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Excessive sweating

July 2015


Definition


Profuse sweating, or excessive sweating, has the medical name of hyperhidrosis. It is the excessive production of sweat from the sweat glands. Sweat is a normal mechanism whose purpose is to regulate body temperature. Heavy sweating can be localized, especially in the hands, feet, armpits and folds in general, but they can also frequently affect the scalp or face. They can also be spread to the entire body. Profuse sweating is often the result of a malfunction of the hypothalamus, a gland in the brain center that regulates the secretion of many glands in the body. This may be an inherited trait, but it can also be caused by obesity. Hyperhidrosis may be responsible for psychological suffering, and sometimes become very visible or cause unpleasant odors.

Symptoms


The symptoms of profuse sweating are:
  • excessive sweating;
  • a bad smell;
  • wet clothes;
  • stress, anxiety.

Excessive sweating can also lead to some complications, including the occurrence of fungal infections, infections caused by fungi that like to grow in warm, humid environments. Their proliferation is promoted by sweating, particularly in folds or in shoes.

Diagnosis


Diagnosis in cases of profuse sweating is generally easy to make. A physical examination can help to recognize some aspects, including a foot examination showing the presence of fungi. Some tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis and to quantify the importance of the phenomenon, but are rarely used in practice, because of their lack of real interest. A blood test will be conducted to search for a pathology causing this symptom, especially for hyperthyroidism.

Treatment


Treatments against profuse sweating vary depending on the severity of the case. If antiperspirants do not work, it is possible to use protection, such as a powder used in the shoes. It allows for the absorption of some of the sweat which reduces the visible signs or odors. Other techniques may be reserved for extreme cases having a major impact on the life of the individual. Treatment of fungal infections when they are present is essential in addition to these methods.
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See also

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Sueurs abondantes
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Original article published by Jeff. Translated by Jeff.
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