Common medical conditions that can cause excessive sweating

While it is a common sign for individuals to sweat after staying in the sun too long or indulging in vigorous exercise, some individuals tend to sweat a lot more than usual. Excessive sweating can be quite a hassle to deal with. However, if you tend to keep on sweating profusely irrespective of what you do and where you are, chances are you may be suffering from a medical condition called hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis can in turn be triggered by far more serious conditions like diabetes, thyroid problems, obesity or infections. Accordingly, here are some of the more common medical conditions that can cause excessive sweating in individuals.

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

nervous system

Primary focal hyperhidrosis happens to be the most common cause for excessive sweating in individuals. This form of the condition usually affects anywhere between 1 and 3 percent of the population. It usually starts in adolescence or childhood and persists till adulthood. Most attribute it to a small malfunction in the body’s nervous system that makes the sweat glands hyperactive.

Although primary focal hyperhidrosis is not a cause for concern and does not cause any illness, it is still a medical condition. People who are affected by it may be healthy otherwise, but are too embarrassed to go out in public for fear of being socially stigmatized. This in turn, would affect their quality of life drastically.

The most common symptoms of the condition are specific and localized to certain areas of the body, including the groin, underarms, face, hands, head and feet. The symptoms of primary focal hyperhidrosis are also asymmetrical and occur on both sides of the body

Secondary Genera Hyperhidrosis

Parkinson’s disease

Also called as generalized sweating, this form of hyperhidrosis can lead to the entire body sweating profusely instead of limiting the activity to specific areas like the hands or feet. The condition is named secondary mainly because the reason for the profuse sweating usually stems from an underlying medical condition other than just genetics. One of the main symptoms of this form of hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating at night.

Secondary general hyperhidrosis can be caused by many serious medical conditions. The most common of these include thyroid problems, stroke, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, alcoholism, tuberculosis, Parkinson’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis and cancers like lymphoma and leukaemia, etc.

Night Flashes in Women

sleeping in light at night (2)

Women in particular are more prone to secondary general hyperhidrosis, usually caused by conditions like pregnancy and menopause. The hormonal levels in the body would be off balance during these periods, thus triggering the body’s sweat glands to become hyperactive. This in turn, would cause excessive sweating, mostly at night with the condition being called as night flashes. In fact, night flashes happen to be one of the most common symptoms of menopause in women.

Psychological Disorders


Certain emotions are also known to be associated with profuse sweating. While these may be considered as normal, psychological problems like anxiety disorders can cause excessive sweating in individuals who suffer from them. Anxiousness usually causes hyperhidrosis, as is suggested in many studies. Some other psychological disorders that also cause excessive sweating in individuals include depression, nervousness, stress and trauma, etc.


lady checking  blood pressure

Certain medications usually prescribed for medical conditions can cause excessive sweating in individuals. Some of the more common drugs that fall into this category include those prescribed for conditions like dry mouth, blood pressure and psychiatric illnesses (including tricyclic antidepressants and beta blockers). It has also been found out that certain nutritional supplements and antibiotics can also cause excessive sweating.

Other Causes of Excessive Sweating

lady suffering from common cold

Apart from all these reasons, some of the other known causes for excessive sweating in individuals include fever (usually owing to undetermined cause), endocarditis.


Excessive sweating can be quite embarrassing to deal with. Knowing about the causes for the same would help an individual deal with the condition better. The above mentioned facts are the most common factors that cause hyperhidrosis in individuals.

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