HOW TO TELL IF YOUR EXCESS SWEATING COULD BE HYPERHIDROSIS

Before we start analyzing the problems connected with hyperhidrosis, we should better cite a definition of the term.

According to My Dr.com.au:

Hyperhidrosis is the condition of excess sweating. Sweating is our body’s normal mechanism to cool itself, but some people produce more sweat than is required for cooling – called hyperhidrosis.

UCSF Health gives an overview of hyperhidrosis describing the symptoms also:

Hyperhidrosis is characterized by abnormal, profuse sweating that can affect one or a combination of the following:

  • Hands, called palmar hyperhidrosis
  • Armpits, called axillary hyperhidrosis
  • Feet, called plantar hyperhidrosis

If you go back in the school years you may remember a classmate whose palms were sweating every time you were taking an exam or when he/she had to talk in public. For example, in cases when he/ she had a presentation, showing slides and explaining at the same time. Those moments should be the most uncomfortable ones for that person who was feeling a considerable amount of sweat in certain areas of his or her body, while he/ she had to perform well at the same time. In this case we may speak about hyperhidrosis.

Why is this happening?  UCSF Health mentions:

The sympathetic nervous system controls the sweating throughout the body. Often there is no identifiable cause, but excessive activity of the sympathetic nervous system is believed to be responsible in the majority of those affected. The sympathetic nervous system usually responds strongly in situations of fear or stress.

Now, it is the time to answer the question: How do we understand if the excessive sweating could be hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is diagnosed by physical examination, as it is mentioned in both the UCSF Health and the American Academy of Dermatology / Association.

People who feel that they are sweating profusely would be advisable to ask themselves:

  1. How long do you sense this feeling of excessive sweating?
  2. Which areas are the affected ones?
  3. How often do you feel that the quantity of sweat is more than the normal?

Consequently, when you become nervous or too hot it is likely to start sweating, according to the American Academy of Dermatology / Association, but if you sweat for no obvious reason it may mean that you suffer from hyperhidrosis.

We must mention that there are two types of hyperhidrosis and thus, there are various types of treatment. As we make an effort to analyze  hyperhidrosis, we should take into consideration that we may only cite what we know from medical sites, associations, and of course, our experience with people: friends, classmates, etc.

Here are the two types/categories of hyperhidrosis, mentioned in My Dr.com.au:

Primary hyperhidrosis

In This, the cause of the excess sweating is not known. It often makes its appearance during childhood or adolescence, usually affecting the palms, soles, armpits, or face and scalp. In rare occasions it may affect the whole body.

Secondary hyperhidrosis

This occurs when the excess sweating is due to an underlying medical condition. It is possible to affect the whole body. Some of the possible causes may be: diabetes, an overactive thyroid gland, obesity, menopause, infections, some medicines, such as antidepressants, in rare occasions some tumors, and other factors that we will not mention now.

As we mentioned before, sweat makes its appearance easily, when stress is implicated. Exercise and intense activity can also be the source of sweating. Let us ponder what happens when we speak about hyperhidrosis? Are there different levels of the symptoms of hyperhidrosis or not? The answer is yes, there is a gradual appearance of  symptoms of hyperhidrosis, as there are different sources.

We spoke about symptoms, diagnosis and types of hyperhidrosis, but we did not mention anything about treatment.

Since hyperhidrosis is a medical issue, in order to speak about its treatment it will require some special terminology, and for this reason we will mention it briefly. 

Hyperhidrosis and Treatment

While reading about possible ways to reduce sweating and the sense it brings, we have observed that there are two kinds of therapies: One more practical and self -centered and one related to medication and less natural than the first one. Of course, the nature of the treatment corresponds to the symptoms and severity of each case. We have selected some tips that anyone may apply in his daily life so as to see some improvement.

Self – centered care for hyperhidrosis as it is mentioned in My Dr.com.au:

  • Daily bathing
  • Clothing and footwear made of natural material that permit skin to breathe
  • Changing socks often
  • Rotating shoes so as not to wear the same pair two days continuously
  • Going barefoot if possible

As it is expected, antiperspirants play an important role regarding hyperhidrosis and how to reduce its annoying symptoms. In this case, each one should bear in mind that the right type of antiperspirant is advisable, otherwise, it may cause irritations or it will not help in reducing the effect of hyperhidrosis.

According to My Dr.com.au, other treatments that will only be mentioned and not analyzed due to containing too much specialized detail, are: iontophoresis with tap water, anticholinergic medicines and botulinum toxin.

A last resort to fight hyperhidrosis are surgical treatments, which may be considered in cases where other treatments could not offer any help.

Our conclusion, after having read the information provided by experts, is that every case of hyperhidrosis is different and the persons who experience symptoms of hyperhidrosis or similar, can try various methods to reduce them. It is highly likely that, in some cases, it may be just an expression of nervousness and stress and not a severe case of hyperhidrosis. In case it is a hyperhidrosis, after having been examined and being in position to know the origin and severity (grade of severity) of their condition, there are many methods to control it, always following doctors’ advice.

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Alexandra Asvesta

Alexandra Asvesta is a Linguist, Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages and an author interested in various subjects. Lately, she has focused on topics regarding health and quality of life, such as sports, yoga, Pilates, swimming, sailing, etc. and their contribution to mind and body. She believes in the beneficial properties of the Mediterranean diet and the ingredients used to prepare a nice, tasty and healthy food.

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