Sweating is a natural phenomenon, but it can be super embarrassing. Trying to shake your hand with someone, but your hands are dripping wet just because you’re nervous. Or sitting in the exam hall with your shirt showing those deep dark circles of sweat marks can be annoying to manage. Well, if you have been in embarrassing situations like this and wondered why this was happening – you are at the right place.
While sweating is a normal body phenomenon, excessive sweating is not. Apart from being super embarrassing, it can also be quite complicated and affect your health along with your social life. If you have also been suffering from excessive sweating and want to know why it’s happening and how you can treat this, then this article is just for you.
Today, we are talking about hyperhidrosis – also known as excessive sweating, along with its causes, harmful effects, and solutions to help you get rid of these super annoying problems. So without further ado, let’s go.
What is Hyperhidrosis?
As we said above, hyperhidrosis is actually excessive sweating. It is more than just sweating after a hardcore workout or standing under the sun. Hyperhidrosis causes individuals to sweat beyond their physical needs. Those with hyperhidrosis have extremely active sweat glands, and hence they sweat without exerting their bodies – in fact, for no reason ,which is sometimes not appropriate for all circumstances.
Excessive sweating can sometimes also be harmless, but other times it can be a medical condition that patients need to be aware of and deal with accordingly. Hyperhidrosis can be a problem present from birth, but it can also develop later in life for some people. Most of the time, the condition is triggered during teenage years when children go through puberty – and sticks with them for life. However, unfortunately, there is no apparent cause behind the underlying conditions causing this problem.
Types of Hyperhidrosis
Two types of hyperhidrosis determine where and when a person may experience excessive sweating in their body. The two types of hyperhidrosis are primary focal or localized hyperhidrosis and secondary general or generalized hyperhidrosis.
Primary Focal or Localized Hyperhidrosis
Quite apparent from the name, primal focal or localized hyperhidrosis is when a person experiences excessive sweating in specific body areas. This type of hyperhidrosis affects about 1 to 3% of the population suffering from the problem, and the issue usually surfaces in either childhood or adolescence.
The symptoms of primary hyperhidrosis are quite specific – it only affects certain parts of the body, and in most cases, it’s the hand, feet, underarms, head, groin, and face. These symptoms are also symmetrical, so they happen on both sides equally. People that have primary hyperhidrosis sweat through their eccrine sweat glands, which make up a majority of the sweat glands in our body and are mostly found in the body parts mentioned above.
This is supposed as the only probable reason why primary hyperhidrosis affects these certain body parts only. Other than that is no specific cause behind hyperhidrosis except that doctors believe it is a slight malfunction in the nervous system. People mostly experience the symptoms when they are emotional or nervous, which shows this could be a result of hormones. Besides that, there can be evidence found that it runs in the family. Lastly, primary hyperhidrosis is often not complicated or harmful except that it’s only embarrassing and can be annoying for the person.
Secondary General or Generalized Hyperhidrosis.
Contrary to primary hyperhidrosis, generalized hyperhidrosis causes a person to sweat all over the body. It is the less common type of hyperhidrosis and affects a smaller population, but it can be more complicated than primary hyperhidrosis. Generalized hyperhidrosis is medically more serious and should be treated as it is mostly a result of an underlying medical or health condition.
The symptoms of generalized hyperhidrosis are also pretty clear – it is characterized by excessive sweating in the whole body, not just your hands and feet, and other body parts mentioned above. The biggest telltale symptoms of the condition are sweating in your sleep or waking up in a sweat.
Numerous medical conditions can be a possible cause behind this kind of hyperhidrosis, such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Respiratory failure
- Alcohol abuse or substance abuse
- Heart failure or heart attack
Other than this, some medications cause excessive sweating and may lead to hyperhidrosis. Therefore it is important to contact a doctor to rule out any possibilities as soon as you experience the symptoms – if you have trouble visiting the doctor, you can also contact a virtual doctor for help.
Compilations and Harmful Effects of Hyperhidrosis
As we said, hyperhidrosis is not always complicated, and other than being embarrassing and annoying and negatively impacting your social life, it has no direct effect on your physical health. However, in some conditions, especially in the case of generalized hyperhidrosis, it can lead to some complications such as:
- Bacterial infections: This can appear near hair follicles that trap the sweat or between the toes
- Nail infections: Sweat gives birth to fungus and bacteria, and sweat accumulated between nails or skin around the toenails can catch an infection
- Heat rash: Sweating can lead to itching, which causes red skin rash and often leads to prickling or stinging. This can also develop heat rash in sweat glands that become blocked by trapping perspiration under the skin.
- Warts: Growth of skin caused due to HPV (human papillomavirus).
If you believe you are experiencing sweating more than normal, then it’s important you take it seriously. Excessive sweating can be a dangerous and sometimes harmful condition that not only indicates an underlying health condition but also may result in other complications in your body.
Therefore, it’s best to address hyperhidrosis (aka excessive sweating) at the earliest. If you are having trouble reaching your usual family doctor or finding it difficult to make it to the hospital, you shouldn’t worry. TelMDCare allows you to find online doctors who can treat you even if you do not have insurance.