05/02/2018 16:10 SAST | Updated 05/02/2018 16:10 SAST

Sweating Excessively? You Might Suffer From Hyperhidrosis

Unpredictable, excessive sweating is actually a recognised medical condition.


A person who excessively and unpredictably sweats may be suffering from a condition called hyperhidrosis. People with this condition may sweat nearly all their waking hours, even when the temperature is cool or when they are at rest. The excessive sweating experienced far exceeds normal sweating – so much so, that it soaks through their clothes or drips off their hands.

"I get nervous even doing a high five, because chances are you will get showered with hand sweat. It's genetic, and my sister and I share the same problem. It means I have trouble holding books, putting on make-up, using electronic devices, preparing food, etc. Just so you know, I'm not opposed to touching you – I just don't want to wet you," explained one Instagram user.

The most common form of hyperhidrosis is called primary focal hyperhidrosis. With this type, the nerves responsible for signalling your sweat glands become overactive, even though they haven't been triggered by physical activity or a rise in temperature, according to the U.S. Mayo Clinic. When you add stress or nervousness, the problem becomes even worse.

Although it may have a hereditary component, there is no medical cause for this type of hyperhidrosis – the excessive sweating is the medical condition itself. This type of sweating occurs on very specific areas of the body, and is usually relatively symmetric. The most common focal areas are hands, feet, underarms and the face or head, notes Sweat Help.

It can occur as early as one's teenage years.

There is also secondary hyperhidrosis, which occurs when excess sweating is due to a medical condition. It's the less common type. Conditions that may lead to heavy sweating include diabetes, menopausal hot flushes, thyroid problems and infections.

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Although there is as yet no cure for hyperhidrosis, it can be managed.

If an underlying medical condition is contributing to the problem, that condition will be treated first. Treatment will focus on controlling excessive sweating if no clear cause can be found.

Medication can be used to control the excessive sweating, but home remedies such as bathing daily, changing your socks often, airing your feet and choosing socks made of natural materials are recommended.