What Is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a common condition, characterized by excessive sweating, that can have a substantially negative impact on one’s quality of life.
Focal (or primary) hyperhidrosis commonly affects the axillae, palms, soles, or face.
Generalized hyperhidrosis involves the entire body and is usually related to an underlying condition.
Hyperhidrosis Is a Common Condition
In a survey mailed to 150,000 households, 2.9% reported that they experienced excessive or abnormal/unusual sweating.
About half reported axillary hyperhidrosis.Approximately one third of individuals with axillary hyperhidrosis reported that either their sweating is barely tolerable and frequently interferes with daily activities or is intolerable and always interferes with daily activities.
Hyperhidrosis affects a much larger proportion of the US population than previously reported.
Focal hyperhidrosis is mostly primary/idiopathic. Usual sites include plantar, palmar, axillae, and face; onset is mostly at puberty/early adulthood.
Generalized hyperhidrosis is usually secondary in nature and can be caused by:
- Drugs, toxins, substance abuse
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Respiratory failure
- Endocrine/metabolic (eg, carcinoid tumor, hypoglycemia, menopause)
Diagnosis of Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis
Diagnosis of primary focal hyperhidrosis can be made on the presence of visible and excessive sweating of at least 6 months’ duration without apparent cause, along with at least two of the following characteristics:
- Bilateral and relatively symmetric
- Impairs daily activities
- Frequency of at least one episode per week
- Age at onset: younger than 25 year
- Positive family history
- Cessation of focal sweating during sleep
Treatment Options for Hyperhidrosis
Treatment options for hyperhidrosis include topical antiperspirants, botulinum toxin type A, oral anticholinergic agents (eg, glycophyrrolate), iontophoresis (passage of ions by means of an electrical current into the skin), or surgery (eg, local sweat gland resection, endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy)