Excessive Sweating

Excessive Sweating

Hyperhidrosis

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Sweating is the body’s way of cooling down and is necessary to prevent overheating. However, overactive sweat glands that produce more sweat than your body needs can cause discomfort, anxiety, and embarrassment. Excessive sweating -- called hyperhidrosis -- can also result in irritating and painful skin problems, such as infections and chronic peeling.

Duke dermatologists are skilled at diagnosing the underlying cause of excessive sweating and treating even the most complex cases of hyperhidrosis in adults and children. Our doctors work closely with you to develop a personalized plan to treat your condition and improve your quality of life.

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Treatments

Antiperspirants

These substances are typically the first line of defense against excessive sweating. Antiperspirants decrease the release of sweat and absorb odor-causing moisture. They are available over-the-counter or in prescription strength.

Iontophoresis

This treatment delivers a mild electrical current through water to block the output of sweat. It is often used for excessive sweating of the hands and feet, and can be done at home.

Botox Injections

Botox blocks the chemical that activates the body’s sweat glands. It is used to treat severe sweating under the arms, as well as the palms and soles. You usually return to normal activity the same day as treatment. Repeated treatment is often required to maintain the effect.

Oral Medication

Glycopyrrolate and oxybutynin are in the class of medications called anticholinergics. They decrease excessive sweating by preventing stimulation of the sweat glands. They may be prescribed when sweating takes place in more than one place on the body. Anticholinergics can be associated with side effects such as dry eyes and dry mouth.

Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy

When conservative treatment options fail, our dermatologists may recommend this minimally invasive surgical option. It is performed by a cardiothoracic surgeon, who destroys the nerves that control sweating in the part of your body that's affected. This procedure is only considered for the most severe cases of hyperhidrosis.

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Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Diagnosis

Medical Evaluation

Your doctor will talk to you about your medical history and the symptoms you're having. Your doctor will ask questions such as:

  • Where on your body does excessive sweating occur?
  • Is there a particular time of day when it occurs?
  • Is it triggered by nervousness or when you feel upset?
  • Do you often change social plans because you worry about sweating excessively?
  • Have you given up hobbies?
  • Have you changed careers because of this condition?
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Why Choose Duke

Experience
Our doctors successfully diagnose and manage care for many patients with hyperhidrosis. We offer many treatment options.

Specialized Care for Children and Teens
Hyperhidrosis affects children and adolescents. Our doctors help many children keep excessive sweating under control, so they can feel confident, enjoy time with friends, and engage in their hobbies.

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals
In addition, Duke University Hospital is proud to be named the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 10 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.