Excessive sweating disorder Excessive sweating disorder

Hyperhidrosis is an excessive sweating disorder. There are two types:

  • Primary hyperhidrosis – this has no known cause. It commonly affects the hands, feet,     underarms or the face/head and usually affects both sides. In rare cases, it also affects the chest or groin areas too. It usually begins in childhood or adolescence and sometimes runs in families. Patients with primary hyperhidrosis rarely sweat when they are asleep.
  • Secondary generalised hyperhidrosis – this is caused by an underlying medical condition or is a side effect of medication. Sweating occurs over a larger part of the body and often when patients are sleeping.


There are many possible treatments for hyperhidrosis but some are only available or possible for specific parts of the body affected. The type of treatment that works best or is offered by a doctor will vary depending on the severity of your sweating and measures you have already tried. You can find more information on treating hyperhidrosis on the NHS choices website.

You should see your general practitioner for diagnosis and he/she may offer a prescription of antiperspirants and referral to a dermatologist at your local hospital. You may wish to seek help privately and can use the physician finder website of the International Hyperhidrosis Society.

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