Overview

Hyperhidrosis (hi-pur-hi-DROE-sis) is excessive sweating that's not always related to heat or exercise. You may sweat so much that it soaks through your clothes or drips off your hands. Heavy sweating can disrupt your day and cause social anxiety and embarrassment.

Hyperhidrosis treatment usually helps. It often begins with antiperspirants. If these don't help, you may need to try different medications and therapies. In severe cases, your health care provider may suggest surgery to remove the sweat glands or to disconnect the nerves related to producing too much sweat.

Sometimes an underlying condition may be found and treated.

Symptoms

The main symptom of hyperhidrosis is heavy sweating. This goes beyond the sweating from being in a hot environment, exercising, or feeling anxious or stressed. The type of hyperhidrosis that usually affects the hands, feet, underarms or face causes at least one episode a week when you're awake. And the sweating usually happens on both sides of the body.

When to see a doctor

Sometimes excessive sweating is a sign of a serious condition.

Seek immediate medical attention if you have heavy sweating with dizziness, pain in the chest, throat, jaw, arms, shoulders or throat, or cold skin and a rapid pulse.

See your health care provider if:

  • Sweating disrupts your daily routine
  • Sweating causes emotional distress or social withdrawal
  • You suddenly begin to sweat more than usual
  • You experience night sweats for no apparent reason

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Causes

Sweating is the body's mechanism to cool itself. The nervous system automatically triggers sweat glands when your body temperature rises. Sweating also occurs, especially on your palms, when you're nervous.

Primary hyperhidrosis is caused by faulty nerve signals that trigger eccrine sweat glands to become overactive. It usually affects the palms, soles, underarms and sometimes the face.

There is no medical cause for this type of hyperhidrosis. It can run in families.

Secondary hyperhidrosis is caused by an underlying medical condition or by taking certain medications, such as pain relievers, antidepressants, and some diabetes and hormonal medications. This type of hyperhidrosis may cause sweating all over the body. Conditions that might cause it include:

  • Diabetes
  • Menopause hot flashes
  • Thyroid problems
  • Some types of cancer
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Infections

Complications

Complications of hyperhidrosis include:

  • Infections. People who sweat a lot are more prone to skin infections.
  • Social and emotional effects. Having clammy or dripping hands and sweat-soaked clothes can be embarrassing. Your condition may affect your pursuit of work and educational goals.

Hyperhidrosis care at Mayo Clinic

Sept. 16, 2022
  1. AskMayoExpert. Hyperhidrosis. Mayo Clinic; 2021.
  2. Know sweat. International Hyperhidrosis Society. https://www.sweathelp.org. Accessed June 16, 2022.
  3. Briggs JK. Sweating, excessive. In: Triage Protocols for Aging Adults. Wolters Kluwer; 2019.
  4. Newman CC, et al. Clinicals pearls in dermatology 2017. Disease-a-Month. 2017; doi: org/10.1016/j.disamonth.2017.03.003.
  5. Galadari H, et al. Treatment approaches and outcomes associated with the use of abobotulinumtoxinA for the treatment of hyperhidrosis: A systematic review. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2021; doi: org/10.1016/j.jaad.2020.07.123.
  6. Hyperhidrosis. American Academy of Dermatology Association. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/hyperhidrosis-overview. Accessed June 28, 2022.
  7. Glaser DA, et al. Topical glycopoyrronium tosylate for the treatment of primary axillary hyperhidrosis: Results from the ATMOS-1 and ATMOS-2 phase 3 randomized controlled trials. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2018; doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2018.07.002.
  8. Kang S, et al., eds. Hyperhidrosis and anhidrosis. In: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology. 9th ed. McGraw Hill; 2019. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed June 29, 2022.
  9. Smith CC, et al. Primary focal hyperhidrosis. https://www.uptodate.com/content/search. Accessed June 29, 2022.
  10. Gawkrodger DJ, et al. Derivatives of the skin. In: Dermatology: An Illustrated Colour Text. 7th ed. Elsevier; 2021. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 29, 2022.
  11. Link JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. July 30, 2022.
  12. Ami T. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic. July 13, 2022.