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Hyperhidrosis: Overview


(Excessive sweating)

What is hyperhidrosis?

This is a medical condition that causes excessive sweating. The word “hyperhidrosis” (hi-purr-hi-DROE-sis) means too much (hyper) sweating (hidrosis).

Excessive sweating happens when a person sweats more than is necessary. Yes, it’s necessary to sweat. Sweating cools the body, which prevents us from overheating. People who have hyperhidrosis, however, sweat when the body does not need cooling.

Many people who have hyperhidrosis sweat from one or two areas of the body. Most often, they sweat from their palms, feet, underarms, or head. While the rest of the body remains dry, one or two areas may drip with sweat.

Excessive sweating

It’s normal to sweat when you get nervous or too hot. If you sweat for no apparent reason, you may have hyperhidrosis.

This excessive sweating can interfere with everyday activities. Hands can be so sweaty that it becomes difficult to turn a doorknob or use a computer. Sweat from the underarms often soaks through clothes, causing obvious sweat marks. Because the skin is often wet, skin infections can develop.


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References
Bellet J. “Hyperhidrosis and hypertrichosis in children and adolescents.” Focus session presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology: Miami. Mar 2013.

Walling H. “Primary hyperhidrosis increases the risk of cutaneous infection: A case-control study of 387 patients.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009;61:242-6.

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