Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)

A woman putting on deodorant

Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a somewhat rare disorder affecting about 2.8% of Americans. It most often affects the palms, feet and face, causing embarrassment, staining clothing, and complicating social interactions. In some cases, hyperhidrosis can affect a person’s ability to perform simple tasks such as holding a pen, gripping a steering wheel, or shaking hands. It is estimated that over half of sufferers of hyperhidrosis do not seek treatment, in some cases because they do not realize it is available. Fortunately, there is hope. If treated properly, the symptoms of hyperhidrosis can be eliminated entirely for most patients.


There are two types of hyperhidrosis, primary and secondary. In primary hyperhidrosis, emotional stimuli are believed to trigger excessive sweating. It is unknown why this occurs. Secondary hyperhidrosis is associated with an underlying medical condition. Conditions triggering excessive sweating may include: infection, malignancy, spinal cord injury, and neurologic or endocrine disorders. Because the sweating is caused by these disorders, treatment for secondary hyperhidrosis focuses on determining and resolving the underlying condition.

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