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Primary Hyperhidrosis

What is primary hyperhidrosis?

Primary hyperhydrosis is a rare condition in which overactive sweat glands create an excess of sweat on palms, feet, armpits, groin, and/or breasts. When such a condition is present as a symptom of other diseases it is referred to as secondary hyperhydrosis instead. Primary hyperhydrosis may also be referred to as generalized hydrosis. 

What are the symptoms of primary hyperhidrosis?

Symptoms associated with primary hyperhydrosis typically appear during childhood or puberty and can persist throughout a lifetime. People affected by primary hypderhydrosis have increased sensitivity to stimuli which normally cause sweating such as anxiety, exertion, caffeine/nicotine, stress, and pain. The most defined symptom of primary hyphydrosis is extreme perspiration. Excess sweating can be generalized (over the entire body), or localized (such as to the palms, or feet). When the palms or feet are affected, skin may develop a pink or bluish-white color in the affected areas. Maceratted, cracked, or scaly skin can also result from excess perspiration.

What causes primary hyperhidrosis?

Primary hyperhidrosis is caused by over sensitive nerves, and sweat glands. The root cause of this, however, is unknown. There is some suggestion that primary hyperhidrosis may be passed genetically through autosomal dominant patterns, but the genes involved have yet to be identified.

How is primary hyperhidrosis diagnosed?

Primary hyperhydrosis is identified by examining patient history, and the exclusion of disorders that may cause excessive sweating. Doctors may order blood, urine, and other lab tests in order to rule out other conditions. Infrared imaging can be used to help confirm a diagnosis of primary hyperhydrosis. 

What are the treatments for primary hyperhidrosis?

Many treatments exist to assist people dealing with primary hyperhidrosis, including:
  • Prescription antiperspirants
  • Iontophoresis
  • Nerve-blocking medications
  • Antidepressants, and/or psychotherapy
  • Botulinum toxin injections (Botox, Myobloc, etc.)

Where can I find out more about primary hyperhidrosis?

Primary Hyperhidrosis Articles

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