Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating. Sweating is the body’s natural way to cool down and maintain a steady, healthy temperature, and sweating in hot environments, during or after physical activity, or even as a result of a stress-related reaction is not uncommon. But when perspiration is excessive and chronic, it can be embarrassing and disruptive, interfering with normal activities and socialization. In hyperhidrosis, excessive perspiration is produced even when temperatures are cool, and usually occurs in the armpits, hands, and feet without any apparent trigger. Hyperhidrosis can cause clothing to become soaked with perspiration, and it can also cause physical discomfort and emotional anxiety and stress.
Sometimes, hyperhidrosis can be caused by an underlying medical condition like:
spinal cord injury
Hyperhidrosis can also be caused by certain medications. When hyperhidrosis occurs as a result of an underlying condition or medication, it’s called secondary hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis is not related to another medical condition, and it can occur even without an identifiable trigger when the nerves that stimulate sweat gland production are overactive. About 3 percent of the U.S. population suffers from primary hyperhidrosis, and people with a family history of hyperhidrosis are more likely to develop the condition themselves.
In people with secondary hyperhidrosis, the first step in treatment is to address the underlying medical condition to determine if a change in treatment results in a decrease in sweat production. When these steps are ineffective or in people with primary hyperhidrosis, treatment options include:
prescription antiperspirants for underarm sweating
medication designed to target sweat glands and slow production of perspiration
iontophoresis which uses an electronic pulse to deactivate glands
BOTOX® injections to block the nerve signals that trigger sweat production so glands aren’t stimulated
Patients with hyperhidrosis require ongoing treatment customized for their specific needs to manage symptoms and keep sweating under control.