Types of excessive sweating

Which type of excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) do you have? This may appear to be a strange question but there is more than one type of this condition. The question is which type do you have?

There are 4 types of excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) which are:

  • General hyperhidrosis
  • Primary focal hyperhidrosis
  • Secondary focal hyperhidrosis
  • Sleep hyperhidrosis

These four conditions are discussed as individual sections within this guide.

There are considered to be two types of excessive sweating: primary and secondary hyperhidrosis but it is important not to forget about generalised hyperhidrosis as well. We have included a section about night sweats or ‘sleep hyperhidrosis’ as this is another form of excessive sweating, especially among menopausal women.

Genetic or acquired excessive sweating

One of the main issues with excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) is whether you have a genetic tendency towards this condition or have developed this as a result of an underlying medical complaint. Hyperhidrosis is classified as a ‘congenital trait’ (genetic) or an ‘acquired trait’ (due to a medical condition).

Social impact of excessive sweating

The physical and psychological impact of excessive sweating cannot be underestimated but do not forget about the social impact as well. Excessive sweating causes a great deal of embarrassment for the sufferer especially in social situations which require close contact with others. Parties are a good example of this as are workplace meetings. What happens is that the sufferer avoids these types of situations which have a negative effect on their confidence and self esteem. They avoid getting too close to other people and become worried and anxious about their appearance. Their main concern is that of appearing sweaty and dishevelled especially in a situation which requires them to present a professional appearance. This can have a detrimental effect on their career as well as their social life.

Does this sound familiar? It is understandable that you will avoid social situations or be reluctant to interact with other people at work for fear of giving offence. But the sad fact is that it can be counter productive to both your work and social life. People who have never experienced excessive sweating find it difficult imagine the sense of awkwardness and embarrassment this causes. After all, we all sweat and it is normal to experience sweaty palms or have a few sweat patches on your clothes.

But imagine a situation where you are literally dripping with sweat or feel unable to shake hands with anyone because of sweaty palms? It is difficult to do so but many people with this condition experience these situations and others which restrict them on a daily basis. There is a fine line between normal sweating and excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) in which you feel damp, sticky and wet on a regular basis. Someone with this condition needs sympathy and understanding to help them regain their confidence and mingle with their peers on an equal level. This will remove any sense of isolation as well as boosting their self esteem.

The social impact of excessive sweating is discussed further in our long term effects of excessive sweating section.

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