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Hyperhidrosis Symptoms

While doctors don’t know why excessive sweating starts, the most likely cause is a genetic one. Medical Scientists have successfully linked it to over-activity in the sympathetic nervous system. In cases of palmar hyperhidrosis (hand sweating) the responsible sympathetic ganglia that receive the wrong signal for that abnormal activity are located within the upper part of the chest cavity. In cases of plantar hyperhidrosis (foot sweating) the responsible sympathetic ganglia that receive the wrong signal are located within a section of the lumbar sympathetic chain. This is a somewhat simplified way of explaining the complex anatomical – neurological basis for excessive local hyperhidrosis (Excessive sweating of the Hands, Feet & Armpits).

Further explanation of the problem can be divided into two categories:

  • Generalized hyperhidrosis – Over the entire body.
  • Focal (Localized) hyperhidrosis – Focused in one area.

Sweating Causes – Generalized Hyperhidrosis

In cases with generalized hyperhidrosis excessive sweating can appear in most parts of the body. It can happen on the face, trunk and extremities. In those cases most of the patients do have some other systemic problems such as obesity, febrile illnesses or some sort of neoplastic disease (cancers) or some endocrinological disorders (thyroid glands, etc). A search for a specific reason to excessive sweating in general can be long. A cause cannot be found in every case and then the diagnosis of idiopathic hyperhidrosis can be applied to those cases. Idiopathic meaning “unknown.” Cases of generalized hyperhidrosis usually appear in the adult population where cases of focal hyperhidrosis (hands, feet, armpits) usually start at a younger age. It is not uncommon to hear mothers call about their infants who suffer from excessive sweating. Obviously this is more bothersome to the parents than the child at that time. It is usually later in life, when the child has more social and functional needs such as school, that hyperhidrosis can become a serious and bothersome issue.

Another common situation that is asked about very often is the presentation of upper body sweating in elderly patients especially elderly women. This could present a unique situation where aging, hormonal changes, weight and lack of activity can contribute to this particular type of sweating. Even though it is a common question asked by those women a specific cause cannot be identified and as a result an effective treatment is not always easy to find. Another common location of excessive sweating that comes from patients is hairline sweating and scalp sweating. It is described by patients as if they just got out of the shower. Obviously this is another form of sweating which is not amenable to the surgical treatment. This would be more closely associated with facial hyperhidrosis.

Sweating Causes – Focal Hyperhidrosis

In focal hyperhidrosis there are specific sites with excessive sweating. The most common areas of the body are the hands, armpit and feet. In these cases of focal hyperhidrosis the most likely explanation is a genetic trait. We know that in most studies a genetic connection was shown in about 50% to 60% of the cases. Even though the genetic connection is very well established genetic manipulation for the purpose of treatment is still a very long ways off. Dr. Reisfeld believes one day this will be the key element in the treatment of focal hyperhidrosis.

This sympathetic chain controls the glands, known as the apocrine and eccrine glands, responsible for perspiration throughout the entire body. The eccrine sweat glands are mainly concentrated in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. In most cases, the hands and feet are affected. To a lesser degree, the face and armpit (axillae) regions are affected. Another manifestation of the hyperactive sympathetic activity is facial blushing.

It used to be a common thought that excessive hand sweating is caused by over activity of the thyroid gland but over the years it was proven not to be the case. Another thought was that patients who suffered from anxiety problems would have excessive hand sweating. This was also proven to be wrong as patients can have severe palmar hyperhidrosis (hand sweating) even in the most relaxing moments of their life. Having said that it is still true that anxiety and or socially unpleasant situations can add to this just as they would affect a person without hyperhidrosis because of the secretion of sympathetic like materials/hormones (mediators) from different organs in the body.

Sometimes people sweat heavily because of other illnesses such as hyperthyroidism, psychiatric disorders, menopause, obesity and some medications. These causes must first be ruled out before Primary Hyperhidrosis can be diagnosed. Dr. Reisfeld speaks with potential candidates for the procedure over the phone or in person to review their condition and advise them of their best options.

Sweating Symptoms:

Sweat can occur in many different areas on the body. Most commonly, focal hyperhidrosis occurs on the palms of the hands. In such cases, this condition is known as Palmar Hyperhidrosis. But hyperhidrosis is not just limited to the hands, it can also occur on the face, the soles of the feet (plantar), and in the armpits (axillae).

Regardless of where it occurs, excessive sweating presents an incredible problem to those living with the condition. When the act of shaking hands presents a problem, business and day-to-day life can become very uncomfortable. Many patients report that they are even embarrassed to hold the hands of those they love and those they are closest to. Some patients report that the sweat prevents them from being as sociable as they would like to be, as they are forced to hide in the shadow of hyperhidrosis. Other problems occur such as smeared ink when writing or an inability to use electronic devices such as keyboards and computers. Driving with excessive hand sweating can become hazardous. Hyperhidrosis can extremely affect people socially and functionally in their everyday lives. Thankfully, there is a permanent surgical solution for the condition.

