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Sweating is your body's mechanism to cool itself. In most circumstances, it's both natural and healthy. But some people experience frequent or constant excessive sweating — called hyperhidrosis (hi-pur-hi-DRO-sis). Hyperhidrosis is the secretion of sweat in amounts greater than needed to cool the body. Hyperhidrosis usually affects the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and underarms. Besides disrupting normal daily activities, hyperhidrosis can cause social anxiety or embarrassment. Fortunately, several options are available to treat hyperhidrosis. In severe cases, surgical procedures can be very effective at stopping sweat.
Alternative Names of Hyperhidrosis are: Excessive Sweating.
Complications of Hyperhidrosis
Complications of hyperhidrosis include:
Causes of Hyperhidrosis
The cause of hyperhidrosis stems from your body's temperature regulation system, specifically your sweat glands. Your skin has two types of sweat glands: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. Eccrine glands occur over most of your body and open directly onto the surface of the skin. Apocrine glands develop in areas abundant in hair follicles, such as on your scalp, armpits and groin. When your body temperature rises, your autonomic nervous system stimulates these glands to secrete fluid onto the surface of your skin, where it cools your body as it evaporates. This fluid (perspiration) is composed mainly of water and salt (sodium chloride) and contains trace amounts of other electrolytes — substances that help regulate the balance of fluids in your body — as well as substances such as urea.
The cause of hyperhidrosis depends on the type:
Signs & Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis
Although when, where and how much you sweat varies widely, most people sweat when they exercise or exert themselves, are in a hot environment, or are nervous, anxious or under stress. The excessive sweating experienced with hyperhidrosis far exceeds such normal sweating.
Signs and symptoms of hyperhidrosis include:
Hyperhidrosis is defined as sweating that disrupts your normal activities. Episodes usually occur at least once a week without an obvious reason. For some people, hyperhidrosis interferes with their social life. People may have trouble working or enjoying recreational activities with constantly wet hands — or become withdrawn due to self-consciousness about shaking hands with others, having stained shirts or potential body odor.
Diagnosis of Hyperhidrosis
Treatments of Hyperhidrosis
Your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments for hyperhidrosis:
When to seek Medical Advice
See your doctor if:
Seek immediate medical attention for a cold sweat, especially if you have symptoms of lightheadedness or chest and stomach pains. A cold sweat is usually your body's response to a serious illness, including cardiac disease, anxiety or severe pain.
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