Excessive Sweating Causes

Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis) may be caused following reasons.

Excessive Sweating Cause # 1: Genetics

Hyperhidrosis Genetic Transmission
Hyperhidrosis Genetic Transmission

Primary or focal hyperhidrosis usually starts during adolescence or even before, and seems to be inherited as an dominant genetic trait.

The process of passing on hyperhidrosis is believed to be autosomal dominant mode (a type of genetic inheritance) – essentially meaning that there is about 1 in 2 chance of a parent having the hyperhidrosis gene passing it to their kids (if only one of the parent has the affected gene)

Not everyone who has the gene shows signs of Hyperhidrosis. It is believed that about 5% of the population carries the hyperhidrosis genes, though only 3% of them show the symptoms. However, a person who apparently does not suffer from hyperhidrosis may in fact pass along the condition to their offspring. This may provide an explanation for those individuals having hyperhidrosis that do not seem to have any history of the condition in their immediate family.

Excessive Sweating Cause # 2: Underlying Medical Condition

Hyperhidrosis may also be cause by an underlying medical condition including disorder of the thyroid or pituitary glands, diabetes mellitus, tumors, gout, menopause, certain drugs, or mercury poisoning etc, The full list of underlying causes is still not known. This type of hyperhidrosis is called Secondary hyperhidrosis and can start at any point in life, usually in adulthood.

Excessive Sweating Cause # 3: Sympathetic Over Activity and Other Triggers

Some also claim that Hyperhidrosis may be caused by sympathetic over-activity. Nervousness or excitement can exacerbate the situation for many sufferers. Other factors can play a role; certain foods and drinks, nicotine, caffeine, and smells can trigger a response.

According to various estimates, about 3% of  the world's population is affected with some type of Hyperhidrosis.

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  • Sam

    I wonder if there is a way to know whether our excessive sweating is caused by genetics, or by sympathetic overactivity. Can a medical expert test this and let us know if we carry the hyperhidrosis gene? My idea is that maybe knowing the cause would help us find the right kind of treatment. For example, hyperhidrosis caused by sympathethic overactivity could maybe be treated best with medications, while genetic hyperhidrosis calls for antiperspirants or iontophoresis.

    • Leons

      Somehow I doubt that you can easily get yourself tested for hyperhidrosis genes. Genetic tests of that type are usually very expensive. Maybe the best option would be to find a scientific study on genetics and excessive sweat, and see if you can apply as a participant – such studies are often on the lookout for participants, but it also depends on where you live, and so on.

      Personally, I find it very interesting that hyperhidrosis gene is DOMINANT. Doesn’t that mean that evolution favours excessive sweating? Wouldn’t that mean that, actually, excessive sweat is (or at least, was!) useful for us as a species?

    • Clementina A.

      I don’t think that the cause of excessive sweat is that relevant when choosing the right hyperhidrosis treatment. Okay, the exception is when you’re sweating because of some acute medical condition – like maybe in secondary hyperhidrosis. But, in primary hyperhidrosis, where the excessive sweating is pretty much here to stay, I think the best thing is just to try out various treatments until you find the one that works best.

      • Mike Lopez

        I have this too