Excessive sweating is common and affects people in different ways, sometimes being focused on certain areas and other times affecting the whole body. While the condition is not dangerous, it can make sufferers feel embarrassed or self-conscious, so UK Meds are on hand with effective treatments.
What is excessive sweating?
Everyone sweats; it is a normal reaction from the body to try and cool it down in hot climates or after exercise. A lot of people also sweat when under pressure or in a stressful environment, but some people experience excessive sweating for no apparent reason.
Sometimes this affects the whole body and other times, it’s localised to specific areas (like the palms of the hands). Wherever it affects you, it is usually harmless and nothing to worry about. Because of the way sweat can mark clothing though (like under the armpits), it can make people feel very self-conscious and embarrassed. The only reason you should keep an eye on excessive sweating is because it could be a warning sign of other underlying medical problems.
Excessive sweating (also known as hyperhidrosis) can be categorised in a number of different ways. Focal hyperhidrosis means that the excessive sweating is localised (normally to the palms of the hands and soles of the feet), and generalised hyperhidrosis means that it affects the entire body. You can further identify which type you have by considering the reason behind it. Primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis means that the cause is unknown, while secondary hyperhidrosis means that the excessive sweat is caused by another health problem.
What causes excessive sweating?
When identifying the cause, it’s all down to the type you have. Primary hyperhidrosis is not well-understood and the cause is not always obvious. Research suggests it may be related to genetics, while other ideas point to a person’s mental and emotional wellbeing. But this can become somewhat of a chicken-or-egg argument, with a lot of primary hyperhidrosis sufferers’ feelings of stress or anxiety being perhaps caused by the condition in the first place.
Meanwhile, secondary hyperhidrosis has a long list of known causes. A lot of conditions related to weight can cause excessive sweating such as obesity, gout and diabetes, as can pregnancy, anxiety and heart disease. Certain cancers, infections and medications have also been known to lead to excessive sweating, and alcohol or substance abuse can have an effect too.
Whichever kind you have, it’s thought that genes play a role in the condition. Studies have found that hyperhidrosis could be inherited, as the majority of sufferers have a parent or sibling with the condition too.
How can I treat excessive sweating?
There are a lot of things you can do yourself to try and minimise the effects of excessive sweating. Steer clear of tight-fitting clothes and synthetic fabrics and instead opt for loose-fitting designs. Try to wear different shoes every day (leather ideally) and avoid anything enclosed or sporty to try and minimise sweat. Drinking alcohol and eating spicy food can both make your sweating worse so try to stay away from these are much as you can.
There are plenty of over the counter products that you can try too. Use strong antiperspirant instead of regular deodorant and consider foot powders if your excessive sweating tends to affect your feet. If none of these things work then there are medical options available including tablets, botox injections or surgery to remove the sweat glands.
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