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Hyperhidrosis in Adult
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Hyperhidrosis in Adult

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Contributors: Noah Craft MD, PhD, Lindy P. Fox MD, Lowell A. Goldsmith MD, MPH
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Hyperhidrosis is increased perspiration in excess of the body's need for thermoregulation. It may or may not be associated with bromhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis may be primary or secondary.

Primary hyperhidrosis is idiopathic focal sweating; triggers may include emotions (eg, anxiety), heat, and spicy food. Pathophysiology is not fully understood but is thought to result from neurogenic overactivity of sweat glands involving both the sympathetic and parasympathetic pathways. Secondary hyperhidrosis is usually generalized and is associated with an underlying medical condition (eg, metabolic disorder, neurologic condition, infection, or malignancy) or medication use.

Primary hyperhidrosis occurs in both children and adults. It often begins in teenage years. It is less common in elderly individuals. It is estimated to affect between 1% and 3% of the population. A positive family history is common.

The 3 main areas of the body that are affected in primary hyperhidrosis are the palms, feet, and axillae. Prepubescent children with this condition tend to present with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis, since axillary glands are not fully developed until after puberty. After puberty, axillary hyperhidrosis is the most common presentation. In addition to palms, feet, and axillae, affected body regions include the scalp and groin.

Hyperhidrosis can cause significant anxiety and embarrassment and disrupt social and professional activities.

For more information, see OMIM.


R61 – Generalized hyperhidrosis

312230002 – Hyperhidrosis

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Focal hyperhidrosis:
Generalized hyperhidrosis may be associated with metabolic diseases and other endocrine-related conditions, neurologic conditions, infections, malignancies, medications, and alcohol use disorder or substance abuse.

Drugs, medications, and other toxicities:
Other conditions:

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Management Pearls

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Updated: 07/06/2018
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Hyperhidrosis in Adult
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Hyperhidrosis : Axilla, Chronic hyperhidrosis, Plantar feet, Palms
Clinical image of Hyperhidrosis
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