If a short walk down the block leaves you dripping in sweat, you may be suffering from hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating.
The condition can be a sign of a more serious medical issue, but most cases are harmless. But what causes this condition, and can be it be treated?
What is Hyperhidrosis?
It’s not uncommon for anyone to sweat while exercising or walking out on a hot day. But true cases of excess sweating go well beyond the body’s natural need to cool off.
People with hyperhidrosis sweat excessively for no apparent reason.
There are a few different types of hyperhidrosis:
- Localized: Localized hyperhidrosis does not cause illness and only affects one part of the body, such as the head, groin, underarms, feet or hands. Symptoms usually affect each side of the body equally. Localized hyperhidrosis can be an inconvenience for some, but others are so embarrassed by the condition that it affects their social life.
- Generalized: A less-common form of the condition, generalized hyperhidrosis causes the entire body to sweat and is a more serious condition. Typically, this form is caused by an underlying medical condition.
The Causes of Excess Sweating
What causes excess sweating? Both forms of the condition have different causes.
In the case of localized hyperhidrosis, there is usually no cause for the condition. But for generalized, or secondary, hyperhidrosis, there is usually an underlying medical issue that’s causing the sweating.
These conditions may include:
- Thyroid issues
- Parkinson’s disease
- Heart failure
Many people wonder if anxiety can cause excess sweating, but doctors say no. Anxiety may make you sweat more than usual, but it generally does not cause hyperhidrosis.
Is Hyperhidrosis Treatable?
There is no cure for hyperhidrosis, but it can be treated or managed.
The localized version of the condition can be treated or managed using:
- Prescription Antiperspirants.
- Medication. There are drugs that can stop the sweat glands from working properly.
- Iontophoresis, a treatment that uses gentle electrical impulses to disable the sweat glands temporarily.
- Surgery, which involves cutting the nerve in the chest that causes excessive sweating. The sweat glands can also be removed surgically.
- Botox injections can stop the nerves from causing excessive sweating.
Generalized hyperhidrosis can also be treated, but the treatment will depend on the condition causing it.
- If the thyroid is the issue, medication can be used for treatment or surgery. Treating the condition may stop the excess sweating.
- If diabetes is the issue, keeping glucose levels under control can help stop the excessive sweating.
- If a medication is causing the hyperhidrosis, switching to a new medication may help.
If the hyperhidrosis is caused by a condition that cannot be cured or by a medication that you absolutely must take, then you can use prescription antiperspirants or oral drugs to manage the symptoms.
If you suspect that you have hyperhidrosis, see your doctor right away. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to serious health issues later on if the condition is caused by an untreated underlying medical condition.