What is it?
Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) can be localised or affect the whole body. There are different kinds of hyperhidrosis.
Localised symmetrical hyperhidrosis is the most common form. It affects a particular part of the body (for example the hands or the feet) on both sides. It usually begins in childhood or adolescence. The cause is unknown.
Generalised hyperhidrosis affects the whole body. It can be caused by other conditions, such as diabetes, an overactive thyroid, infections and the menopause.
Anxiety can also trigger or worsen hyperhidrosis.
How is it diagnosed?
A doctor can assess for the different kinds of hyperhidrosis. They can also test for underlying problems such as thyroid problems, diabetes and infections.
How is it treated?
Treatment depends on the type of hyperhidrosis. If there is an underlying cause, treating that will most likely resolve the sweating. If not, commercial aluminium chloride antiperspirants can prove helpful. Failing that, many other options are available. These include Botulinum toxin (Botox®); this can be injected in very small controlled doses to block the nerves which activate the sweat glands. This treatment usually works very well and can last up to 6-12 months, after which the treatment can be repeated. Another option for localised sweating is Ionthophoresis treatment which involves a procedure that sends mild electric currents through water into the skin using a device. If sweating is more generalised, anti-cholinergic tablets (tablets that block the nerves which stimulate sweat glands) may be effective.