Sweating is a natural process that maintains the body at a healthy temperature. For some people however, the sweat glands release an excessive amount of sweat that can seriously affect their quality of life. Sweating in excess of what is necessary to cool the body is a medical condition known as hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis is not life-threatening, however profuse sweating can seriously impact a person’s self-confidence, clothing choices, personal relationships, and career. Sweaty hands can be particularly bothersome.There are two types of hyperhidrosis:
- Primary Hyperhidrosis affects specific areas of the body such as the armpits, hands, feet, and head/face, and typically begins in childhood or adolescence. Although the exact cause is unknown, in primary hyperhidrosis the nerves that control the sweat glands are overactive, causing one to sweat more than they need to.
- Secondary Hyperhidrosis is caused by other factors including diabetes, menopause, nerve damage, or medication, and typically begins in adulthood. Those with this type of hyperhidrosis experience sweating in larger or more generalized areas of the body.
Treatments for hyperhidrosis include medications, surgery, topical treatments and focal injections with Botox®. Secondary hyperhidrosis is best treated by addressing the underlying cause of the condition.