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Types of hyperhidrosis


Hyperhidrosis is a clinical condition that causes excessive sweating, beyond the needs of body temperature control.

Whilst hyperhidrosis is not in itself a serious threat to health, it can lead to a genuine reduction in a persons quality of life. Sufferers find it embarrassing and it is often the cause of significant emotional and psychological distress.

Hyperhidrosis is a fairly common complaint, affecting over 1.5 million people in England alone.

There are two essential types of hyperhidrosis


Primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis, in which no originating cause can be identified. Primary hyperhidrosis will start during adolescence or before and seems to be inherited as an autosomal dominant genetic trait.        

And :

Secondary hyperhidrosis,in which an underlying health condition, such as an overactive thyroid gland or pituitary gland, for example, is seen as the cause.



To complicate matters a little further, hyperhidrosis can also be classified as:



Focal hyperhidrosis, in which certain specific parts of the body produce excess sweat; most commonly the armpits, hands, feet or face.       and;

Generalised hyperhidrosis, in which excessive sweat production occurs over the entire body.

Usually, but not always, focal hyperhidrosis cases are primary and secondary hyperhidrosis usually results in the generalised version.

Focal Hyperhidrosis may itself be divided into palmoplantar, where the condition is primarily restricted to the hands or feet, and; gustatory, where the condition is seen on the forehead, upper lip, perioral region or sternum shortly after eating spicy foods, tomato sauce, chocolate, coffee, tea, or hot soups.

Alternatively, hyperhidrosis may be classified according to the amount of skin that is affected and its possible causes. In this approach, excessive sweating in an area that is greater than 100 cm2 (up to generalized sweating of the entire body) is differentiated from sweating that affects only a small area.


One of the major issues in treating hyperhidrosis is that many people are unaware that treatment options are available, and some are too embarrassed to ask for help.

But to those who seek an answer, there are a range of different treatments available; from ways to conceal the symptoms, to long term treatment of the sweat glands themselves.

Click here to read about the symptoms of hyperhidrosis