What is Hyperhidrosis?


Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition involving excessive sweating. It can significantly impact a person’s daily life and cause emotional distress. There are three common subtypes of hyperhidrosis: axillary (armpit), hands and feet, and generalised.

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    Axillary (armpit) Hyperhidrosis

    Axillary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating in the armpits. It may be triggered by emotional factors, heat, or physical activity. It is believed to result from overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system (the system that automatically controls body temperature, blood pressure etc.) It may have a genetic component as well.
    Treatments for Axillary Hyperhidrosis:

    • Antiperspirants: antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride can be effective
    • Armpit injections: Medicated armpit injections block the nerves that activate sweat glands, providing relief for several months
    • Oral medications: In some cases, oral medications such as anticholinergics may have a role in treatment.
    Axillary (armpit) Hyperhidrosis

    Hyperhidrosis of the Hands & Feet

    Hyperhidrosis of the hands and feet, (“palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis”) often begins during childhood or adolescence and may have a genetic predisposition. Emotional stress and anxiety can worsen the symptoms. The underlying cause is thought to be similar to axillary hyperhidrosis.
    Treatments for Hyperhidrosis of Hands and Feet:

    • Antiperspirants: antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride can be effective
    • Iontophoresis: a hand / foot bath with a low electrical current can painlessly block sweat glands, providing temporary relief
    • Prescription medications: Oral medications such as anticholinergics may be prescribed in severe cases
    Hyperhidrosis of the Hands & Feet

    Generalised Hyperhidrosis

    Generalised hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating throughout the body, even during rest. It can be idiopathic (no identifiable cause), or it may be a symptom of hormonal imbalances, infections, certain medications, or underlying medical disorders.
    Treatments for Generalised Hyperhidrosis:

    • Identifying the underlying cause: diagnosing and treating any medical condition causing generalised hyperhidrosis is essential to alleviate the symptoms
    • Medications: Prescription medications may be prescribed to reduce excessive sweating
    • Other treatments: Procedures such as sympathectomy (surgical interruption of the sympathetic nerves) or sweat gland removal may be considered in severe cases.
    Generalised Hyperhidrosis

    The importance of specialist assessment

    The most effective treatments for hyperhidrosis vary depending on the location, severity and cause of your symptoms. It’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan. Click the link above to make an appointment with a consultant dermatologist with a specific interest in hyperhidrosis.