Primary hyperhidrosis is a condition in which individuals sweat excessively.   Excess sweat is typically produced from the axillae (armpits), palms, and/or soles, but other areas can be affected such as the face, scalp, chest, back or groin.  This excessive sweating is constant, but tends to become worse when the sympathetic nervous system is activated (when people are nervous or scared).    

Onset of primary hyperhidrosis is usually in childhood or early adulthood.  While it is a benign condition, it can have a significant impact on an individual's quality of life.  Patients report embarrassment and difficulty in relationships.  

What Causes Hyperhidrosis?

Primary hyperhidrosis is probably inherited.  Between 60 and 80% of individuals with this condition report a family history of excessive sweating.  Rarely, medical conditions or medications can cause secondary hyperhidrosis.  Your dermatologist can advise you of whether that may be the case.

How is Hyperhidrosis Treated?

Thankfully, there are several effective ways of treating hyperhidrosis.  These include:

  • Topical preparations containing aluminum chloride (e.g. Drysol®, Hydrosal®).  
  • Topical preparations containing glycopyrrolate
  • Iontophoresis
  • Oral medications such as glycopyrrolate or oxybutinin
  • Botox® injections
  • Surgery


For Dr. Levy's blog post on this subject please click here.

Your dermatologist can review these options with you and help you select the treatment that is right for you.