Excessive sweating can affect your entire body or just your palms, soles, underarms or face. Excessive sweating is usually defined as sweating an amount out of proportion with the temperature of a room or your activity level. Besides disrupting normal daily activities, excessive sweating can cause social anxiety or embarrassment.
Call 911 or get emergency medical help
Sweating by itself is rarely a medical emergency. However, if sweating is accompanied by additional symptoms — such as chills, lightheadedness, or chest or stomach pain — seek immediate medical attention. A cold sweat can be your body's response to an underlying problem, such as a heart attack.
Schedule a doctor's visit
Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- You suddenly begin to sweat more than usual.
- Sweating disrupts your daily routine.
- You experience night sweats for no apparent reason.
Most types of excessive sweating respond well to treatment.
Sept. 21, 2012
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed Aug. 1, 2012.
- Smith CC, et al. Primary focal hyperhidrosis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 1, 2012.
- Cerfolio RJ, et al. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons expert consensus for the surgical treatment of hyperhidrosis. Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 2011;91:1642.
- What is a heart attack? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/heartattack. Accessed Aug. 1, 2012.
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 12, 2012.