Hyperhidrosis Symptoms & Causes

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition in which a person experiences excessive sweating in a certain specific pattern. Hyperhidrosis symptoms are generally worse in warm weather, but may occur even when the temperature is cool and when a person is at rest. Stress or anxiety can worsen the condition, but it is not primarily a psychological disorder.

There are two main classifications of hyperhidrosis. Focal hyperhidrosis exhibits symptoms of excessive sweating in the hands, feet and armpits. Generalized hyperhidrosis affects the entire body. Although focal hyperhidrosis affects 2-3% of the population, most people with this condition do not seek medical advice. Severe hyperhidrosis affects approximately one-percent of the population and seems to be more common in certain ethnic groups.

Types of Hyperhidrosis

  • Palmar hyperhidrosis – excessive sweating of the palms of the hands (sweaty palms)
  • Axillary hyperhidrosis – excessive sweating of the armpits. This type of hyperhidrosis may be associated with constant odor (bromhidrosis). These symptoms are usually resistant to all deodorants.
  • Facial hyperhidrosis – excessive sweating of the face, scalp, and neck may occur in combination with facial blushing. Facial blushing syndrome, or sudden severe reddening of the face, usually occurs spontaneously or in response to stressful stimuli. It may extend to the neck, forehead, ears, and the upper chest.
  • Pedal hyperhidrosis – excessive sweating of the feet

Hyperhidrosis Symptoms
Wetness and even dripping due to excessive sweating may be present in one area, such as sweaty palms, or all over the body. The problem is usually worsened by stress, anxiety and warm weather.

Hyperhidrosis Causes
The hypothalamus (an area of the brain that produces hormones) works with the sympathetic nervous system to regulate sweat-related functions. It sends sensory signals to sweat nerves located in the posterior chest wall. These nerves send signals to the sweat glands, causing them to produce sweat. Hyperhidrosis is the result of the over-production of sweat in response to abnormal stimulation of these nerves. This abnormal and excessive sweating is often noticed on a person's sweaty palms, underarms, face and feet. In the majority of patients with hyperhidrosis, no cause can be found. There may be a genetic predisposition to this disorder, and a familial history of hyperhidrosis is common.

Hyperhidrosis Diagnosis
Although several tests may be used to quantify each case of hyperhidrosis, the diagnosis is obvious in severe cases.

Make an appointment at our Hyperhidrosis Center
Cushing Neuroscience Institute’s Hyperhidrosis Center makes it easy for you to take the first steps in ensuring the best neurological care for yourself and your family. Simply email us at neuro@nshs.edu or call us at (516) 562-3816 or 844-56Neuro (844-566-3876). You may also fill out our Request an Appointment form.