Abnormal increased sweating is known as hyperhidrosis. It can develop during childhood or later in life and can affect any part of the body, but the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and or the armpits are the most commonly affected areas. This excessive sweating may occur even during cool weather, but it is worse during warm weather and when a person is under emotional stress.

Some known causes include:

  • Obesity
  • Hormonal changes associated with menopause (hot flushes)
  • Illnesses associated with fever, such as infection or malaria
  • An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications.

In the majority of cases, no investigations are required to diagnose hyperhidrosis. Occasionally, a blood test for thyroid disease is recommended.

Treatment for excessive sweating depends on the cause. This may include:

  • Reducing weight – if obese
  • Medical management – to reduce the hot flushes of menopause
  • Antiperspirant applications – sprays, powders and roll-ons
  • Iontophoresis – the activity of sweat glands is temporarily reduced by passing a low-level electric current through the skin
  • Anti-wrinkle injections (Allergan Only) – to paralyse sweat glands. The effect from a single injection lasts six to nine months following a starch test.
  • Surgery – to the nerves that control sweat glands may be considered in severe cases where all other treatments have been unsuccessful.

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