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Excessive Sweating

Excessive Sweating

This section will definitely interest you if you answer yes to any of the following questions

  • "Do you feel you sweat more than other people?"
  • "Does a five-minute workout on the treadmill leave you sopping wet?"
  • "Do you wipe your hand before every handshake?"

About excessive sweating

Hyperhydrosis is a medical condition in which a person sweats excessively and unpredictably. Some people with the condition may also sweat when the temperature is cool or when they are at rest. Sweating is the body's way of staying cool. In most cases, it is perfectly natural. People sweat more in warm temperatures, when they exercise, or in response to situations that make them nervous, angry, embarrassed or afraid. However, excessive sweating occurs without such triggers. Those with hyperhydrosis appear to have overactive sweat glands. The uncontrollable sweating can lead to significant discomfort, both physical and emotional. It usually occurs in areas like the palms, soles, armpits, and/or groin area.

Types and Causes

Focal hyperhydrosis

  • It affects the palms, soles and sometimes underarms.
  • It often occurs as an exaggerated response to emotional stimuli and is not generally associated with any underlying condition.
  • It may have a genetic component, as it often runs in families.

Secondary/Generalized hyperhydrosis

  • It affects large areas of the body.
  • Underlying causes could be – A reaction to certain medications, menopausal hot flushes, low blood sugar, an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), rarely certain cancers, heart disease and infectious diseases.


  • Frequent, noticeable, excessive sweating that can soak through clothing
  • Abnormally excessive and bothersome perspiration on your feet, underarms, head or face
  • Clamminess or dripping of sweat droplets on the palms of the hands or the soles of your feet


Visible signs of sweating may be noted during a doctor's visit. A number of tests may also be used to diagnose excessive sweating. These are

Starch-iodine test – An iodine solution is applied to the sweaty area. After it dries, starch is sprinkled on the area. The starch-iodine combination turns a dark blue colour wherever there is excess sweat.

Paper test – Special paper is placed on the affected area to absorb the sweat, and then weighed. The heavier it weights, the more sweat has accumulated.

Data Collection

The doctor will also require other details from you to determine the exact cause, like

  • Location- Does it occur on your face, palms, or armpits, or all over the body?
  • Time pattern- Does it occur at night or does it begin suddenly?
  • Triggers- Does the sweating occur when you are reminded of a traumatic or emotionally disturbing event?
  • Other noted symptoms- Weight loss, pounding heartbeat, cold or clammy hands, fever, lack of appetite


Antiperspirants – Excessive sweating may be controlled with strong anti-perspirants, which plug the sweat ducts. Some patients may be prescribed a product containing a higher dose of aluminium chloride to be applied at night. Antiperspirants can cause skin irritation, and large doses of aluminium chloride can damage clothing. Deodorants do not prevent sweating, but are helpful in reducing body odor.

Medication – Certain anticholinergics help to prevent the stimulation of sweat glands.

Botox – Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) is FDA approved for the treatment of severe underarm sweating, a condition called primary axillary hyperhydrosis. Small doses of purified botulinum toxin injected into the underarm temporarily block the nerves that stimulate sweating. Side effects include injection-site pain. If you are considering Botox for other areas of excessive sweating talk to your doctor in detail. Botox used for sweating of the palms can cause mild but temporary weakness and pain.


Some of the causes of hyperhydrosis can be serious. Always consult a doctor if you have excessive sweating. Please inform us @ Skin & You Clinic, Mumbai if you have

  • Prolonged, excessive, and unexplained sweating
  • Sweating with or followed by chest pain or pressure
  • Sweating with weight loss
  • Sweating that most often occurs during sleep
  • Sweating with fever, weight loss, chest pain, shortness of breath, or a rapid, pounding heartbeat as these symptoms may be a sign of an underlying disease, such as hyperthyroidism.

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