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What is Hyperhidrosis?

Palmar Hyperhidrosis - Sweaty PalmsHyperhidrosis in medical terms relates to a situation where the body in different locations is sweating more than the physiological needs. Sweat in general is one of the methods the body tries to control basic body needs for temperature. Excessive sweating can be divided into two major groups.

  1. Generalized Hyperhidrosis –  Body Sweat
  2. Local Hyperhidrosis – Hands, Feet, Armpit Sweat

Generalized Hyperhidrosis – Body Sweating:
In certain illnesses such as infections, endocrine disorders, cancer and aging processes (elderly) the body can react with all over the body sweating. In this particular clinical presentation a search for the underlying cause is needed in order to help with this generalized total body sweating.

Local Hyperhidrosis – Hands, Feet, Armpits
Plantar Hyperhidrosis - Sweaty FeetIn this clinical presentation which affects between 1.5 to 2% of the population otherwise healthy people without any underlying illnesses develop excessive sweating. Local hyperhidrosis typically starts at an early age. Those afflicted with moderate to severe cases will likely experience social and day to day functional challenges. In more than 50% of the cases hyperhidrosis is hereditary.

Males vs Females with Hyperhidrosis
Both men and women are affected. Women are typically more aware and therefore affected by symptoms of hyperhidrosis. So far there are no statistical studies to prove the difference in presentation between male and females but the impression is that females are affected by a higher percentage than males.

Do I have hyperhidrosis?
Sweating is normal however if your sweating goes well beyond the physiological needs of the body it can be classified as hyperhidrosis. There are different levels of hyperhidrosis (mild, moderate, severe).

Common Symptoms of local hyperhidrosis:

  • Clammy or wet Palms or Feet
  • Frequent sweating for no apparent reason
  • Excessive sweating to the point of dripping

Learn more about the common symptoms of hyperhidrosis.

How severe is my hyperhidrosis?

  • Mild – Moisture throughout the day
  • Moderate – Wet enough to leave marks on whatever you touch
  • Severe – Continually Dripping sweat (less during sleep)

Hyperhidrosis is subjective, it is felt and experienced by the patient, their family, close friends and whoever interacts with them closely. The individual with hyperhidrosis defines how much this interferes with his or her life.

Unfortunately in the medical community there is not enough recognition and knowledge about it because it affects only about 1.5% to 2% of the world’s population. Many healthcare providers have never even seen the condition. Fortunately now thanks to the world wide web information about this condition is more readily available, shared and it gives the patients and their families the ability to educate themselves and find the appropriate treatment.

Can Hyperhidrosis be cured by itself?
Unfortunately in the vast majority of the cases hyperhidrosis will not cure itself on its own. Obviously medicine is not an exact science so there are some rare exceptions where hyperhidrosis does go away. As a general rule patients who are suffering from severe for cases of hyperhidrosis where there is a history in the family of hyperhidrosis the chances of the disease being eliminated by itself are extremely slim. Having said that the necessity to try some alternative / conservative methods to treat it is an essential part of the decision making process.

Hopefully after reading this website more light will be shed on this problem helping those suffering make better decisions. For more information specific to your condition, please contact us.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for this information. I’ve suffered from sweaty palms since I was a teenager, and want to find a cure. I will be looking into treatment options.

    Reply
    • Hi Betty,
      I also suffered form excessive sweating of the hands and feet since my teens ,It totally ruined my social life. Last year I read an article about iontophoresis and having nothing to lose, decided to give it a try .I tried out the Idromed 5 PS iontophoresis machine and within six weeks my hands and both feet were dry. There is unfortunately no cure for Hyperhidrosis, but you can control the symptoms painlessly with iontophoresis. The machine is rather pricey but for me it’s worth every penny.

      Reply
      • It is known that in a certain amount of cases iontophoresis can help with the reduction in the amount of sweating. It requires multiple uses over time and can be associated with some discomfort. So far the world literature has not shown any proof that it helps on a long term basis and one of the reasons is the necessity to increase the voltage as well as the frequency which can cause even more discomfort. Nevertheless a trial can be made to use this device.

        Reply

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