Excessive Sweating: Do You Have Secondary Hyperhidrosis?

Posted on: 4 June 2018


You might sweat when you exercise or feel extremely anxious and nervous about something. Once your body cools down or emotions ease up, you should stop sweating. But if you sweat tremendously all the time, then you could have secondary hyperhidrosis. Learn more about secondary hyperhidrosis and how to keep it from wreaking havoc on your life below.

How and Why Does Secondary Hyperhidrosis Develop in Some Adults?

Hyperhidrosis develops when the sweat glands in your body produce more sweat than normal. Dermatologists typically diagnose people with two types of hyperhidrosis: primary and secondary. The causes of primary hyperhidrosis are usually unknown (idiopathic), and it often affects one specific body part, such as the hands or feet. But a good number of adults suffer from secondary hyperhidrosis. The secondary condition can cause widespread sweating, which means that it could affect many different places in your body.

A special area of your brain called the hypothalamus regulates your body temperature and controls the functions of your sweat glands. Your hypothalamus also controls the pituitary gland in your brain, which, in turn, controls the metabolic functions of your thyroid. If a problem occurs in any these tissues, it can increase the temperature in various parts of your body. Your sweat glands try to cool down your body by staying active.

A great number of things can affect your hypothalamus gland, pituitary gland, and thyroid gland, including mercury poisoning, menopause, and overactive thyroid disease. The conditions can change how all three glands work and communicate with each other over time.

For example, overactive thyroid disease can cause a problem that prevents your thyroid from communicating with your pituitary gland. Your pituitary gland is your body's natural thermostat, which tells your thyroid when to speed up your body's metabolism and heat production. If your thyroid fails or increases in activity, your pituitary gland may think your body's too hot inside. The gland will then relay the information back to your hypothalamus, which will instruct your sweat glands to stay on until they cool off your body.

Excessive sweating can affect your skin in a number of ways. Your sweat glands can clog up with bacteria and develop cysts and other infections. Skin infections can be irritating and painful enough to prevent you from moving your limbs, walking, or wearing certain clothing. Your skin may give off a strong odor as well. Some people need to shower regularly to control their body odor. 

If you have a problem that affects your body's temperature, or if you don't know why you sweat so much, see a dermatologist for care.

What Can You Do About Your Profuse Sweating?

A dermatologist may speak with your regular doctor during your treatment. It's important for a skin specialist to know why you sweat so much before they can address the problems in your skin. If you do have something that affects your body's glands, a regular doctor can treat it. For instance, if high blood sugar is the reason for your excessive sweating, your doctor can provide medications and lifestyle changes to control it. Once your doctor controls the underlying reason for your overactive sweating, a dermatologist can treat your skin.

The dermatology treatment for secondary hyperhidrosis may vary, depending on the skin problems you have. If you have large cysts in your armpits or groin from sweating, a skin doctor may use antibiotics to get rid of them. 

A dermatologist may also use special injections to control the sweating in different parts of your body, including the armpits. The Botox injections "calm" down your overactive sweat glands so that you can feel drier and more confident about your body and appearance. The injections can take anywhere from one week to two weeks to work effectively. However, your results may vary. If you have questions about the injections, speak to a skin doctor immediately.

You can learn about secondary hyperhydrosis and how to treat it by contacting a dermatologist today.