Hyperhidrosis - Western SummaryWestern Medicine Summary

Western Medicine

Western Summary

Hyperhidrosis is the medical word for excessive sweating. Sweat glands are located over the entire body, but are most concentrated on the palms, soles and armpits. Hyperhidrosis can cause significant embarrassment and psychological distress. 


There are two types of hyperhidrosis:

Primary hyperhidrosis is caused by overactivity of the temperature regulation centers in the brain, which signal the sweat glands to produce excessive sweat. This type of hyperhidrosis starts in childhood. The person may have other family members who also have hyperhidrosis. Sweating occurs on both sides of the body and usually slows down at night and goes away during sleep. 

Secondary hyperhidrosis is sweating caused by a hormonal or neurological medical condition or by medications. Sweating may occur on only one side of the body and can be persistent at night or during sleep. 


Primary hyperhidrosis can be caused by fever, spicy food, exercise, hot weather, or nervousness. Secondary hyperhidrosis can be caused by neurological damage (such as stroke, spinal damage, brain tumor), hormonal problems (such as diabetes, overactive thyroid, menopause), or by various medications (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, corticosteroids, cholinesterase inhibitors, nicotinamide, opioids and caffeine). 



Wear loose fitting, stain resistant, and absorbent clothing and shoe insoles.

  • Topical antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride
  • Oral medications that can reduce sweating: Propantheline, oxybutynin, benztropine, and glycopyrrolate 
  • Oral medication to reduce anxiety: Beta blockers to decrease nervousness
  • Iontophoresis: This process uses a current to dry 
  • Botulinum toxin injections to sweaty areas
  • Focused microwave based technology to locally heat and eliminate the sweat glands 
  • Surgically removing sweat glands (in armpits only)
  • Surgically or chemically removing the branch of nerves that signal sweating to the face, armpits, and hands