An Overview of Sweaty Palms (Palmar Hyperhidrosis)
Sweaty palms, also known as palmar hyperhidrosis, are a situation that causes excessive sweating in the palms of the hands. Though it’s called sweaty palms, often times a person will experience both sweatings in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet together (sweating in the feet is called plantar hyperhidrosis). Sweaty palms are an offset of primary hyperhidrosis—a condition that reason excessive sweating in the extremities, underarms, and face.
The symptoms of sweaty palms are accurately that—overactive sweat glands that result in excessive, uncontrolled sweating in the palms of the hands. Sweating will happen instantaneously and not as a reason for an external factor like exercising or a raise in body temperature. Those who have sweaty palms will experience sweating in any season, not just the spring or summer.
There may be a genetic inheritance to sweaty palms that makes the situation run in families. Certain situation can also reason sweaty palms, or another form of hyperhidrosis, including anxiety, certain cancers, substance abuse, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, lung disease, acromegaly (when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone), menopause, Parkinson’s disease, glucose disorders, tuberculosis, stroke, or a pheochromocytoma (a tumor in the adrenal gland) or carcinoid syndrome.
In order to rule out secondary sweaty palms caused by one of the above situations, doctors will make note of the location of sweating, pattern, timing, and other symptoms such as weight loss, fever, appetite, and hormone levels.
If there are no secondary reasons for sweaty palms, doctors typically perform two types of tests to diagnose sweaty palms. The first is called a starch-iodine test. Here, an iodine solution is applied to the palm and, once dried, sprinkled with starch.
When not caused by a separate disease or infection, having sweaty palms doesn’t harm your physical health, but it can certainly affect your quality of life and emotional health. There are a number of treatment options depending on the severity of symptoms from sweaty palms. This includes using antiperspirants on the palms to help block the sweat glands. Botulinum toxin (Botox) has also been used to treat sweaty palms by releasing acetylcholine, a chemical compound that acts as a neurotransmitter to decrease the amount of sweat the glands in your palms produce.