Hyperhidrosis | Symptoms


What are the symptoms of hyperhidrosis?

If you have hyperhidrosis, you may sweat all over your body, or you may sweat mainly on your hands, feet, armpits, face and genital area. Your clothes may be soaked with sweat. Your skin may become white and wrinkled, or red and irritated from the moisture.

Often, dampness from the sweat is accompanied by odor. Sweat by itself doesn’t usually have an odor. But once it is on your skin, bacteria and other germs begin to break it down. That is why hyperhidrosis can cause body odor.

Hyperhidrosis can have an unpleasant effect on your life. You may feel awkward and uncomfortable in social situations. You may be self-conscious because of dampness and odor. You may also be afraid to touch or shake hands with people or raise your arm to reach for something. You may feel embarrassed about being in public, spending time with your friends and going to work or school. These are very normal reactions to having hyperhidrosis.

Should I see my doctor?

Too often, people suffer with hyperhidrosis without seeking help. Perhaps you may think it is silly or embarrassing. But hyperhidrosis can have a negative impact on your life, causing social isolation, depression and anxiety. Plus, it can be a sign of a serious health problem. You are wise to seek your doctor’s advice. Contact your doctor if:

  • You seem to sweat a lot more than normal
  • Your sweating doesn’t have a cause, such as exercising or being in hot weather
  • You also have chest pain, fever, shortness of breath or the feeling that your heart is pounding
  • You are losing weight unintentionally
  • Your sweating mostly happens at night or worsens at night

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

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