Diseases & Conditions
Boston Medical Center’s Division of Thoracic Surgery treats a wide variety of conditions, including hyperhidrosis, with the trademark skill and compassion for which we are known. We are here to treat you in the most effective way possible, help minimize your pain and help start on the path to recovery. Our team of dedicated nurses, surgeons and support services personnel is here for you and your family in any way we can be. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns. We will work diligently to make your experience and your family's as comfortable as possible.
What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a disorder of the glands in the sympathetic nervous system which control your body's involuntary movements and processes. It causes excessive sweating, typically in your hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis) or feet (plantar hyperhidrosis). Sweating may occur at unpredictable times, including when the temperature is cool or when you are at rest.
The main symptom is wetness produced by the sweat glands. Sweating occurs to help the body stay cool, but excessive wetness may interfere with daily life and cause embarrassment, discomfort or the need to clean or change clothes more frequently than those without hyperhidrosis.
The cause of hyperhidrosis is unknown. When it is caused by another condition, such as anxiety or menopause, it is called secondary hyperhidrosis. Once the underlying cause is treated, the hyperhidrosis typically ends. When it is not caused by another condition, it is termed primary hyperhidrosis, which appears to run in families.
Hyperhidrosis is often diagnosed through a simple discussion with your doctor, who will ask you when, how much and where you typically sweat, and if you've noticed any specific triggers. If you perspire more than needed to help your body stay cool and to such a degree that sweating interferes with your quality of life, you may have hyperhidrosis.
There are a number of ways to treat hyperhidrosis, depending on the type and severity of your individual situation. Non-surgical methods are used first.