Primary focal hyperhidrosis, or hyperhidrosis, is a medical condition that causes an excessive amount of sweating in specific areas of the body. It most commonly occurs in places such as the face, palms, underarms and soles of the feet.
Hyperhidrosis typically begins in childhood or adolescence. It can worsen with age and is sometimes linked to a family history. The excessive sweating affects 1-5% of the population. Those with the condition will produce more sweat than the average person. Hyperhidrosis may interfere with daily activities.
- Excessive sweating in specific areas of the body
- Often experiencing moist to extremely wet hands, feet, underarms or face
- Sweating is disrupting daily activities
- Sweat is causing health issues such as skin infections
Hyperhidrosis is typically caused by overstimulated sweat glands. The body naturally sweats when it is trying to cool down. With hyperhidrosis, the body’s sweat glands may be triggered even when there is no physical activity being done.
Primary hyperhidrosis is seen as the most common form of this condition. The glands appear normal but overproduce sweat. Those who have family members with hyperhidrosis may be more likely to have the condition.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is when the excessive sweating is linked to a medical condition or a reaction to medication being taken. It is less common and may produce sweat all over the body.
Both types can cause people to become uneasy or embarrassed because of the visible sweating.
How is it diagnosed?
Hyperhidrosis is diagnosed by a medical professional who will evaluate the patient’s medical history and examine the affected areas. Additional tests may be done if needed.
How is it treated?
Treatment will depend on the patient and the severity of their symptoms.
Treatment may include:
- Drysol – an antiperspirant used to stop the sweat glands
- Oral anticholinergic – an oral medication to reduce sweating all over the body
- Iontophoresis – a current that temporarily delays the sweat glands
- Botulinum toxin – an injection that blocks a chemical from stimulating sweat glands
- Thoracoscopic sympathectomy – a minimally invasive surgery stopping the nerve signals the body sends to the sweat glands
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