Hyperhidrosis, also known as polyhedrosis or sudorrhea is a medical condition that is characterized by abnormally excessive sweating that might not be related to high temperature, or exercise. This type of sweating can literally occur in unusual situations without any kind of trigger such as in cooler climatic conditions or sitting in a relaxed state or it can also be an underlying indication due to a certain health anomaly.
Hyperhidrosis is usually most active in the hands, armpits, feet, and groin since they have a relatively high concentration of sweat glands.
It can be characterized into different types:
When excessive sweating is limited only to some topical parts. For example, palmoplantar hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating of the palms and soles. It is further divided into:
This type usually occurs due to excessive sweating of the underarms.
Mostly characterized by excessive sweating of the palms of the hand and the soles of the feet.
Excessive sweating affects the entire body and not confined to a particular region.
When sweating occurs on the face or the chest after eating certain types of food. Also Read: How To Reduce Excessive Facial Sweating?
Although the exact cause is not known, hyperhidrosis may be due to neurologic, infectious, endocrine, or other diseases. Hyperhidrosis may be a condition that some have right from birth and they gradually develop over the years. In most cases, these symptoms start cropping up through the teenage years and can be of two types:
Primary Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis:
In this case, the sweating is mostly localized and the exact cause is unknown.
Here, the excessive sweating usually occurs due to some underlying health condition such as:
- Adrenal gland disorder
- Spinal cord injury
- Heart disease
- Mercury poisoning
Although not life-threatening or chronic, the condition can be extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing. Excessive sweating can often stain clothes, hamper official interaction and public appearances, leading to social anxiety in public places. In many cases, excessive sweating leads to anxiety and can make it difficult for people to hold a pen or steer the wheel of a car or even hold a mug or shake hands with someone. Hyperhidrosis and anxiety go hand in hand with each other since people often get anxious when they sweat a lot and then the anxiety makes them sweat more.
A person from Hyperhidrosis may witness some problems if the condition is not treated on time, which are:
- Socially withdrawn leading to depression. Also Read: Depression: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
- Continuous anxiety about stained clothes and body odour which ultimately aggravates the situation.
- Reluctant to meet new people or shake hands with them.
The common signs and symptoms of hyperhidrosis include:
- Excessive sweating without any proper reason
- Episodes of excessive sweating at least once a week
- Sweat that occurs everywhere on the body
- Sweating that interferes with your daily activities
- Excessive sweating condition that suddenly started during the teenage years
- Not sweating while sleeping
Diagnosis And Treatment
It is strictly advised to seek medical attention, i.e. a professional dermatologist if you witness any of the above-mentioned symptoms accompanied by chest pain, nausea or light-headedness. The doctor usually acknowledges the patients past medical history followed by some tests which include:
- Blood Test: To analyse thyroid or other medical conditions
- Imaging Tests like Ultrasonography, CT-Scan, MRI-Scan: To check for tumours
- Paper Test and Starch-iodine Test: To analyse the approximate quantity the patient sweats at a given time interval.
Depending upon the type of hyperhidrosis and the underlying medical conditions, the doctor may perform the following treatments:
Anticholinergic medicines to suppress the transmission of parasympathetic nerve impulses that stimulate sweating.
- Prescribing medicated antiperspirants and creams
A process where painless electric current is passed through a water-filled tub, with your hand and foot submerged.
- Botox Injections:
Botulinum toxins injected in the body to block the nerves that trigger sweat glands.
- Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS):
If the patient’s condition does not get improved by any other method, the ETS surgery is done to cut the nerves that carry impulses to the sweat glands to stop sweating.
- Underarm Surgery:
Last resort of treatment, when the sweat gland is surgically removed.