Hyperhidrosis, a condition characterized by excessive sweating, usually begins in adolescence and can affect the feet, hands, face, groin and armpits. It usually occurs in people who are otherwise healthy, although some diseases can cause its onset. Heat and emotions can act as triggers, but for many sufferers, the excessive sweating lasts all day regardless of the weather or their circumstances.
Hyperhidrosis can be classified as primary (where there is no cause – the condition is the sweating itself) and secondary (where the sweating is the symptom of another illness or condition), as well according to the area affected:
- Focal hyperhidrosis: This is localized excessive sweating, for example sweating of the palms and soles of your feet, known as palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.
- Generalized hyperhidrosis: This is where all of the sweat glands all over your body, or over a very large part of your body, are overactive
While the main symptoms are excessive sweating (wet and clammy soles and palms, sweat soaking through clothes, etc), secondary symptoms can arise such as fungal or bacterial skin infections. Excessive underarm sweating tends to start in late adolescence, but on the palms and soles of the feet it can begin earlier.
When to see a doctor
If your condition is worrying you or is having a negative impact on your quality of life, it is advisable to seek the help a dermatologist. Our highly experienced dermatologist in Dubai will be able to find the most effective treatment for your particular case.
Diagnosis & Treatment
If the doctor suspects there could be another underlying cause for your problem, blood or urine tests might be ordered to rule out factors such as a thyroid condition or low blood sugar. Other diagnosis tools include a medical questionnaire which includes analyzing the patterns of your problem (for example, do you sweat at night time – many sufferers of primary hyperhidrosis sweat excessively only during the day).
If you sweat excessively and meet at least two of the following conditions, then you probably have primary focal hyperhidrosis:
- Your condition first appeared before the age of 25
- You sweat excessively in the same areas on both sides of your body.
- Your condition impacts on your daily activities.
- You have at least one episode of excessive sweating per week.
- Other members of your family had the same problem
- Your sweating stops when you are asleep
Usually start with the most conservative treatment and work from there. Solutions can include Prescription-strength antiperspirants, which contain aluminum chloride hexahydrate, oral medications, Botox to block the nerves that trigger the sweat glands, and lasers. As a last resort, thoracic sympathectomy surgery might be recommend, but this is unlikely.