Hyperhidrosis is the medical name for excessive sweating. Maybe you've heard of the condition – maybe you haven't. In either case, hyperhidrosis can disrupt your life, affect your career, and even lead to feelings of isolation. There are a number of causes, and almost as many symptoms and ways that hyperhidrosis can present in each person.
If you sweat a lot and have never spoken to your doctor about it, now's the time to learn more. We've built a checklist below of the types of hyperhidrosis, as well as the causes of each type, where people experience hyperhidrosis on their body, and the common symptoms of hyperhidrosis. In the end, you'll be able to take a quiz to equip yourself for visiting your doctor to discuss hyperhidrosis and treatment options.
There are two categories of hyperhidrosis:
Let's break each one down further to help you understand them.
Primary or focal hyperhidrosis is so named because it typically affects one or more parts of the body specifically. As such, each area of the body has a more specific name for the hyperhidrosis condition:
If you hav excessive sweating in one or more of these body areas, you may be diagnosed with primary hyperhidrosis.
Additionally, the following is also generally true for most individuals struggling with hyperhidrosis:
Again, if these sound familiar, bring them up with your doctor to see if the primary hyperhidrosis diagnosis – and the treatment options – can help you better manage your sweat.
Secondary or generalized hyperhidrosis causes sweating throughout the entire body. It is related to an underlying medical condition or use of certain medications.
Common medical conditions that can co-occur with secondary hyperhidrosis include:
There are also a number of medications that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis, including:
If you have one or more of these medical conditions – or are taking one or more of the listed medications – and have been struggling with increased sweating as a result, this is worth bringing up to your doctor.
To be even more specific, there are a number of signs and symptoms of hyperhidrosis:
Typically, if you struggle with a number of these, your doctor will likely discuss hyperhidrosis treatment methods with you, as well as working to identify which type of hyperhidrosis you are dealing with.
We've put together a short quiz to help you understand better whether your sweating habits may be hyperhidrosis, and which type. Note that this is not a medical diagnostic tool, but it can help you better understand your condition – and you'll receive a checklist you can use to speak with your doctor in the future.
Now that you know more about the signs and symptoms of hyperhidrosis, we encourage you to take the next step: Speak to your doctor about your excessive sweating and learn about your medical options to manage hyperhidrosis.
This post was originally published in February 2019, and was updated in September 2020.