Woman sweating very badly under armpit and holding nose

Hyperhidrosis is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by excessive sweating in areas such as the palms, feet, and underarms. Hyperhidrosis can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, certain medications, or stress. Despite its prevalence, it remains an uncomfortable subject for many due to the lack of awareness and understanding of the condition.

Here, we will provide an introduction to hyperhidrosis, discussing its causes, symptoms, and treatments. We will also look at how those affected can cope with it and improve their quality of life. By providing this information, we hope to help people identify and understand hyperhidrosis so they can receive appropriate treatment and live more confidently.

History and Definition

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive sweating beyond what is necessary for regulating body temperature. It can occur in specific areas of the body, such as the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, underarms, or face, and can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life.

In 1919, Kotzareff attempted to treat hyperhidrosis using sympathectomy, a surgical procedure that involves cutting or disrupting the sympathetic nerves that control sweating. He demonstrated the efficacy of the procedure in 1920 for treating unilateral facial hyperhidrosis. Since then, sympathectomy has been used to treat hyperhidrosis, although it is not commonly performed due to the availability of less invasive treatments.


The common symptoms of hyperhidrosis may include:

  • Excessive sweating: sweating more than is necessary to regulate body temperature.


  • Unexplained sweating: sweating that occurs without any apparent cause such as exercise or warm weather.


  • Prolonged sweating: sweating that lasts for an extended period of time and does not go away.


  • Visible sweating: sweating that is noticeable and may soak through clothing.


  • Recurrent sweating: sweating that occurs frequently and regularly.


  • Sweating in specific areas: excessive sweating in specific areas, such as the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, underarms, or face.


  • Interference with daily activities: excessive sweating can make it difficult to perform daily activities, such as holding objects or shaking hands.

It’s important to note that some people may experience only one or two of these symptoms, while others may experience multiple symptoms. If you think you may have hyperhidrosis, it’s important to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


Hyperhidrosis can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Genetics: Hyperhidrosis can run in families and may be inherited.


  • Nervous system overactivity: The sympathetic nervous system, which controls sweating, may be overactive in people with hyperhidrosis.


  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, and menopause can cause excessive sweating.


  • Medications: Certain medications, such as antidepressants and blood pressure medications, can cause excessive sweating as a side effect.


  • Spinal cord injuries: Injuries to the spinal cord can disrupt the normal functioning of the sympathetic nervous system and cause excessive sweating.

It’s important to note that sometimes the cause of hyperhidrosis is unknown. If you think you may have hyperhidrosis, it’s important to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


The diagnosis of hyperhidrosis typically involves the following steps:

  • Medical history evaluation: A doctor will ask about your symptoms, such as when the sweating occurs, how often it occurs, and the extent of the sweating. They will also ask about any medical conditions, medications, or family history that may contribute to excessive sweating.


  • Physical examination: A doctor will examine the affected areas of the body to assess the extent of the sweating and look for other signs of an underlying medical condition.


  • Sweat tests: To confirm the diagnosis of hyperhidrosis, a doctor may perform a sweat test, such as the starch-iodine test, to measure the amount of sweat produced in the affected area.


  • Additional testing: In some cases, a doctor may perform additional tests, such as a blood test or imaging tests, to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing excessive sweating.

Based on the results of the medical evaluation, sweat tests, and any additional testing, a doctor will make a diagnosis of hyperhidrosis and recommend the appropriate treatment.


Hyperhidrosis can be treated with several different approaches, including:

Non Surgical

  • Topical antiperspirants: Over-the-counter antiperspirants, such as aluminum chloride, can be effective in reducing sweating.


  • Prescription antiperspirants: Stronger prescription antiperspirants, such as glycopyrrolate, can be prescribed by a doctor.


  • Medications: Antidepressants and anticonvulsants, can be effective in reducing excessive sweating.


  • Botulinum toxin injections (Botox): Botulinum toxin injections can be used to temporarily block the nerve signals that stimulate sweating in specific areas of the body.


  • Iontophoresis: This is a procedure that uses a low-level electrical current to temporarily stop sweating in the affected areas.

Surgical Procedure

In severe cases of hyperhidrosis, surgery may be an option. Sympathectomy, a surgical procedure that involves cutting or disrupting the sympathetic nerves that control sweating, can be effective in reducing excessive sweating.

The outcome of treatment for hyperhidrosis depends on the type of treatment used. Topical antiperspirants and prescription antiperspirants can take several weeks to start working. Medications and Botulinum toxin injections can provide more immediate relief, but the effects are temporary. Iontophoresis and sympathectomy are typically effective in reducing excessive sweating, but may require multiple treatments and may have side effects.

It’s important to work closely with a doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment for your individual needs and to monitor your progress. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be necessary to achieve the best results.

Risk Factors

Hyperhidrosis can affect anyone, but some people may be at a higher risk due to the following factors:

  • Family history: Hyperhidrosis can run in families, so having a family member with the condition can increase your risk.


  • Age: Hyperhidrosis can develop at any age, but is more common in adolescents and young adults.


