HYPERHIDROSIS: Excessive sweating

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    ….that awkward moment when you walk into a room full of people and you are looking all sweaty, sticky and dripping…that could be quite embarrassing I must say!…in case you feel so bad about it, well, you’ll be over it soon.

    What exactly is Hyperhidrosis?

    This is a condition which is characterized by excessive sweating, which may be localized at specific parts of the body such as the; hands, feet, armpits and the groin area (due to the high concentration of sweat glands in these areas) or generalized (everywhere).

    Possible causes

    • Hyperhidrosis can be congenital (genetic) or it can be acquired later in life.
    • However, it may also be categorized as being caused by some underlying health conditions such as; obesity, gout, menopause, a tumor, mecury poisoning, heart disease, anxiety, respiratory failure, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism e.t.c
    • Some medications have also been implicated in hyperthyroidism and they include; antidepressants, anticholinesterase, pilocarpine, propranolol and also substance abuse.
    • Also heat and emotions may trigger hyperhidrosis.

    How do I know if I sweat too much ?

    Ask yourself these questions:

    If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, make an appointment to see your doctor.

    Do you sweat even if the room is not warm or you’re not outside in the heat?

    Do you sweat even when you’re not exercising?

    Do you sweat when you’re not in a situation that makes you angry, embarrassed, afraid, or anxious?

    When you sweat, is it excessive in your opinion?

    Do you have bothersome sweat on your face, head, underarms, palms, or feet? 

    Are your clothes often soaked in sweat?

    Do you avoid social situations because you fear sweating?

    Do you find that sweating interrupts your daily routine and activities?


    General tips and advice

    • Avoid triggers which can make your sweating worse, such as spicy food, heat etc.
    • Ensure you wear loose or light clothes
    • See a dermatologist for a diagnosis
    • Make sure you are using an antiperspirant rather than a deodorant. Antiperspirants can reduce sweating. Deodorants mask or stop body odor, but allow you to sweat.Apply antiperspirant to dry skin before going to bed.
    • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about getting an antiperspirant with a high concentration of aluminum chloride if over-the-counter antiperspirants are not working for you.
    • Bathe or shower every day. Daily baths or showers help prevent the buildup of bacteria that give sweat an odour.
    • Use underarm shields. These can be worn in social situations to prevent stains on clothing.

    It’s just only sweat someone would say. Whilst this condition does not damage your health, it does impact on you in a psychological and emotional way.

    It means many years of social anxiety, low self-esteem and a lack of self confidence. All of which has a detrimental effect on the sufferer’s career, relationships and family life.

    You can get over this and have your normal life back to you.


    Related resources:

    International Hyperhidrosis Society

    Miller J, Hurley H. “Diseases of the eccrine and apocrine sweat glands.” In: Bolgna J, Jorizzo J, Rapini R, et al. editors. Dermatology. 2nd ed. Spain, Elsevier Limited. 2008. p. 531-8.

    American Academy of Dermatology.


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