Sweating in summer on a hot day or after a long Sunday jog may feel good, or at least normal. But sweating in winter when the weather is cold or you just come out of the shower can be a nightmare for individuals suffering from a condition called Hyperhydrosis (also spelled Hyperhidrosis).
Primary Hyperhydrosis or excessive sweating is in third of the cases a familial condition, which can have various manifestations, depending of the site of the excessive sweating; “primary” means that no obvious cause such as drugs, diabetes, infection etc.. is associated with the excessive sweating. Excessive sweating, in particular starting in adulthood and without family history should be investigated by the GP as it could be secondary sweating.
In case of Primary Hyperhydrosis affecting the armpits, it’s often young adults complaining of sweat marks on their clothes under their arms since their teens. They avoid colourful and white clothes and prefer dark clothes to not show the marks; they feel ashamed and loose their confidence as they are wrongly convinced that the excessive sweating under the arms is associated with excessive body odours. They bring extra clothes at school or at work to change during the day.
It can also affect the hands, usually noted when the child learned to write at the age of 5; the pen slipped out the hand; they made wet mark on the paper when writing. then these children don’t dare holding hands of their friends at primary school and later on avoid social contacts; it can also affect professional manual skills.
The excessive sweating of the feet is usually well tolerated in winter where the socks in the shoes absorb the sweat and I have met patients who were convinced that to have wet socks were normal at the end the day. The worst is in summer when ladies try to wear open sandals, in particular with some heels; the sweaty wet feet slip out and make walking hazardous. I have heard alos young men distress about having wet feet in bed.
Facial sweating is also very distressing. The sweat can drip from the scalp, or the forehead along the face, the cheeks and the nose and in back of the neck leaving the hair wet.
Excessive sweating people can benefit from treatment and is not related to excessive shyness or anxiety but it’s a true condition.
Please don’t hesitate to contact support group such as the Hyperhidrosis Support Group at www.hyperhidrosisuk.org
Dr MH Marion is running specialized clinics for all types of primary hyperhidrosis both at St George’s Hospital, London (UK) and at the London BTX centre.