  • Gender: Hyperhidrosis is more common in men than women.


  • Weight: Overweight or obese individuals may be more likely to experience excessive sweating.


  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, and menopause, can increase the risk of developing hyperhidrosis.


  • Medications: Certain medications, such as antidepressants and blood pressure medications, can cause excessive sweating and increase the risk of developing hyperhidrosis.


It’s important to note that having one or more of these risk factors does not guarantee that you will develop hyperhidrosis. If you think you may be at risk for hyperhidrosis, it’s important to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


Hyperhidrosis can have several complications, including:

  • Skin infections: Excessive sweating can lead to skin irritation and increase the risk of skin infections, such as fungal infections and bacterial infections.


  • Emotional distress: Hyperhidrosis can cause embarrassment, social anxiety, and low self-esteem.


  • Interference with daily activities: Excessive sweating can make it difficult to hold objects, use a computer, or participate in physical activities.


  • Difficulty with personal relationships: Hyperhidrosis can affect personal relationships and intimate relationships.


  • Stains on clothing: Excessive sweating can cause unsightly stains on clothing.


  • Difficulty finding appropriate clothing: Finding appropriate clothing that will not show sweat stains can be difficult and expensive.


  • Injuries to the skin: Excessive sweating can cause skin injuries, such as blisters and cuts, which can increase the risk of skin infections.

It’s important to seek treatment for hyperhidrosis to minimize the risk of these complications and improve quality of life. A doctor can recommend appropriate treatment options based on the severity of the sweating and any underlying medical conditions.

When to See a Doctor

You should see a doctor if you experience excessive sweating that interferes with your daily activities or causes emotional distress. Additionally, you should see a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Sweating that occurs even when you’re not hot or physically active


  • Sweating that soaks through your clothes


  • Sweating that affects your ability to perform daily tasks


  • Persistent foot odor and fungal infections on the feet


  • Stains on clothing that cannot be removed


  • Emotional distress or embarrassment due to excessive sweating


  • Persistent skin irritation or skin infections due to excessive sweating

A doctor can diagnose hyperhidrosis by reviewing your medical history and conducting a physical examination. They may also use additional tests, such as sweat tests, to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of the condition.

It’s important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, as excessive sweating can have a significant impact on quality of life. With appropriate treatment, hyperhidrosis can be managed and its complications can be minimized.

Step-by-Step Guide to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment

Here is a step-by-step guide to the hyperhidrosis treatment process:


Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and may conduct additional tests, such as sweat tests, to diagnose hyperhidrosis.

Your doctor will work with you to determine the underlying cause of your excessive sweating, such as a medical condition or medication.

Based on the severity of your symptoms and underlying causes, your doctor will discuss different treatment options with you, including lifestyle changes, antiperspirants, medications, and procedures.

Treatment Plan

Depending on the treatment plan, you may begin using antiperspirants, taking medications, or undergoing procedures to reduce excessive sweating.

Follow-Up Visits

Your doctor will monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

You may need to continue with your treatment plan on an ongoing basis to maintain control over excessive sweating. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of action.

It’s important to be patient and consistent with your treatment plan. Hyperhidrosis can be a chronic condition, but with appropriate treatment, it can be effectively managed and its impact on daily life can be reduced.


In conclusion, hyperhidrosis can be a very disruptive and uncomfortable condition to manage. It is important to stay positive and seek the help of medical professionals if needed. There are various treatments available that will reduce or eliminate excessive sweating. For those with severe cases, more invasive treatments may be necessary for better results. 

Ultimately, any individual who suffers from this condition should understand that there are options and solutions available to them so they can take control of their life and live without being constantly embarrassed by their sweat. With proper treatment, individuals with hyperhidrosis can lead healthy, normal lives.


If you’re looking for a top plastic surgeon in Toronto with over 35 years of experience and affordable costs, then make sure to check out Dr. Colin Hong. From Cosmetic, Plastic, and Reconstructive surgeries, he has all the expertise to provide you with the care you need!

To request a consultation today, please contact his office at (416) 222-6986 or email info@drcolinhong.com. Make sure to include your full name, email address, and phone number so we can get back to you as soon as possible. Additionally, if you’re looking to set up an appointment for hyperhidrosis treatment, it is necessary to obtain a referral from your family doctor first.

Frequently Asked Questions

Related Services:

Check out our videos:

What Will Breast Lumpectomy Do?

Why Do I Need Breast Reduction?

What Will a Chemical Peel Do?

Our Testimonials

Elizabeth Ezpinosa

Amazing experience, Doctor Hong is very confident and good at what he does. Every time I go to him I always get good results that I love and feel safe. Very friendly and helpful staff!

Pat Kia

He has very good skills and also a very professional team.

C Wong

Dr. Hong and his staff are very efficient. Dr. Hong managed to diagnose my genetic disease that's been going on for years, and proposed a reasonable price given my situation. Thank you Dr. Hong. I greatly appreciated your help and will recommend your service to my friends and family