This is a medical condition that causes excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis can cause people to feel extremely anxious and embarrassed. Students often avoid raising their hand during class. Many teens never date. Adults may hide the sweat stains by wearing layers of clothing or changing frequently throughout the day.
Yes, it’s necessary to sweat. Sweating cools the body, which prevents us from overheating. People who have hyperhidrosis, however, sweat when the body does not need cooling.
This excessive sweating can interfere with everyday activities. Hands can be so sweaty that it becomes difficult to turn a doorknob or use a computer. Sweat from the underarms often soaks through clothes, causing obvious sweat marks. Because the skin is often wet, skin infections can develop. If you have this medical condition, you may notice:
- Visible sweating: When you are not exerting yourself, do you often see beads of sweat on your skin or have sweat-soaked clothing? Do you sweat when you’re sitting?
- Sweating interferes with everyday activities: Does sweating cause difficulty holding a pen, walking, or turning a doorknob? Does sweat drip heavily on to your papers or computer?
- Skin turns soft, white, and peels in certain areas: Does your skin stay wet for long periods?
- Skin infections: Do you get frequent skin infections on the parts of your body that sweat heavily? Athlete’s foot and jock itch are common skin infections.
Many people who have hyperhidrosis sweat from one or two areas of the body. Most often, they sweat from their palms, feet, underarms, or head. While the rest of the body remains dry, one or two areas may drip with sweat.
It is difficult to say how many people have excessive sweating. Many people never see a doctor. Some are too embarrassed to talk with a doctor. Others do not realize that this is a treatable medical condition.
We know that some people are more likely to get hyperhidrosis. Researchers have learned that most people have one of the following:
- Family member who sweats excessively
- Medical condition that causes the sweating
- Medicine or food supplement that they take, which can cause excessive sweating
People of all races get hyperhidrosis. The excessive sweating can begin at any age. For many people, it begins when they are a child or teen. Dermatologists believe that more children and adolescents have this condition than are diagnosed.
Whether you live in a cold climate or a warm one, you can have hyperhidrosis.
Dermatologists continue to study what causes this condition. They also continue improve treatments.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis: Primary Focal and Secondary.
Primary focal hyperhidrosis
In medical terminology, the word “primary” means that the cause is not another medical condition. “Focal” means that the excessive sweating affects one or a few areas of the body. Most commonly the underarms, hands and/or feet, and forehead are affected, and usually begins when the person is a child or adolescent. Most people who have this type are otherwise healthy. Sweating may begin soon after the person wakes up, but the person usually does not notice damp sheets or wet clothing unless the room is hot. It typically happens at least once a week, but for many people, it occurs much more often
In medical terminology, “secondary” means that the excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) has an underlying cause. The cause could be a medical condition or side effect of taking a medicine or food supplement. This type of sweating usually begins when the person is an adult. It also may begin after an accident or frostbite. Many medicines also can cause this type of hyperhidrosis.
Medical conditions that can cause excessive sweating include Diabetes, Frostbite, Gout, Injury (such as head trauma caused by an accident) Menopause, Obesity, Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), or a tumor. If a person has this type of hyperhidrosis, the person may notice the entire body sweats excessively (Sometimes, only parts of the body sweat) and/or Sweating occurs during sleeping. If you sweat excessively while asleep, it is important to see a dermatologist to learn why this happens.
If excessive sweating interferes with your life, everyday activities, causing embarrassment and/or leading to skin infections speak with a provider at our clinic to learn additional information about this condition, receive a proper diagnosis, and start treatment.