What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that causes excessive sweating. Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling itself; so you need to sweat when your body temperature is raised to prevent you from overheating. In hyperhidrosis, the nerves responsible for triggering sweat glands become overactive and signal for more perspiration even when it is not needed. Stress or nervousness makes the problem worse. In some cases, sweat can be so excessive that it soaks through clothing and drips off hands. Hyperhidrosis can cause social anxiety and embarrassment.
Frequently, there is no underlying cause of heavy sweating; this condition is called primary hyperhidrosis. This type usually affects the palms and the soles of feet and sometimes the face. Hyperhidrosis may be hereditary as it is seen in clusters in families.
When the sweating is attributed to an underlying medical condition, it is called secondary hyperhidrosis. This type is more likely to cause excessive sweating all over the body.
Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis
People with the medical condition of hyperhidrosis sweat when the body does not need cooling. Excessive sweating in people with hyperhidrosis usually occurs in the following locations:
- Palms of hands
This excessive amount of sweating can interfere with daily activities, making it difficult to open doorknobs or hold a pen. Sweating in the armpit region can become so profuse that it is recognizable by others, causing embarrassment and anxiety. The constant moisture on the skin can lead to skin infections, so it is recommended that you see a dermatologist to determine whether you have hyperhidrosis.
Causes of Hyperhidrosis
Primary hyperhidrosis has no known cause. However, other conditions that may cause hyperhidrosis are underlying health factors including:
- Menopause hot flashes
- Low blood sugar
- Overactive thyroid gland
- Some types of cancer
- Nervous system disorders
- Infectious disease
Dermatologists estimate that 3% of people in the United States have excessive sweating. Some people are more likely to have hyperhidrosis if:
- A family member sweats excessively.
- A medical condition is present that causes excessive sweating, such as diabetes, gout or some tumors can cause hyperhidrosis.
- Vitamin or food supplements are being taken, which can cause excessive sweating.
It is normal for women approaching menopause to sweat excessively at night or during hot flashes, due to a drop in hormone levels.
Dr. Fisher will work with you to determine the best treatment plan to reduce excessive sweating. In general, the most minimally invasive treatments will be applied first to achieve the results you desire with the least amount of side effects.