Fact Checked

Hyperhidrosis is a medical problem characterized by excessive an unpredictable sweating. People with hyperhidrosis unnecessarily sweat at cool temperatures or during resting periods. Sweating is necessary to regulate body temperature during exercise or in hot/ warm environments to help the body stay cool. It is the body’s natural response, which is regulated by the sympathetic nervous system, to anxiety or rise in temperature.

In cases of hyperhidrosis, the system producing sweat works at very high levels causing the body to sweat at irregular and extreme amounts even without any triggers. The overactive sweat glands can occur in the different regions of the body such as in the underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis), palms and soles of the feet (palmoplantarhyperhidrosis), and other body parts. Onset may vary from person to person. However, if left untreated, hyperhidrosis may become a long-term medical problem.

What are the Types and Causes of Hyperhidrosis?

                Hyperhidrosis is either classified as primary or secondary.

  • Primary or focal hyperhidrosis
    • Excessive sweating in the underarms, palms and soles of the feet
    • No known cause but thought to be hereditary
  • Secondary hyperhidrosis
    • As a results of a medical condition
    • Excessive sweating in one body region or all over the body
    • Medical conditions leading to hyperhidrosis
      • Anxiety conditions
      • Cancer
      • Menopause
      • Certain medications
      • Substance abuse
      • Bacterial infections and other infectious diseases
      • Carcinoid syndrome
      • Heart disease
      • Lung disease
      • Hypoglycaemia
      • Hyperthyroidism
      • Parkinson’s disease
      • Acromegaly
      • Pheochromocytoma

What Complications can arise from Hyperhidrosis?

Treatment for hyperhidrosis is necessary to avoid complications from developing. Some of the common complications that may arise from hyperhidrosis include:

  • Increased susceptibility to skin infections and other skin conditions
  • Social and emotional effects
  • In severe cases, difficulty holding a pen, gripping the steering wheel of the car or even shaking hands

How is First Aid Applied for Cases of Hyperhidrosis?


Hyperhidrosis can be treated at home with appropriate medications and lifestyle adjustments. In some cases, physicians may recommend surgery and other procedures. In other cases, the following tips are recommended:

  • Take over-the-counter (OTC) antiperspirants. Use as directed by manufacturer. Another option may be prescription antiperspirants if their OTC counterparts are not effective but follow as prescribed.
  • Oral medications such as anticholinergics may also limit sweating.
  • Botulinum toxin (botox), initially used for smoothing facial wrinkles, may also block the nerves that trigger overactive sweat glands.
  • Bathe daily to keep the number of skin bacteria in check and dry the body, especially the feet, thoroughly before putting on clothes of shoes. OTC foot powders may reduce moisture.
  • Prefer to wear socks and shoes made from natural materials to help avoid sweaty feet. Avoid wearing the same shoes in consecutive days.

Understanding hyperhidrosis may help when taking first aid training. When learning about the spectrum of heat-related illnesses, sweating plays an important role in avoiding these illnesses. To learn more about hyperhidrosis and other related medical conditions, enrol in First Aid Courses and CPR training.

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