Remember that tagline ‘never let them see you sweat’? We all know that’s sometimes easier said than done, especially when we’re exercising, it’s hot outside, we’re embarrassed, or we’re angry. But for some people, sweating can happen at the drop of a hat, even when they’re not exerting any energy and when the temperature is cold. Excessive, unpredictable sweating might be caused by hyperhidrosis.
What’s the cause of hyperhidrosis? Overactive sweat glands. Excessive sweating might only affect the armpits, feet, and hands. This is known as focal or primary hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis is a condition due to another medical condition, which could include cancer, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, menopause, or stroke, just to name a few.
There are two test that may be used to diagnose hyperhidrosis, a paper test or a starch-iodine test. In the paper test, special paper is used to absorb the sweat and is then weighed. In the starch-iodine test, an iodine solution is applied to the sweaty area. After it dries, starch is sprinkled on the area. If there is excess sweat, the starch-iodine area will turn a dark blue.
Treatments may include clinical strength antiperspirants, oral prescription medications, Botox, or Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS)—considered the last resort because of serious side effects.
Luckily, with treatment, hyperhidrosis can be managed.