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Types of Hyperhidrosis

Book Review
July 5, 2012
Stop Sweating and Start Living - Mike Ramsey

I have absolutely no hesitation in saying "Stop Sweating and Start Living" will soon put antiperspirant companies out of business.

I was reluctant at first to endorse any product but this book was different. The remedies it suggests are all-natural and target the root causes of problem sweating.

My only complaint is that it is only available as an instant access ebook. It can't be purchased in bookstores or on Amazon.com, but I'm sure the instant download feature is popular with people overseas and those who are ready to get started.

I strongly recommend "Stop Sweating and Start Living" to anyone who sweats excessively in the underarm, hand, foot, face or back areas.

- James Chambers

The word hyperhidrosis originates from the Latin hidrosis (perspiration) and Greek hidros (sweat). As the prefix ‘hyper’ indicates hyperhidrosis is a term used to describe excessive sweating in a particular area. This is a medical condition and may require treatment but many people suffering from this condition are unaware of its symptoms and therefore think they have a severe sweat problem rather than a specific malady.

Broadly hyperhidrosis can be categorized into two types: primary and secondary. Before we progress further let me give you a brief idea of each. Later in the article I will discuss the four major areas of the body that are typically more susceptible to primary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating induced by natural causes) than others.

Primary hyperhidrosis

When your excessive sweating is not caused by any other medical condition or is not a side effect of any drugs that you may be under you are suffering from primary hyperhidrosis. You may also find that the condition is described as focal hyperhidrosis. In such cases the excessive sweating occurs on specific (or ‘focal’) parts of the body the most affected areas being the hands feet underarms and face.

Research has shown that the first signs of primary hyperhidrosis are often detected in childhood or early adolescence. Plenty of sufferers tend to sweat less excessively when at rest or asleep though that is not always the case. There is also a theory that the sweat problem is hereditary though there has been no conclusive research on this.

Secondary Hyperhidrosis

This type of excessive sweating (also called generalized hyperhidrosis) is caused by a usually unrelated medical condition (e.g. menopause) or is a side effect of a particular drug. In other words it is everything that primary hyperhidrosis is not. There are two other significant differences: people suffering from secondary hyperhidrosis typically experience sweating on ‘generalized’ or larger parts of the body and they usually experience the excessive sweating even while at rest.

Areas of the body most vulnerable to primary hyperhidrosis

Most commonly primary hyperhidrosis affects your face underarm hands and feet. There is a name for each kind of hyperhidrosis affecting these particular areas so I will take them one by one:

Facial Hyperhidrosis

Most commonly facial hyperhidrosis causes a person to sweat profusely on the face to the extent that it is literally dripping with sweat even after mild exertion. The condition affects both men and women and can occur on the scalp as well as the face.

Common myths about facial hyperhidrosis include a belief that it happens only to overweight people and that many sufferers experience facial hyperhidrosis as a result of nervousness or social embarrassment. However facial hyperhidrosis is commonly held to be a genetic affliction unrelated to external causes.

It causes acute discomfiture to those that suffer from it and they typically avoid outdoor situations to reduce the excessive sweating. Women tend to wear their hair short and avoid using make-up because it runs. Additionally sufferers also experience stress owing to the fear that their clothing (especially collars) will become soaked with sweat and often experience burning and reddening of the eyes as the salty sweat seeps into them.

While most of those affected have to carry a face towel with them at all times some try to combat the problem by taking repeated showers. Quite apart from the inconvenience victims of facial hyperhidrosis tend to suffer high anxiety levels and have low self-esteem.

Axillary hyperhidrosis

Imagine a situation where your beautiful silk blouse or well-cut silk suit displays very visible underarm sweat rings minutes after you put it on. Not only would it ruin your garment it would also cause considerable social awkwardness probably forcing you to keep a jacket on at all times to hide the underarm sweat rings on your blouse or shirt. What’s more you would perhaps constantly worry about the problem of body odor which no amount of deodorant could hide.

The phenomenon of excessive underarm sweating is known as axillary hyperhidrosis when the sympathetic nervous system over-activates the sweat glands in your underarm thus causing excessive underarm sweat. Victims typically avoid wearing particular fabrics and colors because the sweat rings are more visible on them. Many patients also try to get around the hardship by changing their clothes numerous times during the day

As with other forms of primary hyperhidrosis axillary hyperhidrosis is often noticed in sufferers at a young age usually before an individual reaches his or her teens. At that age such a syndrome evokes considerable disdain and amusement among peers which causes a high level of emotional stress in a sufferer. In later life such stress can make a person socially inept and unable to interact closely with others. As self-esteem plunges even a person’s professional life may be affected.

Palmar Hyperhidrosis

Palmar hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating on the palms is once again caused by hyperactive sweat glands. A person affected by this syndrome will find it awkward to shake hands hold a glass grip a stairwell rail or a steering wheel type on a keyboard – or perform any of the thousands of different tasks that we use our hands for every day. Naturally such little failures will bring with them all the associated psychological stress and embarrassment that other forms of hyperhidrosis cause.

A lot of us habitually experience sweaty palms in tense or intimidating situations but victims of palmar hyperhidrosis can literally have sweat soaking their palms at all times and the onset of the syndrome can be detected even in early childhood. Once again palmar hyperhidrosis is commonly viewed as hereditary and its symptoms are visible when a person is at rest.

People with palmer hyperhidrosis are constantly worried by their condition and a lot of them avoid ordinary social customs like shaking hands and penning handwritten letters for fear of making others aware of their conditions and exposing themselves to professional and social ridicule. Not unnaturally they suffer a massive loss of confidence.

Plantar hyperhidrosis

The term plantar hyperhidrosis is used to describe excessive sweating of the feet and it usually though not always affects those suffering from palmar hyperhidrosis. One of the most disturbing aspects of plantar hyperhidrosis for those affected is smelly feet. Other side effects of plantar hyperhidrosis include athlete’s foot warts and fungal infection of the toenails causing susceptibility to other bacterial infections.

Sufferers also complain that they must buy shoes frequently owing to the excessive sweating. They also feel that they need to wear closed shoes at all times. Plantar hyperhidrosis victims find themselves unable to undertake such activities that require them to be bare-feet or wear thin shoes like dancing or aerobics because damp marks from their feet create potentially embarrassing and hazardous situations for themselves as well as their fellow participants.

In search of a solution

I would like to end this article by saying that all forms of hyperhidrosis can be treated though such treatment is often painstaking and results will not be apparent overnight. While standard antiperspirants offer a temporary solution surgery offers longer-term benefits though there are side effects to surgical procedures so these should only be chosen as last resorts. There are alternatives to both the above which I will discuss in another article.