ZocdocAnswersWhy do my hands, feet, and armpits continuously perspire?

Question

Why do my hands, feet, and armpits continuously perspire?

I am a 24 year old male, with a history of heavy perspiration for a long time. I am not sure when it began, but it plagues me everyday of my life. I am unable to write in pencil, or on paper, because the moisture from my hand will cause the paper to tear. I am afraid to shake hands, or even hold the woman I love. I am ashamed of these issues, and I would really like to get them fixed. I have tried taking Robinol before, but it did nothing.

Answer

What you are describing sounds like a condition known as idiopathic hyperhidrosis. Essentially, the area of your brain that controls sweating as a response to emotional stress is hyperactive and signals for a certain type of sweat gland (an eccrine gland) to produce sweat at inappropriate times and in inappropriate amounts. The highest concentration of these glands in the body is found in the hands, feet and armpits and thus people with this condition usually experience symptoms from these areas. There are many treatment options for idiopathic hyperhidrosis, some more effective than others. The medication your took, robinol or glycolpyrrolate, is actually one of the less effective treatments. Other options include: - Topical prescription antiperspirants (e.g. Drysol or Xerac), usually more effective for armpit sweat - Iontophoresis: essentially you soak your hands in a special ionic solution while a current is applied (can be done in the sink at home) very effective for palmar sweating. - Botox: injecting botox into areas of heavy sweating has proven to be very effective therapy. however, it is also very expensive and generally used only if the other mentioned therapies fail. There is also the option of trying anti-anxiety medication or beta blocker therapy to help control the emotional stress that tends to worsen the condition. I recommend checking in with your primary care doctor to discuss these options as soon as possible.

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