What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a condition in which excessive sweat is produced in specific parts of the body.
. The most common areas affected are the armpits (axillae), palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. The condition is fairly common and may affect almost 3% of the population. While hyperhidrosis is rarely the result of a serious underlying medical illness, it can cause significant social, emotional, and professional consequences as a result of the excessive sweating and resulting body odor.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis – idiopathic, or primary, hyperhidrosis, and secondary, generalized hyperhidrosis.
Those who suffer from primary hyperhidrosis usually experience focal areas of increased sweating, particularly the areas mentioned above. Generally, the increased sweating becomes noticeable in childhood or adolescence, and for the most part they only experience increased sweating while they are awake and not while sleeping.
In contrast, people who suffer from increased sweating over their whole body are more likely to have secondary, generalized hyperhidrosis, which means the sweating is caused by something such as an underlying medical disease or a medication. These patients usually report that the increased sweating begins during adulthood and happens both while they are awake and while sleeping. Patients with generalized or late-onset hyperhidrosis should be evaluated for medical illness or other secondary causes of their hyperhidrosis.