Half of Hyperhidrosis Patients Delay Treatment for a Decade or More

NEW YORK—Approximately half of the 15 million people in the United States with hyperhidrosis delay seeking treatment for 10 years or more, said Maral Skelsey, MD, director of the Dermatologic Surgery Center of Washington, DC and clinical associate professor at Georgetown University, at the 2019 American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Summer Meeting in New York.1

The AAD defines hyperhidrosis as at least 1 episode per week of excessive sweating without the presence of triggers, such as temperature or activity level, in children and adults.2 It most commonly affects the underarms, feet, and hands, the AAD notes.2

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Excessive sweating is not the only consequence of hyperhidrosis, however. Research presented earlier this year at the 2019 AAD Annual Meeting suggested that patients with hyperhidrosis are more likely to have certain psychiatric disorders.3 In a study of 500 participants with hyperhidrosis, researchers found that approximately 13.8% of participants had anxiety, 12.4% had depression, and 6.4% had attention deficit disorder.3

“Many of [my patients] had either anxiety or depression. There were some who had said they had suicidal thoughts because their sweating was ruining their life,” Dee Anna Glaser, MD, said at the 2019 AAD Annual Meeting.3

Hyperhidrosis can be particularly devastating for children, who can often experience social isolation as a result of excessive sweating, Dr Skelsey explained at the Summer Meeting. In adults, this condition can impact their professional and personal lives in a variety of ways, she said.

“Hyperhidrosis can have a long-term impact if you constantly avoid professions or situations where you interact with people and shake hands,” said Dr Skelsey in a press release.1 Hyperhidrosis can also be tied to other skin conditions, such as warts and eczema, Dr Skelsey added.1

It is important to convey to patients that numerous treatments are available for hyperhidrosis. According to Dr Skelsey, potential treatment options include:1

  • Prescription or over-the-counter clinical strength antiperspirants, which can be applied nightly to the underarms or hands.
  • Prescription topical wipes, which can reduce underarm sweating in children as young as age 9 years.
  • Botox injections in the underarms and hands.
  • Iontophoresis, which can be used for the hands and feet in children and adults.
  • Oral prescription glycopyrronium.
  • Microwave thermolysis.
  • Laser surgery.
  • Surgical removal of sweat glands, which is often a last resort for patients with treatment-resistant hyperhidrosis of the hands.

—Christina Vogt


1. Research suggests hyperhidrosis is widespread, but patients are not seeking treatment [press release]. New York, NY. American Academy of Dermatology. July 25, 2019. Accessed on July 25, 2019.

2. Hyperhidrosis. American Academy of Dermatology. Accessed July 25, 2019.

3. Research suggests connection between excessive sweating and mental health conditions [press release]. Washington, DC. American Academy of Dermatology. March 1, 2019. Accessed on July 25, 2019.