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Dermadry® Blog

What is Hyperhidrosis?

By Sam Nardi / Sep 18, 20
Dermadry Team

Hyperhidrosis is highly misunderstood, in fact, many don’t even know that excessive sweating is a medical condition with a name! We’ve gathered some of the most frequently asked questions about excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, and provided you with the answers.
 

What is hyperhidrosis?

  • Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by sweating in excess of what is needed for thermoregulation.
     

    What causes hyperhidrosis?

    • There are two types of hyperhidrosis: primary and secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis has no known cause. Secondary hyperhidrosis is named so as it is secondary to another medical condition or a side-effect of a medication.
       

      Is hyperhidrosis serious?

      • Primary hyperhidrosis is a benign (non-serious) condition. Secondary hyperhidrosis can signify an underlying medical condition or can be a side-effect of a medication. Consult a healthcare professional to rule out secondary hyperhidrosis.
         

        What is the difference between primary and secondary hyperhidrosis?

        • Primary hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive sweating that has no known cause. Secondary hyperhidrosis is secondary to another underlying medical condition or can be a side-effect of a medication.

         

          How do you know if you have hyperhidrosis?

          • Those with hyperhidrosis sweat 4-5 times more than others no matter the temperature, or their level of activity. If sweat interferes with your daily life and ability to complete tasks, you likely suffer from a medical condition known as hyperhidrosis.

           

            What causes hyperhidrosis on hands?

            • Palmar hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating on hands) has no known cause. It is thought that there may be a genetic factor, but not much more is currently known.

             

              Does hyperhidrosis go away with age?

              • Primary hyperhidrosis is generally diagnosed sometime before young adulthood. Some report that they see improvements as they age, while others experience it during their whole life. Secondary hyperhidrosis may have a later onset in life, as it is caused by underlying medical conditions and can be a side-effect of a medication. Some may experience a decrease in sweating with age, while some may sweat more as time goes on. It’s a case to case basis.

               

                How do you fix hyperhidrosis?

                • Hyperhidrosis has no cure but can be successfully treated and its symptoms can be controlled for long periods of time. Iontophoresis, antiperspirants, injections, and thermolysis are some of the treatment options available for hyperhidrosis.

                 

                  How do you get tested for hyperhidrosis?

                  • Generally, primary hyperhidrosis can be visually diagnosed. A doctor can also perform a starch iodine test to discover how much an individual is sweating in certain areas and narrow it down to the sweat glands/areas affected. 

                   

                    What type of doctor treats hyperhidrosis?

                    • Dermatologists are generally the type of doctors that treat hyperhidrosis, as it is a condition affecting the skin. They can prescribe oral and topical treatments to treat hyperhidrosis.

                     

                      How common is hyperhidrosis?

                      • It is estimated that hyperhidrosis affects at least 1 in 20 people, or 5% of the global population. This number is thought to be even lower than the actual prevalence as hyperhidrosis is a misunderstood and underdiagnosed condition.

                       

                        Is excessive sweating a sign of diabetes?

                        • Excessive sweating can be a symptom of diabetes. This is called secondary hyperhidrosis. Consult a health professional if you have any concerns.

                         

                          What is excessive sweating a sign of?

                          • Excessive sweating can be a sign of primary hyperhidrosis. It can also be the sign of an underlying condition or a side-effect of a medication, this is called secondary hyperhidrosis.

                           

                            Can hyperhidrosis be cured naturally?

                            • Iontophoresis is a natural, drug-free, and needle-free treatment option for hyperhidrosis that uses tap water. Some have reported some success with natural treatments such as acupuncture and herbal teas.

                             

                              Is hyperhidrosis a mental disorder?

                              • Hyperhidrosis is a condition that affects the sympathetic nervous system, which causes the body to release more sweat than is needed for thermoregulation. It can take a mental toll on a person, and is associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression.

                               

                                Can losing weight help hyperhidrosis?

                                • Eating a well balanced diet and following an exercise schedule can help with overall health and potentially help with sweating. However, people of all sizes suffer from primary hyperhidrosis, and there is no evidenced correlation between the two.

                                 

                                  Is hyperhidrosis genetic?

                                  • The cause of primary hyperhidrosis is unknown, however hyperhidrosis is thought to have a genetic component. Those who suffer from the condition will often find they also have a parent, grandparent, and/or sibling who also suffer from hyperhidrosis. 

                                   

                                    Is there a pill to stop excessive sweating?

                                    • There are some prescription oral medications such as glycopyrrolate that can be prescribed to treat excessive sweating. These pills can have serious unwanted side effects. Speak to a healthcare professional to see if this is the treatment for you.

                                     

                                      Can excessive sweating be a symptom of heart problems?

                                       

                                        How do I stop hand hyperhidrosis?

                                        • There is no “off switch” for hyperhidrosis, nor is there a cure that can permanently stop hand hyperhidrosis. However, sweating can be temporarily halted using iontophoresis treatment, which can provide up to 6 weeks of dryness at a time. 

                                         

                                          Is there a permanent cure for hyperhidrosis?

                                           

                                            Can hyperhidrosis be cured?

                                            • Unfortunately, hyperhidrosis cannot be cured, but it’s effects can be successfully managed with the proper course of treatment.

                                             

                                              What triggers hyperhidrosis?

                                              • Excessive sweating can happen anytime, anyplace even with the absence of known sweat triggers. However, exercise, hot temperature, and stress can trigger excessive sweating.

