Excessive Sweating - Complete Guide to Causes, Treatments & Diagnosis

Did you know that about 1% to 2% of the world's population suffers from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). With this site there is thorough, comprehensive, and up to date information for excessive sweating, its causes, best treatments, commonly asked questions and much more. Excessive sweating, or as its known in medical literature as hyperhidrosis, is a clinical condition where parts of the body are sweating beyond the bodies physiological needs.

Symptoms of hyperhidrosis:

The typical presentation of excessive hand sweating or foot sweating is the uncontrolled appearance of sweat. It can happen at any time without any identified reason. Usually patients do not have these problems while sleeping but during their normal daily hours it can happen. It can affect people negatively in functional and social settings. Obviously the sweating levels are different from one patient to another but none the less the affects can be significant to those affected. There is no connection between being anxious or active because this condition can happen at times when the person is not active or anxious. This represents the autonomous nature of the sympathetic nervous system which is an involuntary one compared to the motoric or sensory nervous systems which are voluntary systems.

Causes of Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis):

It is commonly an inherited condition and can affect those who suffer from it on a social, functional, and emotional level. The good news is, there are several different ways to combat excessive sweating with varying levels of effectiveness depending on the severity of the excessive sweating problem. Use the list of links on the left to cover all relevant topics ranging from hand sweating to armpit sweating.

The very basic explanation for excessive sweating is that a segment of the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for this presentation. What is the sympathetic chain you may ask? This is an autonomous part of the nervous system on which we have no control. The autonomous nervous system has two parts to it, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. Those systems affect blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety level and many other functions. Commonly affected areas of the body are the hands (sweaty hands - palmar), feet (sweaty feet - plantar), and armpits (axillary). The armpits and face represent a smaller groups of patients.

Treatment of Hyperhidrosis:

Different methods have been used to treat excessive sweating such as herbal medications, different oral medications, lotions, and injections of botox. All of the above had limited success and if successful only for a limited periods of time. Dr. Reisfeld based in Los Angeles at The Center for Hyperhidrosis is probably the most experienced surgeons in the U.S. that offers the most in depth site on the surgical solutions.

At present there are a few good surgical options for the treatment of excessive hand sweating. The most well-known surgical procedure is something called ETS which stands for Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy. With this method the specialized surgeon enters the thoracic cavity and disrupts the sympathetic chain responsible for excessive hand sweating. This is an outpatient procedure and the patient can go home the same day. The success rate is around 98-99% for excessive hand sweating.

For excessive foot sweating a new procedure known as lumbar sympathectomy was developed since about 2005. With this procedure people who suffer specifically from excessive foot sweating OR did not get enough relief via the ETS procedure then this procedure provides relief with a high degree of success 98-99%. It’s important to note that the majority of people with hyperhidrosis have it in both the hands and feet. For this reason it is more common for people who had surgery for their hands to then want the surgery for their feet. Why the hands first? Typically excessive hand sweating appears in the younger age group and is more socially and functionally troubling to people than their feet.

Excessive armpit sweating that appears by itself (without hand and foot sweating) can be addressed, after all conservative methods have failed, with subdermal laser ablation and suction curettage. This can be accomplished on an outpatient basis with the success rate of about 85%.

Throughout this site we go into great detail to describe the issues surrounding excessive sweating, its history, the various treatments, and what the future holds for this condition. Medical advances are being made all the time by the conditions leading surgeons. Please let us know if there is anything further you would like added to this site. Be sure to consult with your doctor before making any medical decisions.

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Comments

I notes that in your report there is no mention of head sweating. In my case when a was in my teens my feet were the ones who would sweat. I am 56 now and its been a few years now I been suffering with is illness. Now the excess of sweating is in my head, I still sweat all over but not my feet. There are other parts of my body that sweat to. Would like a replay back if possible. Thank you

Isolated head sweating, so called cranio facial hyperhidrosis is a manifestation of hyperhidrosis. Past experience of performing ETS for isolated cranio facial hyperhidrosis (head sweating) caused more side effects such as compensatory sweating than the initial problem. At present ETS is not recommended for isolated head sweating.

I have been suffering from head sweating for well over a year. I can't apply makeup or style my hair for the excessive sweating. Is this a symptom of any illnesses I could possibly have? I am desperate to find a cure for this condition. My hands used to sweat in younger years, I never wanted to dance or shake hands with anyone. When I started taking meds for depression and anxiety, this problem ceased. Could the sweating be stress related? I need HELP.

In order to give you a definite answer I need to know some facts. The first one is how old are you because head sweating in women can appear later in life. The fact that you mentioned that excessive hand sweating was a problem years ago you could have the gene that causes focal hyperhidrosis. At this time at affects your head and facial area. Anti anxiety or anti depression medications can also trigger facial / head sweating. Again not having all the data it is very difficult for me to give you a definite answer but having said that I would not recommend ETS for your facial / head sweating.

