Hyperhidrosis | Causes & Risk Factors

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What causes hyperhidrosis?

There are 2 types of hyperhidrosis.

Primary hyperhidrosis (also called focal hyperhidrosis) tends to affect both sides of the body and occurs on the feet, hands, underarms, head and face. Sometimes, it affects larger areas of the body. It seems to run in families, often begins in childhood and occurs during waking hours. It is usually very hard to determine the cause of primary hyperhidrosis.

More often, hyperhidrosis is caused by something else. This is called secondary hyperhidrosis (also called generalized hyperhidrosis). It tends to involve large areas of the body, and may happen both during the day and at night. Secondary hyperhidrosis may be caused by:

  • Anxiety
  • Hormonal changes (such as menopause)
  • Problems with blood sugar control
  • An overactive thyroid
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Certain infections or other conditions
  • Caffeine
  • Certain medicines, such as aspirin, some blood pressure medicines and antidepressants

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 08/09

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