An estimated 16.5 million people in the U.S. alone struggle with hyperhidrosis aka “excessive sweating.” The condition, marked by heavy sweating of the hands, feet, underarms, or all three, can significantly impair one’s quality life. From a handshake to a warm embrace, simple moments most take for granted are often filled with fear and anxiety for people with hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis can be diagnosed through several tests
Hyperhidrosis can be segmented into two main categories: primary focal and secondary generalized. These categories help physicians and you, as the patient, better understand the causes while providing the best possible treatments tailored to your needs.
Primary focal hyperhidrosis is not caused by another medical condition nor is a side effect of medications. The excessive sweating itself is the medical condition. The excessive sweating is specific to only individual areas of the body and is characterized as being symmetrical, meaning that it affects both sides of your body in the same way (both feet, both hands, both underarms, etc.). Some people may experience the excessive sweating on multiple focal areas such as both hands and feet (palmoplantar hyperhidrosis).
Sweaty head or face
Sweaty hands and feet
The symptoms of primary focal hyperhidrosis often begin during childhood or adolescence and is commonly based upon genetics. Interesting enough, most people don’t experience excessive sweating while sleeping.
The intensity of the symptoms varies from person to person.
- Perspiration can be anywhere from clammy hands and feet to severe dripping and everywhere in between
- The temperature of the focal area may differ from the other parts of the body
- Peeling of the skin may also be present
- Episodes of profuse sweating may be followed by periods of extreme dryness
Several treatment options can alleviate the symptoms of primary focal hyperhidrosis.
- Anticholinergic Drugs
This type of excessive sweating is caused by another medical condition or is a side effect of an existing medical condition. People with secondary hyperhidrosis experience sweating on larger areas of the body and may affect people while sleeping. Symptoms typically begin during adulthood, after beginning a new medication or after the onset of a different medical condition.