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What is Diaphoresis? Causes & Treatments

October 23, 2020 3 min read

diaphoresis causes

Do you find yourself sweating all over your whole body? Does it happen when you’re not doing something that would usually cause it, like working out or sitting in the hot sun? This may be caused by diaphoresis. The best way to get to the root of the problem is to visit your doctor to talk about your symptoms. While there are many diaphoresis causes, it is wise to determine the source of your excessive sweating so your doctor can recommend treatments.

What is Diaphoresis?

Before we delve into the definition of diaphoresis, let’s first examine a medical condition called hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis is when a person sweats excessively for no apparent reason. It impacts 4% to 5% of the world population. This medical condition is categorized in one of two ways: primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary generalized hyperhidrosis.

Primary focal hyperhidrosis is when a person sweats excessively in focal areas of the body, like the hands, feet, or underarms, and it is believed to be hereditary.

Secondary hyperhidrosis, also known as diaphoresis, is when a person profusely sweats all over the body without provocation. Night sweats may also occur. Diaphoresis may be the result of an underlying medical condition or as a side effect from certain medications. 

What are the Causes of Diaphoresis?

Causes of diaphoresis may include, but are not limited to diabetes, hyperthyroidism, heart attacks, cancer, anaphylaxis, withdrawal, and side effects of certain medications.

Excessive sweating can be an early sign of diabetes. It can also be a symptom of hyperthyroidism, the medical condition in which your thyroid makes too much of the hormone called thyroxine. Some forms of cancer can cause you to profusely sweat all over.

Having a severe allergic reaction can cause you to experience anaphylaxis, which can trigger excessive sweating. Going through withdrawals from alcohol or drugs may cause you to sweat too much. Some medications may cause diaphoresis as a side effect.

Diaphoresis Treatment Options

In some cases, your doctor may be able to change an existing medication that is causing your excessive sweating. If this is not feasible, there are several diaphoresis treatment options and they vary based on diaphoresis causes. Considering the cause, symptoms, and any underlying medical conditions, your doctor will present the most suitable treatment options for you. Some treatments include clinical strength antiperspirant, botox injections, iontophoresis, and medication.

Clinical Strength Antiperspirant

Prescription or clinical strength antiperspirant is an effective non-invasive treatment option. Prescription antiperspirant blocks or clogs sweat glands using aluminum chloride compounds. Clinical antiperspirant uses the highest amount of active ingredients allowed without a prescription. This type of topical treatment may help reduce the amount of sweat you produce. While most antiperspirants are designed to use in the underarm area, your doctor may suggest using it on other areas of the body.

Botox Injections

Another viable treatment option is Botox injections. During this treatment, a shallow injection of Botulinum toxin is made in the affected areas. Then it blocks the nerve signals that activate sweat glands, which eliminates sweating in the area it is injected. Usually, this treatment provides short-term relief, averaging about 4-14 months. Patients typically return for follow-up treatments.


Iontophoresis may also be used to treat diaphoresis. This non-invasive treatment uses electrical currents to block the signals that trigger sweat glands. It works when the affected part of the body, like the feet, are submerged in water. A medical device sends mild currents through the skin via water. It then neutralizes the connection between the nerves and sweat glands.


Your doctor may prescribe oral medication to help with your excessive sweating. There are several types of medications that are known to successfully treat hyperhidrosis or diaphoresis. Two of the most common are oral anticholinergic medications: glycopyrrolate (or Robinul) and oxybutynin. Anticholinergics work by blocking acetylcholine, a chemical messenger that sets off various bodily functions such as sweating. 

While diaphoresis can be challenging to live with, talking with your doctor will help you find the best treatment and lifestyle changes to make symptoms more manageable.

Looking for a way to protect your clothing from sweat marks and stains? Check out the Ejis collection of sweat proof products. Our sweat proof boxer briefs, undershirts and dress socks (available from our shop or on Amazon) are designed to prevent sweat marks and odor from ruining your clothes and shoes. Our boxer briefs and undershirts have a thin waterproof layer in some of the most common areas affected by sweat. And all of our products feature odor-fighting technology made from real silver. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

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