Sweating is a natural function of the body. It occurs when the body gets hot, either from exercise of just being in a hot climate, to help cool it down. Sometimes the body sweats as a reaction to stress or nervousness. But for two to three percent of the population, excessive sweating can happen at for unforeseen reasons and at the most embarrassing times.
There are two types of excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis – focal and generalized. When someone sweats excessively from a certain area of the body more than other parts of the body, it is called focal. A person who sweats from the armpits has a different type of focal hyperhidrosis than someone who excessively sweats from the feet.
The cause of focal hyperhidrosis is unknown; however, all but a few extreme cases are treatable through a variety of products. Most cases can be controlled by over-the-counter antiperspirants. If the drug store variety doesn’t work, prescription antiperspirants are available. Iontophoresis, a process that uses electrical currents is another treatment for excessive sweating. There are also oral medications called anticholinergics that are used to treat hyperhidrosis. Recently, doctors have also prescribed the use of Botox injections to treat excessive sweating of the armpits.
Generalized hyperhidrosis is when the body sweats all over for no apparent reason. The causes of generalized hyperhidrosis vary and are usually associated with another issue in the body.
Spinal chord injuries, heart problems, anxiety disorders, infections, cancer or a reaction to a certain medication or even a certain type of food or spice can be the cause of generalized hyperhidrosis. Seek treatment for these diseases or avoid the foods that cause the sweating and you should see relief from the sweating. Extremely rare cases of generalized hyperhidrosis are not associated with any other condition and must be treated with oral medications or in rare cases even surgery.