Hyperhidrosis: Management Options

John R. McConaghy, MD; Daniel Fosselman, DO

Disclosures

Am Fam Physician. 2018;97(11):729-734. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that affects patients' quality of life, resulting in social and work impairment and emotional distress. Primary hyperhidrosis is bilaterally symmetric, focal, excessive sweating of the axillae, palms, soles, or craniofacial region not caused by other underlying conditions. Secondary hyperhidrosis may be focal or generalized, and is caused by an underlying medical condition or medication use. The Hyperhidrosis Disease Severity Scale is a validated survey used to grade the tolerability of sweating and its impact on quality of life. The score can be used to guide treatment. Topical aluminum chloride solution is the initial treatment in most cases of primary focal hyperhidrosis. Topical glycopyrrolate is first-line treatment for craniofacial sweating. Botulinum toxin injection (onabotulinumtoxinA) is considered first- or second-line treatment for axillary, palmar, plantar, or craniofacial hyperhidrosis. Iontophoresis should be considered for treating hyperhidrosis of the palms and soles. Oral anticholinergics are useful adjuncts in severe cases of hyperhidrosis when other treatments fail. Local microwave therapy is a newer treatment option for axillary hyperhidrosis. Local surgery and endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy should be considered in severe cases of hyperhidrosis that have not responded to topical or medical therapies.

Introduction

Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating beyond what is physiologically required for thermoregulation, often causing social, emotional, and work impairment. This condition can be primary or secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis is idiopathic, bilaterally symmetric, excessive sweating of the axillae, palms, soles, face, and, less commonly, scalp or inguinal folds. Secondary hyperhidrosis may be focal or generalized, and is caused by an underlying medical condition or medication use.[1,2]

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