Excessive sweating is perspiring a lot without much effort. This can happen over the entire body, but usually it is limited to certain parts of the body. Frequent perspiring is nasty and often unpleasant, due to the body odor that is released. In some people, sweat production is so high that it disturbs daily life.


The cause of excessive sweating is usually not known. The trigger for sweating probably originates in the brains. Heredity plays a role: in thirty to fifty percent of people with excessive sweating, it is common in the family.
When all sweat glands over the entire body are excessively active, the cause is usually an underlying problem. This may be overweight, menopause, a (chronic) infection such as tubercolosis, hormonal conditions such as excessive operation of the thyroid, cancer, or the use of certain medications. Excessive sweating can occur under the influence of psychological factors. It usually starts in puberty and symptoms remain for several decades.


In case of excessive sweating, certain body areas are often very humid due to excessive sweat production. This may be in the palms of the hands, in the armpits, on the scalp and in the face, on the torso, in the groin or on the soles of the feet. The excessive perspiration can be accompanied by an unpleasant odor. This odor is caused by bacteria that are growing in number and emit an odor. The unpleasant odor from sweaty feet is often a big problem. The skin of sweaty feet is easily infected by fungi and bacteria.
Excessive sweating can lead to emotional and psychosocial problems, including decreased self-confidence, social isolation and depression. For example, one dare not give hands anymore. Apart from the psychological impact, excessive sweating can also cause an irritated skin, for example in the groin.


It is possible to get an impression of the amount of sweat secretion with the sweat test (starch-iodine test). In this test, the skin is thoroughly dried and rubbed with an iodine solution. Next, starch is sprinkled over the skin. Starch reacts with iodine in the presence of sweat, giving a dark blue or black discoloration. Usually, however, such a test is not needed.


In case of excessive sweating, the following treatments are available:


The condition usually remains several years, sometimes for life. When all sweat glands over the entire body are excessively active, it usually disappears when the underlying cause can be taken away.