Hyperhidrosis

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Hyperhidrosis facts

  • Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a common disorder.
  • Axillary hyperhidrosis is excess sweating of the underarms.
  • Palmoplantar hyperhidrosis is excess sweating of the palms and soles.
  • Hyperhidrosis usually occurs in people who are otherwise healthy.
  • The approach to treating hyperhidrosis generally proceeds from OTC antiperspirants to prescription antiperspirants, iontophoresis, microwave destruction of sweat glands, oral anticholinergic medications, Botox, and surgery.

What is hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a common disorder that produces a lot of unhappiness. An estimated 2%-3% of Americans suffer from excessive sweating of the underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis) or of the palms and soles of the feet (palmoplantar hyperhidrosis). Underarm problems tend to start around puberty, while palm and sole sweating may begin earlier, often during childhood. Untreated, these problems may continue throughout life.

Sweating is embarrassing, it stains clothes, and it complicates business and social interactions. Severe cases can have serious practical consequences as well, making it hard for people who suffer from it to hold a pen, grip a steering wheel, or shake hands.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/3/2012

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Learn about the various ways to treat excessive perspiration, or hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis Treatment

Medical Author: Nili N. Alai, MD, FAAD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Hyperhidrosis is excess sweating. While sweatingis a normal human bodily function, some people naturally sweat more or less than others. Some individuals sweat in excess, causing problems with school, work, and social situations. Hyperhidrosis affects both males and females and can start at any age. It is often a severe and emotionally distressing problem for people with the condition. Effective treatments are now available to help those with hyperhidrosis.

Treatments for hyperhidrosis include over-the-counterantiperspirants, prescription antiperspirants like Drysol (20% aluminum chloride), iontophoresis, pills like glycopyrrolate (Robinul), and surgery. Robinulmay be reserved for special occasions like school dances, job interviews, weddings, proms, anniversaries, first dates, and other really important events.