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Sweaty palms

Mohommed Essop-Adam
Reviewed by Mohommed Essop-AdamReviewed on 30.10.2023 | 3 minutes read

Sweaty palms are also known as palmar hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis, a condition characterised by excessive sweating beyond what is necessary for thermoregulation, can significantly impact the quality of life physically, emotionally and psychologically. Sweating is one of the key ways our body regulates its temperature and effectively cools down. Overactive sweat glands cause individuals to sweat more than needed - this can lead to the experience of sweaty palms. Sweaty palms do not usually indicate a serious problem but on occasion, it can be caused by an underlying condition.

Types of Hyperhidrosis

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

This is the most common type, characterised by excessive sweating localised to specific areas, such as the palms, soles, underarms, or face. Stress and emotional factors often exacerbate symptoms, and sweating typically occurs symmetrically on both sides of the body.

Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis

This type involves excessive sweating throughout the body and is usually a symptom of an underlying medical condition or medication side effect.

What causes sweaty palms?

Causes and Contributing Factors

Genetics. Sweaty palms can run in families and for the majority of people, it is a minor problem.

Overactive Nerves. Dysfunction in the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for controlling sweat glands, can lead to excessive sweating.

Hormonal Changes. Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause may contribute to hyperhidrosis.

Medical Conditions. Some underlying health conditions linked to sweaty palms include chronic diseases like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, obesity, disorders of the nervous system, and chronic alcoholism or drug addiction.

Associated Conditions

Skin Infections - constant moisture from excessive sweating can create an environment conducive to skin infections.

Psychosocial Impact - hyperhidrosis can lead to social anxiety, embarrassment, and a diminished quality of life due to the constant fear of sweating in public.

Pharmacist recommended products

What are the symptoms of sweaty palms?

Sweaty palms happen outside of changes related to temperature or activity. It can affect anywhere on the hand but the commonest site is the palms, causing them to feel wet and cold.

What can my doctor do?

Your doctor can recommend different treatments for you if it is causing you significant concern or affecting your daily activities.

There are some prescribed medication can be used to treat sweaty palms. These are called anticholinergics, and they are used outside of their main intended purpose and have to be given after careful consideration of other medical conditions you may have.

Your doctor may also refer you for botox surgery, which is where botulinum toxin is injected into your palms to block the receptors from sweating. These injections last for about 6 months at a time. As a last resort, surgery may be considered to damage or remove the sweat glands in your palms.

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Mohommed Essop-Adam
Reviewed by Mohommed Essop-Adam
Reviewed on 30.10.2023
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