Hyperhidrosis

Annually, we complete between 30 and 40 surgical procedures to treat hyperhidrosis.
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What is hyperhidrosis?
People with this condition have excessive sweating. Sweating is so heavy that it may interfere with daily life.

People diagnosed with primary sweating will sweat in specific areas of the body. Locations may include the palms of the hands, feet, face, or underarms. The cause is not known, but family genetics are likely a factor. It often starts in childhood and gets worse during the early teens.

What are the symptoms of hyperhidrosis?
The primary symptom of hyperhidrosis is frequent, visible, and excessive sweating of the palms, underarms, face, scalp, or feet. The amount of sweating varies from person to person, though most people with localized hyperhidrosis sweat less while sleeping and more when stressed. Some may sweat almost all of the time.

Some people experience scaling or cracking of the skin, especially those whose hyperhidrosis affects the soles of their feet. Athlete's foot and foot odor can also occur.

What causes hyperhidrosis?
The cause of hyperhidrosis is currently unknown. Patients diagnosed with the condition have sweat glands that are normal in appearance and number. The glands simply produce more sweat than is normal throughout the day. They also produce a higher-than-normal amount of sweat in response to normal stimuli, such as stress. There is evidence that hyperhidrosis may involve some abnormal function of the autonomic nervous system, which controls sweating and other body functions.

How is hyperhidrosis diagnosed?
The first step in diagnosis is to determine whether your sweating is due to an underlying cause (secondary hyperhidrosis) or to primary hyperhidrosis. Your doctor will consider the following:
  • Location of your sweating
  • How long you have had the problem
  • What triggers your sweating
  • Whether others in your family have the same problem
  • Your overall health

Usually a history and physical examination provide enough information to make a diagnosis. For diagnostic purposes, primary hyperhidrosis is defined as excessive sweating over at least a six-month period, without apparent cause, and with at least two of the following features:
  • Occurs in the same area on both sides of the body (for example, both underarms)
  • Interferes with or has a negative impact on daily activities
  • Occurs at least once a week
  • First occurred under the age of 25
  • Decreases during sleep
  • Runs in the family

Our Approach

Thoracic surgeons at University of Minnesota Medical Center are experts in diagnosing and treating patients with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). Annually, we complete between 30 and 40 surgical procedures to treat hyperhidrosis.

Different people sweat in different amounts depending on a number of factors. Sometimes sweating can indicate a more serious medical problem. This is especially true if it is accompanied by fever, weight loss, chest pain, shortness of breath, or a rapid, pounding heartbeat. If this occurs, see your doctor.

Treatments, Tests, and Procedures

  • Botox
  • Medical Management
  • Iontophroesis

Call your preferred location to schedule an appointment or submit an online request.