Hyperhidrosis is a constant condition:
By saying this we do not mean that it happens 24 hours a day but it refers to the fact that it happens on a daily basis. For example the vast majority of patients who suffer from hyperhidrosis their hands and feet are dry at night. Very few patients will tell about excessive sweating during night time. The explanation for this is that during night time the sympathetic activity in the body declines to a minimal level. Subsequently blood pressure and pulse rate are also down. Constant sweating also means that it happens in winter as well as in summer. If the patient is afflicted with hyperhidrosis then it becomes a constant issue. In rare occasions a small number of patients will describe reduction in the amount of excessive sweating as they grow older which can happen due to some unknown genetic changes. Having said that the second generation of patients who have this problem most likely their excessive sweating – hyperhidrosis will stay forever.

Questions


Is the anatomy of the sympathetic chain the same for everyone?
No, although the sympathetic chain is similar in most people in some cases it may be different. Only very experienced surgeons will be able to identify the abnormality and solve any issues presented.


Does diabetes have anything to do with hyperhidrosis?
Basically these are two different entities. There is no correlation between diabetes and hyperhidrosis but the patient who has diabetes might also have hyperhidrosis. Uncontrolled diabetes can produce generalized body hyperhidrosis which is different from focal hyperhidrosis (armpits, hands, feet).

Do you have questions about Hyperhidrosis Symptoms and Causes?
Post your comments or questions below and we will do our best to reply.

Other topics of interest:

Do you have any sweat related questions that were not answered here? Would you like to speak with Dr. Reisfeld to answer those questions? To learn more about what we can do for you, contact The Center for Hyperhidrosis by contacting our office.

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Comments

  1. satyam  April 22, 2015

    i get excess sweat on my palm and feet due to which i feel very uncomfortable between my friends , can u please suggest me name of the pills which are effective in this case because i don’t want to undergo a surgery.

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  April 22, 2015

      You can visit the web site sweaty-palms.com where you can read about alternative treatment options for excessive hands and feet sweating.

      reply
  2. Maharshi  April 7, 2015

    Dear Sir,

    I m vitamin D deficient. I am suffering from palm sweating.
    I have also started supplementary of vitamin D.
    so please please tell me that vitamin D deficiency causes palm sweating or not ?

    Please help me.

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  April 7, 2015

      Vit. D deficiency has no correlation to Hyperhidrosis.

      reply
  3. astha  March 22, 2015

    My hand palm nd feet are always wet due to excessive sweating please help me to cure it i feel very much problem nd embarresment please help me to cure this problem

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  March 22, 2015

      In order to give you a detailed answer to yor question about palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis you should call the office (310 557 3037) or talk to a surgeon who has the knowledge to help you out. It depends where you are located. Thanks

      reply
  4. francis  March 18, 2015

    Is there any other way to reduce or cure hyperhidrosis?

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  March 19, 2015

      There are some conservatives/alternatives methods to treat excessive hand and feet sweating. Basically speaking none of those methods are effective. Having said that every patient should try some of those modalities and keep records of the treatment that was tried. You can read all the information about it on the sweaty-palms.com site in the section of alternative methods. You can also call the office at 310 557 3037. Thanks

      reply
  5. Caitlyn  March 12, 2015

    Hand , feet, arms pits sweat and stink. Hands don’t stink but the sweat drips off my elbows. Shoes are ruined after 6 wears….they smell so bad I have to throw them out.
    Would I need to see endocrinologist?

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  March 12, 2015

      What you are describing is a typical presentation of palmar, plantar and axillary hyperhidrosis. I’m almost sure that you don’t need an endocrinologist to diagnose what you have, because most likely your endocrine functions are totally normal. If you still want to see an endocrinologist, that’s OK, but I don’t see any need to.

      reply
  6. Mitchel  February 13, 2015

    Hi I have sweating in the hands feet and underarms. Like someone’s above stated it occurs more when I’m with people or in a state where I feel stressed or nervous. When I am alone It occurs sometimes but more often when I’m with people.
    Does that sounds like hyperhidrosis? Or does it just happen because I’m nervous. I do sweat a lot but not always is the sweat on my palms dripping -more on my feet or underarms
    Please help

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  February 13, 2015

      Hi Mitchel. What you are describing is a typical case of primary hyperhidrosis. It is a genetic issue that affects about 1.5% of the population. You can not control the times you sweat or not. It can happen at any time and obviously being around people increase the lavel of awareness which in turn can cause more excessive hands and feet sweating.The first thing you have to try some conservative measures and if you do not get any help,and you are suffering from excessive sweating than the endoscopic sympathectomy is a good option.

