About Hyperhidrosis

It is normal for you to sweat. Sweating is your body's natural means of cooling itself down during exercise, heat or anxiety situations. Sweating helps regulate your inner body temperature which is controlled by the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic branch, which is located within the chest cavity, maintains the roughly five million sweat glands and is responsible for releasing perspiration throughout your body.

Hyperhidrosis is broadly defined as an abnormal state of excessive sweating or perspiration beyond what the body needs to cool itself down. The sweat is profuse, noticeable, and very uncomfortable. Hyperhidrosis is caused by a hyperactive sympathetic nervous system and can affect people at any age or race and is not related to weight. The most common areas for hyperhidrosis are in the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), feet (plantar hyperhidrosis), and under the arms (axillary hyperhidrosis). Sweating is often uncontrollable, embarrassing and not anticipated. Hyperhidrosis can have severe physiological consequences such as cold and clammy hands, dehydration, and skin infections.

Many patients will try several different treatments to cure their excessive perspiration. Some of the more common approaches to stop the perspiration include herbal medications, lotions, and oral medications. While each of these may provide some type of relief, they are not permanent in nature. The most effective method to permanently treat the condition is known as thoracoscopic sympathectomy, or endoscopic transthoracic sympathectomy (ETS).