Excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, is a condition that is thought to affect 1-2% of the population. Excessive sweating can cause anxiety and embarrassment to the sufferer due to body odour and visible perspiration.
There are two types of excessive sweating: "primary" hyperhidrosis (also known as "focal" hyperhidrosis) and "secondary" hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis tends to start in adolescence and is thought to be caused by a problem with the nervous system and the signals, which control the sweat glands. Secondary hyperhidrosis can start at any age and may be triggered by outside factors such as exposure to chemicals, certain medications, the menopause or conditions such as over-active thyroid.
Excessive sweating can occur all over the body or can be localised to a specific area such as the underarms, hands or feet.
Anyone can get excessive sweating and its severity can vary greatly. Typical onset of primary hyperhidrosis is during adolescence. Menopausal women are also more prone to excessive sweating.