Sweat much? Why it happens and what to do

April 30, 2018 | by Siva Krishnan, MD
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

When we run a mile, we expect to get sweaty.

When it’s a hot day and we’re working outside, sweat is anticipated.

When we’re nervous, sweaty palms are a fairly common reaction.

But when we’re relaxed, cool and comfortable, watching our favorite movie or reading a book and the sweat is soaking through our clothes, something’s off.

It’s called hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating — particularly, sweating when we don’t need our body to cool down.

People with hyperhidrosis may notice symptoms such as:

  • Sweat that’s visible (such as soaking through clothes or beading on your forehead) when you’re not exerting yourself
  • Difficulty doing things like turning a doorknob or writing with a pen because your hands are sweaty.
  • Sweat dripping onto your desk, your papers or your computer keyboard
  • Soft, white, sometimes peeling skin
  • Infections such as athlete’s foot or jock itch on skin that’s typically the most sweaty

There are two types of hyperhidrosis. Some people have primary hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating that begins in childhood that is not caused by another, underlying condition or medication. Primary hyperhidrosis is usually focused on particular areas of the body, such as the palms, feet, underarms and head or face.

Others have secondary hyperhidrosis that’s brought on by another condition, such as diabetes, gout, menopause or hyperthyroidism.

There are a number of reasons people develop hyperhidrosis. You’re more likely to experience it if a relative also sweats (primary hyperhidrosis), or you have a medical condition or take medication or supplements that cause it (secondary hyperhidrosis).

If you’ve been dealing with excess sweat for some time (and it’s interfering with your daily life), there is treatment available.

A dermatologist should assess your symptoms, then help you decide what may work best. From antiperspirants to Botox and medication, there are a number of methods that can help dry up the sweat.

Before you see a dermatologist, try tracking your symptoms. This will help expose anything that may trigger a sweat session, such as feelings of anxiety or ingesting caffeine, spicy food or alcohol. Bring your notes to the doctor appointment.

Our experienced dermatologists help you care for your skin and provide personalized treatments to meet your specific needs. Learn more.

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