What Causes Hyperhidrosis?

Man Showing Sweat Under Armpits

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive sweating that goes beyond the body’s natural need for temperature regulation. There are two main types of hyperhidrosis: primary (essential) hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis. The causes of each type are different:

  • Primary (Essential) Hyperhidrosis: Primary hyperhidrosis is the most common type and often has no clear underlying cause. It is believed to be related to overactive sweat glands. Some factors that may contribute to primary hyperhidrosis include:
    • Genetics: There is evidence to suggest a genetic component in primary hyperhidrosis, as it tends to run in families.
    • Overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system: The sweat glands are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. In primary hyperhidrosis, there may be an overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system, leading to excessive sweating.
  • Secondary Hyperhidrosis: Secondary hyperhidrosis is typically caused by an underlying medical condition or certain medications. Some potential causes of secondary hyperhidrosis include:
    • Medications: Some drugs can cause excessive sweating as a side effect. These may include certain antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, and drugs for fever and pain relief.
    • Medical conditions: Conditions such as hyperthyroidism, menopause, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and infections (like tuberculosis and HIV) can lead to secondary hyperhidrosis.
    • Hormonal imbalances: Changes in hormonal levels, such as those that occur during pregnancy, menopause, or puberty, can contribute to increased sweating.
    • Neurological disorders: Conditions like stroke, spinal cord injury, and autonomic neuropathy can disrupt the body’s ability to regulate sweat production.
    • Tumors: Rarely, tumors of the adrenal gland, pituitary gland, or sympathetic nervous system can cause excessive sweating.
    • Infections: Certain infections can lead to fever and sweating, such as tuberculosis and HIV.
    • Alcohol or substance abuse: The use of alcohol or certain drugs can cause sweating as a side effect.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional if you suspect you have hyperhidrosis, as it can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. The specific treatment for hyperhidrosis will depend on its underlying cause. For primary hyperhidrosis, treatments may include topical antiperspirants, oral medications, Botox injections, or surgical procedures like sympathectomy. In cases of secondary hyperhidrosis, addressing the underlying medical condition or adjusting medications may help alleviate excessive sweating.

  • Recent Posts

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Tags