                                               

                                                Is hyperhidrosis caused by anxiety?

                                                 

                                                  Does primary hyperhidrosis go away?

                                                  • With proper treatment, the effects of primary hyperhidrosis can be controlled, but there is no cure, therefore it never truly goes away. Many experience a decrease in sweating as they age, but that is not the case for everyone.

                                                   

                                                    How is primary hyperhidrosis treated?

                                                    • Primary hyperhidrosis can be treated with antiperspirants, iontophoresis, botulinum toxin injections, prescription oral medications, and microwave thermolysis.

                                                     

                                                      How is secondary hyperhidrosis treated?

                                                      • Secondary hyperhidrosis is the result of an underlying medical condition or a side-effect of a medication. By treating the underlying condition or identifying and stopping/swapping the sweat-causing medication, the excessive sweating may subside as a result.

                                                       

                                                        What medications cause secondary hyperhidrosis?

                                                        • Secondary hyperhidrosis as a side effect is sometimes called drug-induced hyperhidrosis. Some medications known to cause excessive sweating as a side-effects are certain antidepressants, anti-psychotics, medications to treat Parkinson’s disease, some opioids and antimicrobial medications.

                                                         

                                                          What autoimmune disease causes excessive sweating?

                                                          • Excessive sweating, especially night sweats, can be a sign of an autoimmune disease. Consult a health professional if you experience any sudden health changes accompanied by excessive sweating.

                                                           

                                                            How do you get tested for hyperhidrosis?

                                                            • Most doctors will perform a visual test to diagnose hyperhidrosis. A starch iodine test can also be performed. Primary hyperhidrosis is not always officially diagnosed.

                                                             

                                                              Why do armpits get sweaty?

                                                              • Overactive sweat glands in the underarm region is called axillary hyperhidrosis, and many visually diagnose themselves.

                                                               

                                                                At what age does hyperhidrosis stop?

                                                                • There is no age that hyperhidrosis stops. For some, hyperhidrosis gets better as they get older, but some have it as a life-long condition.

                                                                 

                                                                  When should I see a doctor about excessive sweating?

                                                                  • If excessive sweating is interfering with your daily life, you should see a doctor to discuss treatment options. If the sweating has a sudden onset or starts after taking a prescribed medication, you should also see your doctor to rule out any underlying conditions and discuss sweating as an unwanted side-effect.

                                                                   

                                                                    Why do my armpits sweat so much even when I’m not hot?

                                                                    • Sweating excessively in the armpit region may be a sign of hyperhidrosis: constant and uncontrollable sweating. Hyperhidrosis means no “trigger” such as temperature is needed to make your body start producing excess sweat.

                                                                     

                                                                      Does shaving armpits reduce sweat?

                                                                      • Heavy sweaters should consider shaving their armpits as treatments such as antiperspirants and iontophoresis work better on clean & shaven underarms. Shaved underarms can also reduce body odor emanating from the armpits as sweat tends to get lodged in the hair of the armpits and facilitates the production of bacteria.

                                                                       

                                                                        Will I sweat less if I drink more water?

                                                                        • It is important to stay hydrated and drink the recommended amount of water daily. Maintaining proper hydration can help you sweat less.

                                                                         

                                                                          Does caffeine cause excessive sweating? 

                                                                          • Caffeine can trigger your adrenaline and sweat glands, therefore you are more likely to sweat after consuming caffeine.

                                                                           

                                                                            Do I sweat a lot if I’m overweight?

                                                                            • The amount you sweat depends on several factors such as age, sex, fitness level, genetics, and body mass. Those with a higher body mass are more likely to sweat more as their body generates more heat. 

                                                                             

                                                                              What vitamins help with sweating?

                                                                              • Diets rich in vitamin B and magnesium are thought to help reduce excessive sweating. Maintaining a proper diet with all the required vitamins and minerals is crucial for your health, and can reduce sweat. When you sweat several vitamins and nutrients are depleted, so it’s important to up your intake, especially if you sweat excessively.

                                                                               

                                                                                What foods reduce sweat?

                                                                                • Water-rich foods that help you maintain proper hydration can help you sweat less. Cold foods and beverages can also help your body cool down and therefore help you sweat less.

                                                                                 

                                                                                  Does Vitamin D make you sweat?

                                                                                  • Vitamin D does not make you sweat, but a lack of Vitamin D, as well as a diet lacking in vitamins and minerals, can lead to excess sweating.

                                                                                   

                                                                                    What mineral or vitamin deficiency causes excessive sweating?

                                                                                    • Excessive sweating may be a sign of several vitamin deficiencies, such as Vitamin D and vitamin B12.

                                                                                     

                                                                                      What can I drink to stop sweating?

                                                                                      • Maintaining proper hydration and avoiding caffeinated drinks and alcohol can help you sweat less. Picking cold over hot drinks can also help your body cool down and sweat less.

                                                                                       

                                                                                        What foods cause excessive sweating?

                                                                                        • Foods that require more energy from your body to break down, can generally trigger a sweating response as your body heats up due as it breaks down food. These include highly-processed foods and protein-rich foods. Hot and spicy foods, as well as caffeinated and alcoholic beverages can equally trigger a sweat response. There is also a type of hyperhidrosis called gustatory hyperhidrosis that is triggered by eating. 
                                                                                           
                                                                                          To learn more about hyperhidrosis, visit our page all about excessive sweating here.
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