Everyone sweats. It’s a natural bodily function. However, if you find yourself dripping with sweat for no apparent reason, there’s a good chance you could have hyperhidrosis. Also informally referred to as "excessive sweating," hyperhidrosis is a health condition that impacts 4% to 5% of the population, causing them to sweat as much as four to five times more than the average person.
Living with excessive sweating creates feelings of embarrassment and emotional pain, yet this disorder often goes untreated because people don’t realize they have a medical condition with conventional treatments available.
In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about hyperhidrosis – what causes it, how to manage it, and more.
This article was originally published in February 2019, and updated in May 2020.
While it's hard to remember it when you're suffering from excessive sweat, sweat helps maintain a consistent temperature by cooling your body as the moisture evaporates.
Two types of sweat glands make up the 4 million glands in the human body:
The eccrine glands are most affected by hyperhidrosis. Your nerves activate sweat glands based on triggers including body temperature, physical activity, emotional distress, and hormones. If you’re struggling with hyperhidrosis, you’ll sweat regardless of your surrounding conditions or your emotional state.
So what exactly is hyperhidrosis? Excessive sweating, usually diagnosed as hyperhidrosis, will fall into one of two categories:
If you’re uncertain whether you have primary or secondary hyperhidrosis, we've put together a quiz to help you try and understand what to bring up with your doctor. Our quiz is based on informal self-diagnosis questions suggested by Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, St. Louis dermatologist and President of the International Hyperhidrosis Society.
People with hyperhidrosis consider it a deeply personal condition and embarrassing. It’s also not commonly known that excessive sweating is a recognized disorder, so more than half of those with the condition fail to seek diagnosis or treatment.
Also, many medical professionals are not as informed as they could be about the condition, which results in hyperhidrosis going undiagnosed or even misdiagnosed.
Hyperhidrosis can be hereditary, and it affects both men and women, with approximately 1 in 20 people suffering.
Excessive sweating tends to start in childhood or adolescence with underarm issues beginning in the late teens. Palm and sole sweating often begin around the age of thirteen. However, some people struggle with excessive sweating from a younger age, or notice it doesn't develop until later in their teenage years.
Hyperhidrosis is a lifelong condition with treatments and products available to help you manage life with the discomfort of excessive sweating.
If you’ve been worried about your sweating and what can be considered "excessive sweating," you’re likely producing an irregular amount of sweat.
Start by asking yourself:
All of these issues and extra considerations are commonly reported by people who have hyperhidrosis.
Excessive sweating tends to occur most in the following areas:
There are many ways you can learn to cope with excessive sweating. Of those who have hyperhidrosis, 97% try multiple different methods to prevent or reduce sweating, including:
But these aren't permanent fixes or treatments for hyperhidrosis – they're just ways to cope without trying to improve the situation. There are many treatments and products designed to help with excessive sweating; let's dive into what your treatment options are and how much they cost.
If you decide on medical intervention to treat your hyperhidrosis, your doctor might decide to provide the following to help reduce sweating:
If this is something you're open to, we've got a comprehensive breakdown of hyperhidrosis medications including all of the options and price estimates for each.
If you don’t see the desired results from medications, your doctor may suggest a more dramatic option to try and stop your hyperhidrosis for good. Some of the elective surgical treatments that have been successful in treating hyperhidrosis include:
If you're not keen on a medical intervention right away, there are some non-medical treatment options for hyperhidrosis that you can try first.
It's hard to believe, but you could be misusing your antiperspirant (here's how to do it right). Start a night-time regime with a shower and then an application of antiperspirant to dry skin. Since you’re less active during sleep, an antiperspirant can do its job overnight. Reapply in the morning and throughout the day as you wish.
For best results, it is also advisable to apply it to smooth skin. So remove or trim hair as needed for antiperspirant to contact the skin. Don’t apply antiperspirant directly to freshly shaved skin, and test new antiperspirants in a small area first to avoid skin irritation.
While dietary and lifestyle changes won't stop sweating completely, there are some easy and non-medical changes you can make in your life that will help. Here are some options:
Making small wardrobe adjustments can help you manage how noticeable your excessive sweating is to others. In general, it's good advice to purchase clothes made from breathable fabrics to help your skin stay cool and decrease sweat. Look for moisture-wicking fabrics when purchasing clothing, too.
You can also add sweat proof clothing to your wardrobe to help combat the impact of excessive sweating. Ejis sweat proof boxer briefs and undershirts (available on our shop or on Amazon) are designed specifically for people with hyperhidrosis.
Our clothes are made of super soft micro modal material fused with real odor-fighting silver and an ultra-thin waterproof layer that will protect your butt, back of the legs, crotch, back, and armpits. The line also includes Ejis dress socks, to combat sweaty feet.
There are some simple home remedies for hyperhidrosis that you can try too
Although hyperhidrosis can be challenging to live with, these are a few of several remedies you can try to limit the adverse effects of excessive sweating. Now you're all set with everything you need to know about hyperhidrosis!
There are many approaches to combat excessive underarm sweating from clinical strength antiperspirants to natural remedies. But what happens if you’ve tried them all without successful results? Maybe it’s time to talk to your doctor about a clinical procedure. This article will look at a non-invasive treatment called miraDry.