My husband sweats often and he is also healthy and a good exerciser he works out 3.5-4 miles per day on elliptical so he is an efficient sweater however while around people at work or just people he isn't around often or whenever he is anxious or uncomfortable is sweats a lot all over his body. He does not know how to control this reaction, but I think there must be something he can/may need to do psychologically speaking? Any suggestions?

Total body hyperhidrosis is not a clinical situation where an operation can help. Whereas ETS is good for isolated (focal hyperhidrosis) it is not the same as with total body sweating. Excessive total body sweating is an item that is associated with generalized reasons not all of them can be detected. For that reason there is currently no operation offered for those patients. The possibility of medical treatment (prescriptions) should be explored via an experienced hyperhidrosis physician.

I have been suffering from hyperhidrosis for so long. I tried every type of deodorant but nothing worked. I even envisaged to get botox this is how bad I was desperate even though I hate that idea.
I was very isolated and hardly socialize because of that. it was embarrassing. Anyway, not long ago a friend of mine told me about this product she's been using ant it is called AHC20 ( you can find it on the scrubs uk website or amazon) and I can 100% vouch for it as it did wonders. I will highly recommend it.

I sweat so much under my large breast that I have a on going problem with yeast. This is very painful and I would like to find way and how I can stop or at least put some control of this problem.

i found that applying deodorant under my breasts eliminates the sweating....it works!

if I not where air is circulation I will start sweating. what can I do. I have done this for years. I am 71 years old. what can I do?

I sweat from my head dripping down my face into my eyes and back under neat my breast and my arms,shoulders. If I become the least bit hot this happens. I also, notice that I can sense heat from any place in the house or any place. The thing is this, I have been doing this since my childhood! It is not new to me. And it is shameful. I also, notice that I am very comfortable in the coldest and cool seasons of the year. I absolutely love cold weather. What can I do to control this problem?

Head sweating or cranio facial hyperhidrosis is a form of excessive focal hyperidrosis. It happens mainly in the middle age population, especially with women. It was proven that ETS was not a good solution for those patients. If there is any hormonal balance that can be corrected it should be done or the usage of anti cholinergic agents such as robinul can be tried.

My sweaing has only started within the past year. I was 70 in Jan 2014. I went through menopause when I was 48 and had only minimal sweating and hot flashes. I hate hot weather, or being hot in general. Everyone around me can be cool or comfortable a nd I am dripping down my back from my hair and from my forehear. I am on several medications. I was wondering a bout hormones. I took Premarin and progestin for about 8 to 10 years and was taken off them with all the scares. I come from a family of surgical hysterectomies so have no reference to how my mother reacted. I just want to cool off and quit dripping. I use a man's hankerchief to "blot" my fact and neck and forehead constantly when I exert myself minimally, or it gets hot, or I cook. HELP.

With regard to your comments, you do have a situation that is called facial hyperhidrosis. It usually affects older women after menopause. The exact reason is unknown but most likely some hormonal changes and aging are the reasons for that. As such you are not a candidate for any surgical intervention. The most I can advise you is to try some oral medications which are outlined in our section about alternative methods on this website in the left navigation. Hopefully this will help you to a certain degree.

For some time now I have experiencing horrible excessive sweats. They seem to be triggered by any stressor or by nothing at all. It often takes hours to stop sweating after I shower. The sweats usually calm if I sit or lay down but if I try to conduct a normal life, they can go on for hours and hours - making it impossible to do my hair or prepare myself to go out in public. They strike anytime or anywhere and I never know how long they will last. They are quite debilitating.

I have seen a number of doctors and no on seems to be able to do anything for me. One doctor is trying hormone treatments but so far, they haven't had any positive effect. My thyroid has been adjusted to the proper dosage (I lost all thyroid function as a sophomore in college many years ago). I am in my middle 60's. I have gone through menopause so it isn't that.

I have, however, had a number of surgeries, including three lumbar surgeries. Unfortunately, I have recently learned that in the process of implanting and removing screws in my back, twice, the surgeon grazed my spinal cord - on multiple levels... I am on pain medication but lowering the dosage has little to no effect on how much I sweat.

Can anyone give me any idea of what kind of a doc to see about this problem? My Gynecologist, or GP haven't been able to do anything for me. I've tried acupuncture and all sorts of holistic measures. Is there anything that can be done for over-all sweats that just seem to control your life???

The situation you are describing is somewhat typical for women in your age group that for unknown reasons they control mechanism for body sweat is getting out of control. The exact reason for this is unknown and since the reason is unknown solutions for this problem is still not yet available. So far no specific treatment was found to be effective and any type of doctor you will try to visit will take a battery of tests that not necessarily will show anything wrong with you beyond your current conditions. Obviously certain factors should be eliminated such as excessive weight, multiple medications, excessive use of pain killers, unhealthy diet, smoking, alcohol, etc. Once those are eliminated and the problem continues then the lack of a real solution will force you to accept it and to try to find the best mode of living that will help you.

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