sweating. For example, if you are experiencing diaphoresis and pallor the causes can be serious, and the more symptoms you have at the same time the more likely a serious problem is to be occurring. Some symptoms may be severe, while others may be barely noticeable. Pay attention to your body and mention every possible symptom to your doctor.[2]

Some of the symptoms that could point to underlying conditions or diseases include:

As mentioned earlier, your age at the onset diaphoresis will be a big clue. Another indicator can be a family history of hyperhidrosis. Those who have a family history of having primary hyperhidrosis are more likely to end up with it as hyperhidrosis is hereditary.[2]

Let’s say a teenage boy goes into a doctor’s office with a recent onset of excessive sweating and there is a family history of hyperhidrosis in his family. The doctor is more likely to suspect primary hyperhidrosis. However, if a middle-aged man who has just developed excessive sweating comes in, the doctor is more likely to suspect secondary hyperhidrosis, a.k.a diaphoresis. That diagnosis will be even likelier if there is significant sweating during sleep and if the sweating is happening all over the body.

If the doctor determines it is secondary rather than primary hyperhidrosis, a further workup is necessary. That may include blood work, imaging tests, urine tests, and any other workups a doctor deems necessary to get to the bottom of the mystery.[4]

The prognosis for diaphoresis depends upon what the cause of the excessive sweat is determined to be. The excessive sweat won’t disappear for the patient until the condition or disease is addressed and treated. There also can’t be treatment until the specific cause is determined.[2]

It may take weeks to determine what is causing a person’s diaphoresis. It is essential to find a cause though, so don’t give up your search. If you believe something is truly off with your body, you may have to keep pressing for an answer.

Check Your Medications

While diseases and underlying medical conditions are one cause of diaphoresis, it’s not the only possibility. Certain medicines can also cause secondary hyperhidrosis. That’s why it’s crucial to tell your doctor about any and all medications or drugs you are taking – whether they are legal or illegal. If your doctor doesn’t have all the necessary information, it will be difficult or even impossible to pinpoint the reason for your diaphoresis.

The list of medications that may cause diaphoresis is a long one. Some of the most common culprits are:

If you are on one or more of these medications, your doctor can do one of two things to determine if it is causing your diaphoresis.

They will either try to wean you off your medication or have you stop it cold turkey. They will only do this if there is a suitable substitution for you to take. Sometimes diaphoresis is not a reason to stop your medication. For example, if you are taking a short course of antibiotics you’ll only be taking them for a short time anyway. You should finish the prescription unless you are experiencing severe side effects as well or if your doctor tells you to quit taking it.

If the doctor doesn’t feel it’s safe for you to come off of your medication and if you’re having any other troubling symptoms, they may also recommend additional testing to rule out any other causes. In some cases, patients can take oral medications for hyperhidrosis to treat the sweating caused by the original medication.[2]

Although it can be expensive and frustrating to take numerous tests and workups to determine the cause of diaphoresis, it’s a good idea to proceed with the investigation anyway. If something were to be seriously wrong, you’d want to know about it now. That way, you’d have a better chance of treating it. You need to know what’s going on with your body, so it’s important to ask your doctor “what is diaphoresis?” and “what is causing it?” when you meet with them.

While diaphoresis can be unpleasant, it is a clue your body gives you to let you know something is off. By paying attention to it, you just might save your own life.

Sources
  1. Diaphoresis. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/diaphoresis
  2. 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
  3. Understanding Diaphoresis. (n.d.). Retrieved from < a href=https://www.healthline.com/health/diaphoresis>https://www.healthline.com/health/diaphoresis
  4. Nordqvist, C. (2017, December 21). Hyperhidrosis: Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/182130.php
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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 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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