Managing Your Excessive Sweating

HyperhidrosisSweating is normal. It helps prevent our bodies from overheating. But, if you are sweating to the point that you are ruining your clothes, you could have a problem called hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is the medical name for too much sweating. This is when you sweat in unusual situations, like in cooler weather. You may sweat so much that it drips off your hands and soaks through your clothing. Not only can excessive sweating disrupt your normal daily activities, but it can also cause social anxiety and embarrassment. But the good news is, it can be treated.

What Causes Hyperhidrosis?

Sweating is a natural response to cool the body down. With hyperhidrosis, you sweat more than usual for no apparent reason. The cause for this depends on what type of hyperhidrosis you have.

Primary focal hyperhidrosis

This is the type of sweating that is hereditary. About 30 to 50 percent of people that have this condition have a family history of excessive sweating. It usually starts during childhood. With this condition, there is excessive sweating on the head, feet, hands, and underarms.

Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis

This type of excessive sweating is caused by a medical condition or is a side effect from a medication. This usually happens in adulthood. With this type of hyperhidrosis, you could sweat all over your body, sweat excessively in just one area, and even sweat while you are sleeping.

Here are some conditions that could cause hyperhidrosis

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Adrenal gland disorders
  • Stroke
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Menopause
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Lung disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis or HIV

Here are some medications that could cause hyperhidrosis

  • Desipramine (Norpramin)
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor)
  • Protriptyline
  • Pilocarpine for dry mouth
  • Zinc dietary supplements

Symptoms of Excessive Sweating

Sweating all over or sweating excessively in one area may be a sign that you have hyperhidrosis. Here are some other symptoms of excessive sweating: 

  • Excessive sweating that has occurred for at least six months without an apparent reason
  • Sweating that disrupts your daily routine
  • Sweat that occurs on both sides of your body around the same time
  • Excessive sweating on the face, hands, feet, and underarms – at least once episode a week
  • Excessive sweating that began when you were younger than 25 years old
  • Sweating that causes emotional distress or social withdrawal
  • A family history of hyperhidrosis

You will need to see a doctor for a more accurate diagnosis of hyperhidrosis.

When Should I See a Doctor About My Excessive Sweating?

Excessive sweating can be signs of a serious medical condition. Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Sweating and weight loss
  • Sweating that mainly occurs while you sleep
  • Sweating that comes with a fever, chest pain, shortness of breath, and rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing while sweating
  • Sweating that is accompanied by a change in mental status, like confusion or consciousness
  • Sweating and chest pains, or feeling pressure in the chest area
  • Sweating that is prolonged and unexplained

How is Hyperhidrosis Diagnosed?

In most cases, your doctor can diagnose your hyperhidrosis based on your medical history and a physical examination. If your doctor sees the need to perform any tests, there are several that can be done to diagnose hyperhidrosis. Blood or urine tests are the most common. There are other tests that can be used to diagnose the condition, but aren’t used in daily routine practice:

  • Starch-iodine test – iodine is put on a sweaty area, and starch is sprinkled on it. If the starch turns blue, you have excessive sweating.
  • Paper test – a special type of paper is put on a sweaty area. The paper is weighed after the sweat is absorbed. If the paper is heavy, then you’ve sweated excessively.
  • Thermoregulatory test – a special powder that is sensitive to moisture is applied to the skin. If the powder changes color, then hyperhidrosis is confirmed.
  • Sauna or sweat cabin test – If you have hyperhidrosis, your palms will sweat more than expected while you’re in a sauna or sweat cabin.

Hyperhidrosis Treatment Options

There are several different ways you can treat hyperhidrosis. This can range from prescriptions to home remedies. Here are some of the ways that people have found relief from excessive sweating:

Specialized antiperspirant

An antiperspirant can be prescribed that contains aluminum chloride. This type of deodorant is stronger than those that are available over the counter.


This is a procedure that delivers low-level currents while you’re submerged in water. The currents are delivered to your hands, feet, or armpits to temporarily block your sweat glands.

Anticholinergic drugs

These drugs prevent acetylcholine from working. Acetylcholine is a chemical your body produces that helps stimulate your sweat glands. These drugs usually take about two weeks to kick in.

Botox (botulinum toxin)

These Botox injections are used to block the nerves that stimulate your sweat glands. It usually takes several injections before this treatment becomes effective.


If sweating is happening in just one of your armpits, then surgery may be able to treat your condition. One option is to have one of the sweat glands in your armpits removed. Another option is called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. With this procedure, the nerves that carry messages to your sweat glands will be severed.

Home remedies

Here are some remedies you can try at home to reduce sweating

  • Use over the counter antiperspirants on areas that sweat the most
  • Bath on a daily basis to get rid of bacteria
  • Wear shoes and socks made from natural materials
  • Let your feet breathe
  • Change your socks frequently
  • Acupuncture

Before you try any home remedies, make sure to see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical cause for your excessive sweating.

Treat Your Hyperhidrosis at Winston Salem Dermatology

Are you struggling with hyperhidrosis? The condition can be treatable. We can diagnose the cause of your excessive sweating and help you develop a treatment plan to manage your systems. Don’t let sweating affect your lifestyle by causing discomfort or embarrassment. Call Winston Salem Dermatology today at (336) 774-8636 and see what we can do for your hyperhidrosis.