Hyperhidrosis: What Is It And How To Treat It?

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition where a person experiences excessive sweating. It can occur in different parts of the body such as the armpits, hands, feet, and face. Hyperhidrosis is a common disorder that affects about 2-3% of people in the United States. It can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, and many people go to great lengths to try to manage their sweating.

What Causes Hyperhidrosis?

The exact cause of hyperhidrosis is unknown. Factors such as genetics, environmental triggers, and underlying medical conditions can all contribute to the condition. People with hyperhidrosis may also be more sensitive to certain stimuli, such as heat, stress, and emotions.

Types of Hyperhidrosis

There are two main types of hyperhidrosis: primary focal hyperhidrosis (or primary focal hyperhidrosis syndrome) and secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. Primary focal hyperhidrosis typically affects only certain areas (such as the palms, feet, and armpits), while secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is more widespread and can affect the entire body.

Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis

The main symptom of hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating. Common signs of the condition include sweat stains in clothes, clammy or wet palms, nausea, discomfort, and embarrassment. Other symptoms may include skin irritation, embarrassment, trouble with concentration, and difficulty with public speaking.

Diagnosis and Treatment

It's important to see a doctor if you think you have hyperhidrosis. The doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical examination. They may order tests to rule out other conditions, such as diabetes or thyroid disease. Treatment options for hyperhidrosis may include antiperspirants, iontophoresis, medications, or surgery.


Antiperspirants are the most common treatment for hyperhidrosis. These products contain aluminum-based compounds that can block sweat ducts, thus reducing the amount of sweat your body produces. Antiperspirants are available over the counter or by prescription.


Iontophoresis is a non-invasive procedure that uses a low-level electric current to temporarily block the sweat glands. It is typically done in a doctor's office and may be helpful for people with mild to moderate hyperhidrosis. The procedure is usually done once a week for several weeks.


Doctors may prescribe medications, such as anticholinergics, to reduce sweating in some cases. These medications act on the nerves that control the sweat glands and can reduce sweating. Side effects may include dry mouth and dizziness, so talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.


For severe cases of hyperhidrosis, surgery may be recommended. Surgery to remove the sweat glands, known as endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, is a minimally invasive procedure. The potential risks and side effects of the procedure should be discussed with a doctor.

Home Remedies for Hyperhidrosis

In addition to medical treatments, there are some home remedies that may help relieve the symptoms of hyperhidrosis. These include:

  • Wearing breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen
  • Using antiperspirants or deodorants, especially those with aluminum chloride
  • Avoiding spicy, hot, and fatty foods
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Staying cool with air conditioning or fans

Hyperhidrosis can be a difficult condition to live with, but there are treatments available that can help. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you think you have hyperhidrosis so they can find the best treatment plan for your individual needs.