Hyperhidrosis
(Excessive Sweating)

Hyperhidrosis

What causes Normal Sweating?

Normal sweating (physiological sweating) is a natural and important process to help the body maintain its optimum temperature. Sweating cools the body down when it becomes too hot. Usually this is in the context of exercise or hot environmental conditions.

Sweating and Core body Temperature Regulation

When the core body temperature rises as a result of exercise, hot weather or fever, the brain’s thermoregulatory centre signals the sweat glands to produce sweat. (It is these signals that are blocked when we administer anti-sweat injections at Sweat Clinic Australia.). Sweat is composed of water and salt. When sweat reaches the skin surface it evaporates, releasing heat and cooling down the body

Emotional Sweating

Sweating can also be triggered by emotional responses through activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Anxiety, stress, fear or excitement can trigger our fight or flight response causing the body to release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase the activity of the sweat glands. The purpose is to cool the body down in preparation for this perceived danger or stressor. In reality, emotional sweating can be socially embarrassing and cause even more unnecessary stress for sufferers. Anti-sweat injection treatment at Sweat Clinic Australia blocks this stress-sweating response.

Primary and Secondary Hyperhidrosis

It is important to differentiate between primary and secondary causes of hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis has no known underlying cause. Secondary hyperhidrosis is when the excessive sweating has an identifiable cause such as an underlying medical condition or medication side effect.

Primary Hyperhidrosis

Primary hyperhidrosis is usually long standing and tends to affect specific areas of the body, such as the palms, soles of the feet, armpits, and scalp. Individuals with primary hyperhidrosis often experience episodes of intense sweating, even in cool or comfortable environments. This condition is thought to have a genetic component and often runs in families.

Secondary Hyperhidrosis

Secondary hyperhidrosis is a condition in which excessive sweating is a symptom of an underlying medical condition or a side effect of medication. Unlike primary hyperhidrosis, secondary hyperhidrosis affects the whole body, and the sweating is not localized to specific areas.

Secondary hyperhidrosis can be caused by various medical conditions, including:



Hormonal disorders, such as hyperthyroidism or menopause.
Neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s disease or spinal cord injuries.
Infections, such as tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS.
Metabolic disorders, like diabetes or gout.
Certain medications, including antidepressants and some antipsychotic drugs.

To manage secondary hyperhidrosis, it’s important to identify and treat the underlying cause. Once the underlying condition is addressed, the excessive sweating may improve or resolve.

At Sweat Clinics Australia your doctor will consider if investigations to exclude secondary causes of sweating are needed and arrange these as appropriate.

Hyperhidrosis FAQs

What causes hyperhidrosis?

There is no known cause for Primary Hyperhidrosis. There are likely to be some genetic factors at play as it often runs in families. The nerves that trigger sweating seem to be overactive in people with primary hyperhidrosis. Some people have specific triggers like stress, being nervous or eating spicy food.

How do I know if I have primary or secondary hyperhidrosis?

If your sweating has been long standing and affects specific areas of the body (eg. underarms, hands, feet, forehead), is symmetrical (happening in a similar way on both sides of the body) and reduces at night then you likely have primary hyperhidrosis.

If your sweating is whole body sweating or more generalised, if it did not start in adolescence, if it started in the context of a new medication or it has other associated symptoms (eg. weight changes, palpitations or menstrual irregularities) then you may have a secondary cause for your hyperhidrosis.

Your Sweat Clinics Australia Doctor will determine if you have primary or secondary hyperhidrosis.

Can Hyperhidrosis affect mental health?

The impact of hyperhidrosis on mental health can vary from person to person. Not everyone with hyperhidrosis will experience significant mental health issues.

However, there have been numerous studies linking hyperhidrosis and mental health concerns. Statistics have shown you are nearly 3 times as likely to suffer depression or anxiety if you have hyperhidrosis than if you don’t have this condition.

A study published in “Archives of Dermatological Research” in 2016 found that 75% of those with excessive sweating say their condition negatively impacts their social life, sense of well-being and emotional and mental health. Another study published in “Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology” in 2016 reported hyperhidrosis sufferers were more likely to experience social anxiety and feelings of embarrassment related to their sweating.

Fortunately, there is also research published showing improvements in mental health with treatment of hyperhidrosis.

Can Hyperhidrosis impact quality of life?

Hyperhidrosis can significantly impact mental health, self-esteem, social interactions, relationships and occupational choices. Studies have reported that up to 48% of patients with hyperhidrosis report a poor or very poor quality of life.

Stressful situations can trigger sweat production, which for individuals troubled by hyperhidrosis can lead to even higher stress levels. This can become a vicious cycle with exponentially increasing negative effects on the quality of life for people with hyperhidrosis.

People with hyperhidrosis talk about sweat “ruining” their life. They describe feelings of isolation, shame, and depression.

Treatment of hyperhidrosis has been shown to improve psychosocial symptoms and improve quality of life.

What is Bromhydrosis?

Bromhidrosis is a medical condition characterised by unpleasant smelling body odour. Sweat itself is odourless, the characteristic body odour arises when sweat interacts with bacteria on the skin’s surface.

The areas of the body with a high concentration of sweat glands that are most likely to interact with bacteria and produce body odour include the armpits, groin and feet.

Bromhidrosis can be embarrassing and impact an individual’s social life and self-esteem. It can result from an interplay of various factors such as hormonal imbalances, diet, medications, or underlying medical conditions such as hyperhidrosis.