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Dermatologist Scottsdale AZ
Scottsdale Dermatologist Dr. LaTowsky

Hyperhidrosis or Excessive Sweating

What is hyperhidrosis?
The word “hyperhidrosis” means too much (hyper) sweating (hidrosis). This abnormal and excessive sweating commonly affects the armpits, palms and soles of the feet and can have a severe impact on quality of life.

Sweating is normal and necessary to cool the body down and prevent the body from overheating.  Sweating, therefore, when it is too hot, when one is nervous, or during and immediately after strenuous physical activity is normal.  However, when sweating occurs uncontrollably and unpredictably, even in cool weather or with lack of physical activity, the probable cause is hyperhidrosis.

What are the symptoms of hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is generally the cause when one or more of the following occurs:

  • Visible sweating:  Beads of sweat are visible- i.e. on the face or sweating through clothes- even though the person has not exerted himself, is not stressed and is sitting or otherwise not active.
  • Sweating interfering with everyday activities: For example, if excessive sweat makes it difficult to hold a pen.
  • Skin turning soft, white and peeling in certain areas: Occurs because of skin staying wet- i.e. sweating- for prolonged periods of time
  • Skin infections: Happens in areas of excessive sweating; athlete’s feet and/or jock itch are common skin infections.

Are there several types of hyperhidrosis?
Yes, two types of hyperhidrosis exist.

  • Primary or focal hyperhidrosis:  Excessive sweating affecting one or a few areas of the body, usually beginning when the patient is a child or adolescent.
    • Primary hyperhidrosis can also result in emotional impacts, especially in children and adolescents.  For example, a young student may be embarrassed raising his hand in class due to excess sweating.
  • Secondary hyperhidrosis: Excessive sweating resulting from an underlying cause, such as a medical condition or side effect from a medication or supplement.  Medical conditions that can cause abnormal sweating, especially while sleeping, include:
    • Diabetes
    • Frostbite
    • Gout
    • Hyperthyroidism
    • Injury, such as head trauma
    • Menopause
    • Obesity
    • Tumor

How is hyperhidrosis treated?
Through a physical exam and possibly medical tests, we will work with you to identify the root cause and develop a personalized treatment plan.  Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following:

  • Antiperspirants
  • Botulinum toxin injections (Botox)
  • Prescription medications
  • Removal of sweat glands
  • Treatment with medical device

If you or a loved one suffers from excessive or abnormal sweating, please call and schedule an appointment with one of our providers.

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