Hyperhidrosis – causes, symptoms, diagnosis

Hyperhidrosis is a disease characterized by perspiration in excess of the physiologic amount necessary to maintain thermal homeostasis. Primary or idiopathic hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis are the two main categories.

Patients can have excessive sweating either in a localized area (focal) or over the entire body (generalized). Primary disease is usually focal, affecting the soles, palms, and axillae in various combinations and with varying degrees of severity. Secondary hyperhidrosis can be generalized or focal. In secondary hyperhidrosis the symptoms are due to one of a large number of medical conditions, including endocrine disorders, neurological problems and the use of certain drugs.

In addition to psychological troubles, excessive sweating can also cause painful or irritating skin problems, such as bacterial or fungal overgrowth, infections, and disintegration (also called maceration) of the skin.