Symptoms of excessive sweating

The most obvious answer here is ‘sweating’ but excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis is characterised by several symptoms which include both physical and psychological manifestations.

It is important to distinguish between excess sweating caused by hot weather or physical exercise and excessive sweating which has no obvious cause.

Physical signs of excessive sweating

These include:

  • Local or generalised sweating
  • Skin has a pink or bluish appearance
  • Cracked or scaly skin particularly on the feet
  • Cold, clammy feeling skin (palms of the hands)

Excess sweating stains the clothes which is especially noticeable under the arms. There is a noticeable odour.

Sweating of the feet causes shoes and socks to become damp or even wet which results in a strong smell from these.

Excessive sweating often affects the armpits, hands and feet and face but can also develop on the back and in the groin. Sweating ranges from a small amount of moisture through to actual dripping.

Psychological signs of excessive sweating

This condition impacts upon the sufferer’s life in a variety of ways. It causes them to become self-conscious about their appearance and withdraw from social activities. It is not uncommon for sufferer’s to avoid shaking hands or any other form of physical contact. They avoid social gatherings or work situations such as meetings for fear of worsening their condition.

Presentations are dreaded or avoided if at all possible. This also applies to any situation which requires them to have a prominent position in a large group of people.

Social embarrassment is the most common outcome of this condition. If you have developed this condition then you may have become isolated or becoming increasingly reluctant to mix with others. Your biggest fear is that of displaying the obvious signs of your condition i.e. sweat stained armpits and people noticing this and the accompanying odour.

Another effect of this condition is to avoid wearing certain colours or types of fabrics which display sweat stains. Sufferers often choose white or black clothing to hide these signs.

Risks of excessive sweating

These tend to be social risks as a stigma remains in our society towards sweating. We view it is ‘dirty’ and a sign of bad personal hygiene which then causes us to ignore someone with this condition.

This causes a drop in confidence and self-esteem in the sufferer.

It also increases the risk of certain conditions such as:

  • Skin rashes/inflammations and infections: these are caused by chafing from wet clothing or prolonged sweat on the surface of the skin.
  • Fungal infection: this is particularly common in the areas between the toes and the folds of the groin. It is also an ideal breeding ground for other conditions such as athlete’s foot and nail infections.
  • Dehydration: excessive sweating often results in a large amount of fluid being lost from the body which can result in tiredness and dizziness.

The emotional effects cannot be underestimated either.

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