Using wipe to clean sweaty hand with palmar hyperhidrosis

What is Palmar Hyperhidrosis?

Palmar Hyperhidrosis, or sweaty palms, is the most common symptom of Hyperhidrosis and can be the most socially and emotionally disturbing symptom. The occurrence of excessive sweating of the palms, a symptom of palmar hyperhidrosis, is not linked to typical sweat-inducing conditions, such as warm weather or physical activity. Palmar hyperhidrosis impacts between 1-3% of the population, typically presented during childhood or adolescence. Palm sweating can be accompanied by hyperactive feet sweating and armpit sweating, but palmar sweating is the most difficult to control and is the most troubling.

For most individuals suffering from palmar hyperhidrosis, quality of life can be severely impacted. Sufferers may avoid social situations entirely for fear of others noticing their condition. They avoid social interactions such as handshakes or other forms of contact. Further, a fear of physical contact can negatively impact relationships. Those living with palmar hyperhidrosis may experience a great deal of stress and anxiety from their excessive sweating that can ultimately impact their ability to perform daily tasks required of them at work or school.

Cause of Palmar Hyperhidrosis

Palmar Hyperhidrosis is caused by hyperactive sweat glands in the hands. Instances such as holding hands or shaking one’s hand may excessively stimulate the sweat glands in the hand leading to unusually sweaty hands. While excessive sweating from palmar hyperhidrosis may happen for no apparent reason, sweating can be made worse by situations that induce stress, anxiety, nervousness or fear.

There also appears to be a strong genetic component with the occurrence of palmar hyperhidrosis, with an estimated 30% of sufferers having a family member that experiences excessive sweating.

Symptoms of Palmar Hyperhidrosis

Symptoms of hyperhidrosis of the hands may include:

  • Excessively clammy and sweaty hands
  • Hands that are cold to the touch
  • Pale or blush coloring of the hands
  • Sweating in the hands from everyday tasks such as writing with a pencil or holding hands with someone
  • Abrupt onset of sweating episodes
  • Fear of situations that require hand contact
  • Swelling of the fingers

How is it diagnosed?

Palmar hyperhidrosis is diagnosed when a specific set of criteria are present. These criteria typically include the presence of visible, exaggerated sweat on the hands for at least six months and not tied to any specific cause. Further characteristics for a palmar hyperhidrosis diagnosis include:

  • Age of onset under 25 years
  • Interruption to daily activities as a result of excessive hand sweating
  • At least one episode of excessive sweating per week
  • Bilateral and symmetrical sweating
  • A family history of excessive sweating

Your doctor may recommend a series of tests to pinpoint the hands as a location of excessive sweating and determine the severity of the disorder.

Palmar Hyperhidrosis Treatment Options

Fortunately today, there are a wide variety of palmar hyperhidrosis treatment options available for patients. Individuals should feel comfortable to seek professional help in addressing their palmar hyperhidrosis if it begins to impact their daily routine and overall quality of life. At the Center for Hyperhidrosis at Columbia University Medical Center, we use a team approach to evaluate and treat all patients with palmar hyperhidrosis under the care and guidance of Board Certified dermatologists and thoracic surgeons. When starting hyperhidrosis treatment, we first recommend a series of non-invasive, topical remedies. If the patient does not respond to non-surgical remedies, we may recommend surgery, but only in severe instances. Hyperhidrosis hands treatment options include:

  • Botox® – Binds receptors to prevent activation of sweat glands.
  • Medical Therapy – Oral prescription treatment to prevent the stimulation of sweat glands.
  • Iontopheresis – Treatment specifically for sweaty hands that utilizes a mild electric current through water to reduce hyperactive sweat glands.
  • ETS – A minimally invasive surgery that is the best treatment for patients with severe Palmar Hyperhidrosis.

You no longer have to battle palmar hyperhidrosis alone. Contact the Center for Hyperhidrosis today to discuss hyperhidrosis treatment for hands that is right for your specific situation. We will address any concerns you may have, including forms of treatment, insurance coverage, palmar hyperhidrosis surgery cost, and more.

Sweaty hands due to palmar hyperhidrosis
Hands modeling and feet holding flower


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