Excessive Sweating: Knowing When to See a Doctor

 Excessive Sweating: Knowing When to See a Doctor

Sweating on a hot day may be normal, but what happens when you suffer from excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis? Here's what you should know.

What Is Hyperhidrosis?

Sweating is a normal bodily function. It helps us regulate body temperature and even rid the skin of dirt.

Excessive sweating, on the other hand, can be an issue for those people living with it. By definition, excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, is sweating that causes problems or distress. You might not think it, but up to 3 percent of people suffer from hyperhidrosis. Of course, everybody is different, which means “excessive” can be subjective. The key difference is, again, sweating that causes distress. This can mean disruption of daily activities and avoiding social interaction with the people around you out of embarrassment or fear. So if the amount you sweat causes stress, anxiety, and even social fear, it's likely an excessive sweating issue.

What Causes Excessive Sweating?

Currently, the exact causes of excessive sweating aren't 100 percent clear. In many cases, excessive sweating occurs in an otherwise completely healthy person. In some cases, excessive sweating may only affect certain parts of the body, and in others, the entire body may be affected. In addition, hyperhidrosis could be caused by an underlying health issue. In order to get to the root cause of excessive sweating, it's important to see a doctor.

Are There Different Types of Excessive Sweating?

There are two different types of hyperhidrosis, which we very briefly touched on above. One is primary focal hyperhidrosis and the other is secondary generalized hyperhidrosis.

Primary focal hyperhidrosis is not caused by any underlying condition, nor is it a side effect of any medication. Rather, it is the medical condition. This type of hyperhidrosis occurs on specific areas of the body (focal areas) and is typically symmetrical. These areas include hands, feet, underarms and even the forehead. It most often begins in childhood or early adolescence.

Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is caused by another medical condition or is a side effect of a medication someone is taking. This type of hyperhidrosis affects large (generalized) areas of the body and may stop once the underlying medical condition is treated or a medication is changed. Once of the key differences to note here is that this type of hyperhidrosis usually starts in adulthood.

When Should I See a Doctor?

First and foremost, you should see a doctor immediately if your excessive sweating is accompanied by any of the following symptoms: chills, lightheadedness, chest pain, nausea, or fever. These could be signs of a medical emergency.

But even if the only side effect of your sweating is discomfort or embarrassment, you should make an appointment to talk with your doctor. There are hyperhidrosis treatments available, and your doctor can help you decide which one best suits your needs. It's important to consult with a doctor before beginning any hyperhidrosis treatment.

You don't need to be uncomfortable with your sweating for the rest of your life. If your sweating makes you uncomfortable or is disrupting your daily life, contact a doctor at SE Dermatology Specialists today.

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