Excess Sweating

Everyone sweats to a certain extent. It is the body's normal way to get rid of excess heat and control the temperature. Sweating is a common feature in most individuals who exercise, jog, run or do any excessive physical activity. However, there are some individuals who sweat despite having no physical activity. There is constant perspiration most commonly in the axilla or on the hands. This condition is called excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis.

The hyperhidrosis occurs despite the absence of heat, stress or fever. Localized or focal hyperhidrosis causes appreciable social problems in both private and professional life. Profuse sweating can result in skin breakdown and secondary microbial infections Excessive sweating is classified as either localized or systemic. This is very important to know as the treatments are very different. Current treatments for axillary hyperhidrosis are often ineffective, short acting, or not well tolerated.

Focal excessive sweating (localized hyperhidrosis)

In focal sweating, the excessive sweating occurs either in the palms, soles, axilla or face. It may occur on one or both sides of the body. The rest of the body acts normally and does not perspire. The most classic example of localized sweating is the axilla (armpit).

Axillary Hyperhidrosis (Armpit Sweating) is associated with excessive dripping sweating in the armpits. If the clothes are not frequently changes, an odor is always present. The amount of sweating is extremely difficult to control and does not respond to any deodorants and anti perspirants.

While the presence of axillary sweat and bromhidrosis (odor) is normal in most individuals after the age of puberty, some individuals experience excessive sweating that pours down the arms and soaks the clothes, creating a socially embarrassing situation. Because of the constant wetness and staining from the sweat, these poor individuals are not able to wear clothes of certain fabrics or colors. The condition when severe can lead to social isolation and depression. It is always worsened in the presence of anxiety and stress.

Why localized seating occurs in one part of the body is not known and is not associated with any other disorders. It appears that the sweat glands in these areas become hypersensitive or overactive than normal. Frequently, this condition may run in families but no genetic linkage factor has been identified. The condition can develop at any age but most individuals complain about the sweating in their late teens. Both men and women appear to be equally affected.

The condition does vary in severity with time. It is silent for some time and then starts up again. The sweating is usually worsened by stress, emotional lability spicy foods and heat. The sweating is always made worse by anxiety. In most cases the triggers of sweating remain unknown. The majority of individuals who develop this disorder are under the age of 25. The condition appears to occur in 3 out 100 people. It is a long term condition, however, a significant number of individuals to improve with time.

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