You may sometimes feel like you sweat more than you should. If so, you’re not alone. Excessive sweating affects between 1 and 3% of the population — that’s over 200 million people around the world. But many of your preconceptions about excessive sweating are probably false. To shed some light on the issue, we’ve fact-checked some of the most common statements about excessive sweating.
- Excessive Sweating Is a Medical Condition: Answer: True
Excessive sweating is a recognized medical condition called hyperhidrosis. When it occurs on its own, as opposed to as part of a separate medical condition, it’s called primary focal hyperhidrosis (this is the most common type). Otherwise, it’s called secondary hyperhidrosis.
- Excessive Sweating Endangers Your Health: Answer: False
Hyperhidrosis itself does not appear to indicate a health danger. However, it is sometimes associated with other problems (such as thyroid issues or diabetes) that do require medical attention.
- You Should Talk to a Doctor About Excessive Sweating: Answer: True
Even if you are experiencing hyperhidrosis that is technically harmless from a medical standpoint, you may still want to talk to your doctor about it. That’s because excessive sweating can be a major psychological stressor impacting quality of life. Surveys show that most patients report feeling less confident because of their condition, and 90% say the condition affects their overall emotional state.
- Excessive Sweating Is Genetic: Answer: Probably True
Between 30 and 50% of people with hyperhidrosis have another family member who is also affected. That implies a genetic predisposition, though that hasn’t been definitively proven.
- Excessive Sweating Affects More Women Than Men: Answer: False
It’s commonly said that women are more likely to have hyperhidrosis, but hyperhidrosis actually affects men and women equally (most commonly between the ages of 25 and 64).
- You Can Cure Excessive Sweating: Answer: Probably False
As of yet, there’s no known way to cure excessive sweating. But that doesn’t mean excessive sweating can’t be treated (see below).
- There Are Treatments for Excessive Sweating: Answer: True
There are several hyperhidrosis products available. One of the most effective is an iontophoresis machine, a machine that uses very mild electrical currents to shut down the sweat glands in affected areas. Iontophoresis doesn’t cure excessive sweating in the sense that it fixes the issue permanently, but it is highly effective with multiple treatments, being successful in 80 to 98% of cases, depending on the device used.
What else have you heard about excessive sweating? Let us know what questions you still have.