General hyperhidrosis

This is the medical term for generalised excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) which affects every part of the body. Generalised excessive sweating is usually considered a ‘secondary’ form of hyperhidrosis in that the sufferer develops this in response to an underlying medical condition.

In other words you develop this in addition to another condition –hence the use of the word ‘secondary’. Secondary excessive sweating is discussed further in a separate section.

The other type of excessive sweating is primary focal hyperhidrosis which is discussed separately.

Causes of general hyperhidrosis

Generalised hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) is often caused by a medical complaint or medication. But it can also be caused by anxiety, pregnancy and drug/alcohol abuse. The following medical conditions cause general hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and include:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease/heart failure
  • Gout
  • Lymphoma
  • Malaria
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • HIV
  • Brucellosis
  • Riley-Day syndrome

Definitions of these conditions can be found in our glossary section.

These also include certain forms of medication such as antidepressants, beta blockers, e.g. propranolol and eye drops. Obesity is another cause of this condition as is the menopause. In regard to the menopause: excessive sweating in the form of night sweats is a common feature of the menopause and most women experience this during this time. It is however, a temporary sign of the menopause and disappears after a period of time.

If you are a woman in the early stages of the menopause or are fast approaching the ‘change of life’ then find out more about night sweats in our complete guide to the menopause.

Treatment for general hyperhidrosis

This form of excessive sweating affects the whole body which means that it is difficult to prescribe a single treatment for this. So it is not a good idea to use a strong form of deodorant across a large area of the body as this can cause problems such as skin irritation. A combination of treatments is the preferred option which involves a deodorant, creams/wipes and iontophoresis. Every sufferer differs in their reaction to these treatments so they are usually prescribed on a ‘trial and error’ basis. Sufferers also seek advice from others often through online forums which are a good source of knowledge.

If your excessive sweating is caused by a medical condition then it often disappears once your condition is resolved. So if you are suffering from a disease or are taking a particular type of medication and have noticed that you sweat more than normal then seek medical advice. Your GP will be able to prescribe a suitable form of treatment which will deal with both your medical condition and your hyperhidrosis. Treatment options are discussed in more detail in our treatment for excessive sweating section.

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