      reply
  7. Ahmed  February 10, 2015

    I suffer from severe sweating of hands and feet.I have noticed that my sweating is stress induced.When I am alone,I sweat very less. As soon as i am in some gathering where I have the fear of people seeing my sweat,I begin to sweat heavily. Looking at my sweat increases my anxiety levels thereby intensifying my sweating even further. It is just a vicious cycle. Calming myself in such situation helps me but thoughts of that people will be seeing my sweat makes me start sweating again.
    I have tries using strong antiperspirants like Drysol but still the situation is not getting better. I have heard of the surgical solutions but to be honest, I do not want to come under knife.Moreover, I am from an Asian country in which no such surgical treatment is available.
    Hopefully you can figure out a solution for my problem

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  February 10, 2015

      What you are describing is a typical case of Palmar and Plantar hyperhidrosis. In the vast majority of the cases conservative treatments are with very little or no help. The ETS and ELS are now the only modalities helping to help with those conditions. I wish you luck to find help.

      reply
  8. Susan meier  February 8, 2015

    I am a female 65 yrs old. My problem is that I have constant sweating, by which I mean both during the winter and summer months, of the back of my head. It can and does happen at different times, while either sitting idle or up moving around whether it be light activity or heavy. It will all of a sudden happen and I am profusely sweating on the back of my head and my hair is dripping wet. This can occur while sitting in church, at a meeting or social event or even while sitting at home. It is very embarrassing and I can’t stop it and it takes about 30 – 45 minutes to stop. Is there aything that I can take to control this problem and is this considered hyperhydrosis? I have had this problem for several years but within the last year or so it has been getting much worse. Can you suggest something I could try to alleviate this very embarrassing problem?

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  February 8, 2015

      Your case is one of cranio-facial hyperhidrosis. In particular it happens to females in your age group.The exact reason is not clear and it is a mistake to offer you a surgical option. In the past there were some surgeons who offered ETS for patients with isolated Facial hyperhidrosis but it proved not to be a good solution. As for my self the only approach I use are some medications. The success rate is limited but one can try it. The name of the medications is in the web site sweaty-palms.com in the section of alternative methods. Your case is unlike palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis where ETS or ELS provide an excellent option. Good luck.

      reply
  9. mehdi  February 1, 2015

    how are , my name mehdi i m suffer from sweating hand ,feet ,and armpit from my childhood so my life is so bleak and you know why . i wonder if there is a solution for that and surgery is more effect solution ….thank you

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  February 1, 2015

      Excessive hands,arm pits and feet sweating is known as Hyperhidrosis. It is a genetic disorder that affects about 1-11/2% of the population. One can try conservative methods such as lotions or pills but with severe cases the success rate is very limited or none. You can read all the information about it at sweaty-palms.com Surgery is the only way to provide with a long term treatment which is very successful. Thanks

      reply
  10. Laura  January 30, 2015

    Hi…I had this problem since I was very young…I wanted to get the surgery but they told me that the changes of it returning were high….how true is that.

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  January 30, 2015

      Hi Laura. Basically speaking it is not true. Like in any other surgical procedure there is always a very slight possibility for a recurrence. In the cases of Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) the recurrence rate is around 1%. It is a very low possibility. The operation is very effective in eliminating excessive Palmar hyperhidrosis. It is less effective with excessive feet sweating(Plantar Hyperhidrosis) but the 2nd operation ,Lumbar Sympathectomy is very effective in eliminating excessive feet sweating. You can call our office for more details.Thanks

      reply
  11. Steven draiz  December 12, 2014

    Hi…who do i go to to check my complete body setup coz i dont know if i hav diabetes or any other body problem

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  December 17, 2014

      Hi Steven, In regards to your brief comment, you did not mention whether or not you are suffering from excessive hand or feet sweating (Hyperhidrosis), basically speaking, those patients suffering from this condition do not have any detectable abnormalities in their blood work. Not knowing any of your personal medical data, you should be checked by your primary care physician. If you do feel that you suffer from Hyperhidrosis, we are happy to speak with you at our office. Feel free to contact us via phone.

      reply
  12. Ken Cox  November 25, 2014

    Is it possible for something to make it happen after a bad gunshot with a bullet still lodged in the body has been for years over 8 yrs?

    reply
    • Center For Hyperhidrosis  November 30, 2014

      Not knowing the exact nature of your injury does not allow me to give you a very precise answer. Basically said, a gunshot injury should not cause excessive hand and feet sweating unless there is a specific area of the injury (spinal cord) that can initiate symptoms of excessive sweating.

      reply

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