Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating—a person sweats more than necessary. While sweating cools the body, preventing us from overheating, people with hyperhidrosis sweat when the body doesn’t need cooling. Simply put, hyperhidrosis involves the hands, feet, underarms and face, usually unrelated to temperature or exercise.
Many people who have hyperhidrosis sweat from one or two areas of the body. While the rest of the body remains dry, one or two areas may drip with sweat. What causes hyperhidrosis? Certain nerves tell the body when to sweat. It’s possible that these nerves overreact, causing excessive sweating. Many medical conditions can cause excessive sweating. These include diabetes and gout. A tumor or injury also can cause excessive sweating.
Rule of thumb: while it’s normal to sweat when you’re nervous or too hot, if you sweat for no apparent reason, you may have hyperhidrosis. But you’re not alone—about 3% of people in the U.S. have excessive sweating.