When you live in a tropical country, you’re bound to be sweating a lot. It’s become a part of your daily life that you never give a second thought and consider as a normal thing. But is it really? What if there’s another reason for your sweating besides you living on the equator? What if you’re suffering from a medical condition – hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating?
There’s so much stigma around sweating that people consider it an embarrassment, and some people live their whole lives not realising that they have hyperhidrosis. This is very unfortunate because you could easily treat the condition with natural remedies or therapies.
To know whether you have hyperhidrosis — and, if you do, which kind — take this quiz below!
Is That Hyperhidrosis or are You Just Nervous to See Me?
There are two types of hyperhidrosis – primary focal hyperhidrosis persists since childhood and is not associated with any health condition, while secondary generalised hyperhidrosis is caused due to underlying medical conditions.
If your answers are mostly A’s
You seem to be sweating normally, like when you’re overheated, exercising, or getting anxious about something.
Make sure you use deodorant! Take a small towel with you when you’re exercising outdoors. If you’re about to face a situation that you know will make you nervous (like a job interview or a date), maybe you could bring along a lightweight jacket or a cardigan to hide the sweat stains on your clothes.
If your answers are mostly B’s
There’s a chance that you’re suffering from primary focal hyperhidrosis. This suggests that your excessive sweating is not caused by another illness, and you most likely inherited it from a family member.
The symptoms of primary focal hyperhidrosis are:
- You are sweating on specific parts of the body, also known as focal areas: hands, feet, underarms, and face or head. The sweating is symmetrical, which means they’re occurring both on the left and right sides at the same time.
- You have at least one episode of excessive sweating every week.
- Sweating occurs when you wake up, but not when you sleep.
- You have been sweating excessively since childhood or teenage.
If your answers are mostly C’s
What you experience is most likely secondary generalised hyperhidrosis. The word “secondary” here means another medical condition causes excessive sweating or is a side effect of a medication you take for another sickness.
The symptoms are:
- Sweating occurs all over or on larger areas of the body (generalised areas).
- Night sweats.
- Symptoms appear only after a person becomes adult.
If you have this type of hyperhidrosis, it’s best to consult a doctor to find if you have other underlying health issues, such as diabetes, gout, accident-induced injury, menopause, obesity, hyperthyroidism, or a tumour. The doctor will also ask you if you have been taking any medicines.
How to Treat Hyperhidrosis
According to Zhou Bin Rong, Senior Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician at Eu Yan Sang, these excessive sweating symptoms are likely due to the imbalance of body functions. For example, if someone perspires often in the morning and feels fatigued all the time, then he or she may be suffering from weak qi. If someone is experiencing sweaty palms or feet, then the problem could lie in the spleen.
“If the sweat has a yellowish tint, or you find a lot of sweat stains on your clothes, then your body may have a lot of damp heat,” she explains.
There are some treatment options you can try to treat excessive sweating.
Proven hyperhidrosis – specific treatments
Doctors would usually suggest treatments that will work such as, antiperspirants/deodorants, botox injections, and iontophoresis treatment. Botox injections and iontophoresis should be done under the supervision of a medical practitioner. However, many natural remedies can also be considered.
Some herbs may help control excessive sweating. They are astragalus, schisandra fruit, sour date or spine date, and cinnamon twig.
They are usually prescribed to patients suffering from secondary generalised hyperhidrosis. The most common is anticholinergics. Talk to your doctor to make sure anticholinergics won’t clash with other medications you take.
Physician Zhou Bin Rong says acupuncture can potentially be an effective treatment to hyperhidrosis, along with TCM and diet.
It bears remembering that a treatment that works for one person might not work for another. Sometimes, a person must undergo a combination of treatments before they can finally find the solution to their condition. The point remains that hyperhidrosis is treatable and, therefore, not something you should be ashamed of. Consult a TCM physician for a proper diagnosis and personalised treatment. In the end, try not to be in a sweat about it!
This is an adaptation of an article, “No Sweat”, which first appeared on Eu Yan Sang website.
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- Know Sweat – International Hyperhidrosis Society. Oral Medications. [Accessed 29 July 2021]
- American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hyperhidrosis: Signs and Symptoms. [Accessed 29 July 2021]
- Shen-Nong online. Chinese Medicine Treatment for Excessive Daytime Sweating. [Accessed 29 July 2021]