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Excessive sweating is a medical condition in which a person sweats much more than needed. The medical name of this condition is hyperhidrosis.
Sweating - excessive; Perspiration - excessive; Diaphoresis; Hyperhydrosis
Sweating helps the body stay cool. Most people may sweat more when:
Excessive or extreme sweating can occur without triggers or other cause. This is called primary hyperhidrosis.
Increased sweating may also be the result of another medical condition. Common conditions include:
Personality problems or phobias do not seem to be a cause of excessive sweating.
Most people with primary hyperhidrosis sweat from only one or two areas of the body:
The main symptom of hyperhidrosis is wetness. Sweating can be so heavy that:
Many people with this condition feel embarrassment, stress, and worry, which affect their social and work lives.
Sweating caused by other medical problems:
Visible signs of sweating may be noted during a doctor's visit. Tests may also be used to diagnose excessive sweating, including:
It may help to avoid certain triggers, such as:
Antiperspirants: Excessive sweating may be controlled with strong anti-perspirants, which plug the sweat ducts:
Wear sandals if you can. When you wear shoes:
Choose socks that draw (or wick) moisture away from the skin. Cotton socks do not do this. Often, the packaging will say whether socks wick moisture away skin. Wash and dry your socks before wearing them again.
Antiperspirants can also be used on your feet. Apply before bed and wash it off in the morning. After doing this for three or four nights in a row, use it on your feet one time a week. Sprays may work better on your feet.
Medication: Certain medicines may prevent excessive sweating:
Iontophoresis: This is a simple office procedure that uses electricity to temporarily turn off the sweat gland. It works best for sweating of the hands and feet.
Botox: Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) is used to treat severe underarm sweating.
Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS): This is a procedure that is recommended for severe cases when other treatments do not work:
Underarm surgery: This is surgery to remove the sweat glands in the armpits. Methods used include laser, curettage (scraping), excision (cutting), or liposuction. These procedures are done using local anesthesia.
International Hyperhidrosis Society | www.sweathelp.org
With treatment, hyperhidrosis can be managed. Your doctor can discuss treatment options with you.
Call your health care provider if you have:
Hamm H. Impact of hyperhidrosis on quality of life and its assessment. Dermatol Clin. 2014;32:467-476. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25152339.
Miller JL. Diseases of the eccrine and apocrine sweat glands. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 39.
Reisfeld R, Berliner KI. Evidence-based review of the nonsurgical management of hyperhidrosis. Thorac Surg Clin. 2008:18:157-66. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18557589.
Review Date: 5/21/2013
Reviewed By: Diane M. Horowitz, MD, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, Great Neck, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team. Editorial update: 1/22/2015.
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