Palmar Hyperhidrosis - Excessive Sweating of the Hands

Palmar Hyperhidrosis is a condition marked by excessive perspiration of the palms beyond physiological necessity. It is caused by hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system of sweat glands. It is a hereditary sweating disorder, which can sometimes develop in early childhood, or appear at a later age.

Palmar Hyperhidrosis has profound and dramatic effects on work and related professional activities, the activities of daily living, and normal social interactions. This condition can occur under emotional distress (i.e. meeting a potential employer, or having a first date), excitement, or for no apparent reason. Even the application of a small amount of lotion can trigger sweaty hands.

When a person exercises or becomes excited, the sympathetic nerve is stimulated and adrenaline is pumped into the blood system. As the heart rate and blood pressure increase, sweating occurs to control the body temperature.

In a small percentage of the population (0.1%-0.2%), however, these normal physiological changes become abnormal, causing individuals to sweat at inappropriate times, such as while resting or sleeping.

People afflicted with Palmar Hyperhidrosis often complain of cold, sweaty hands. In severe cases, sweat is seen to literally drip down from the hands. Because Palmar Hyperhidrosis is aggravated by stress as minor as shaking or holding hands, it has significant social and psychological impact on patients afflicted with this disorder.

People with Palmar Hyperhidrosis disorder are constantly aware of their condition. For this reason, most hyperhidrosis sufferers go to great lengths to avoid contacts with people, by hiding their hands in their pockets or under their arms. They may lose confidence in their ability to socialize or interact with others; as a result, they may become frustrated and withdrawn.

For example, at Catholic Mass, at the Sign of Peace In Our Father, they will actually sit between family members, to avoid shaking or holding any stranger’s hand. There are some who even avoid Mass, altogether, because they are ashamed of their condition.

People feel that it is extraordinarily difficult and unprofessional to offer their sweating hand to greet clients, colleagues and other professionals.

While writing on paper, they will smear the ink and crinkle the paper, and actually need a napkin underneath their hand to protect the text.

The process of getting a driver's license and having to be fingerprinted can be a difficult experience; there is a constant need to dry each fingertip before a print can be made.

A common task such as driving is problematic. When driving a vehicle, the steering wheel will get wet and slippery. To compensate, some people keep a towel handy to wipe off the wheel.

The mild forms of Palmar Hyperhidrosis respond well to commonly prescribed treatment available, such as Drysol®(a topical lotion), Drionic®, Robinul®, BOTOX®, or even baby powder. Minimally- invasive, surgical treatment of Palmar Hyperhidrosis, reserved for severe sweaty hands, is known as Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy.

Click here to view other forms of hyperhidrosis.