Perspiration, moist hands, hyperhydrose , what to think about it?

The human body comprises approximately 3 million sweat glands.
They produce on average 1 liter of sweat per day.
When it is excessive, perspiration can go up to 1 liter per hour.
It is governed by the hypothalamus which is involved in the body's cooling system, but it is also influenced by adrenalin and norepinephrin, two hormones which produce sweat in cases of fear.

Perspiration, a useful phenomenon!

When our body needs energy, it transforms nutriments into energy, and this involves the production of heat and therefore a rise in body temperature. The same applies during a hot summer day. If it were not controlled, this " overheating " would damage the cells of the skin.
Perspiration ensures the process of thermoregulation, thus making it possible for the body to maintain a constant temperature averaging 37,2°C.
In addition, the phenomenon of sweating allows the body to eliminate 30% of the waste produced as a result of metabolism (sweat is an aqueous liquid, colourless and acidic which contains 99 % sodium chloride, ammonia, lactic acid, urocanic urea, acid and amino acids). Lastly, perspiration ensures the formation of a hydrolipidic film which ensures adherence. Without sweat, we could not catch objects with our hands or walk on smooth surfaces in our bare feet

The Test !
Let your fingers hang...
In the event of hyperdydrose, a bead of sweat will bead in the first second...


Sweat secretion obeys nervous incentives (physical or psychic) which arrive of the hypothalamus located in the brain.

  • When the rise in blood temperature reaches the hypothalamus, this creates a sweat reaction. It consists in evaporating the sweat secreted by the sweat glands, via the pores located at the surface of the skin.

  • The system of perspiration due to emotions is rather similar. The emotions start a psychic sweat reaction which affects the hands and the soles of the feet in particular. It is due to hyperactivity oh the sympathetic nerve of the nervous system whose sweat reflexes act by the intermediary of a nerve centre which is, in this case, cortical.


Perspiration relies on approximately 3 millionsweat glands on the surface of our body and which function uninterrupted.
They are in contact with blood vessels and connected to nerve endings.

  • There are two types of sweat glands: the eccrine and apocrine glands.

  • The eccrine glands are part of the parasympathetic nervous system.They are primarily found on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, the armpits, the face and the chest. They eliminate sweat made up with 99% of water and 1% rock salt,
    this is practically odourless.

    The apocrine glands, though fewer, react to the trigger of nervous fibres sympathetic nerves (activated by emotional stimuli whose transmitter substance is adrenaline). These are the ones involved in hyperhydrosis (*). These glands are located in areas of poor air circulation like the armpits, the ano-genital folds, the navel, etc. These areas are prone to maceration so the microbes break up the apocrine sweat (wich has a viscous and milky aspect), which contains greases, ammonia as well as fatty acids. This causes odors.

Excessive perspiration...

Hyperhydrosis (*) is the medical term indicating excessive sweating. Approximately 1% of the population is affected. It can affcet either only certain parts of the body or its whole surface. It appears as sweats wich is unadapted to the physiological needs, it is not systematically caused by a rise of temperature or stress, even if those can amplify the problem.

Causes ...

Hyperhidrosis results from hyperactivity of the nervous system sympathetic nerve. According to their origins, one can distinguish primary and secondary hyperhydrosis. One of the major causes of localised hyperhydrosis is stress, emotions. It seems moreover to be linked to hereditary obesity and other factors. One also experiences hypersweating following:

  • dysfunction of the vegetative nervous system;

  • problems of health (diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperthyroïd and other endocrin disorders, cardiac insufficiency, tuberculosis, tumours, etc...);

  • particular states and circumstances: menopause, pregnancy, fever, hormonal imbalance, alcoholic or drug intoxication (and during the weaning of those), violent effort, etc...;

  • taking certain drugs (anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirine, the contraceptive pill, thyroid hormones, antidepressants, etc...) and
    certain spicy foods, etc...

Odors... .

In itself, sweat is almost odourless. The unpleasant odor (bromidrose) comes from the microbial degradation of the organic substances conveyed by sweat. Certain zones are more exposed to this (ano-genital, armpits, folds, navel, etc).


Advice ...

It is necessary to have an "impeccable" standard of personal hygiene : a tepid shower associated with the use of a soft soap (possibly a liquid soap disinfectant) makes it possible to get rid of sweat and to inhibit the proliferation of the bacteria. Feetshould be washed at least once a day and they must be toroughly dried.
You can then spray them with an anti-perspiring spray or cover them with talcum powder.

  • Opt for natural fibre clothing (cotton, flax, wool, etc.) as their weav makes the texture more ventilated and allows any moisture to evaporate. On the other hand, avoid synthetic fabrics which stick to the skin and increase perspiration as well as unpleasant odors.
    If you tend to perspire abundantly, choose loose clothing.
  • Change clothing frequently, especially those in direct contact with the skin.

  • To limit foot perspiration as much as possible, choose leather shoes or those equipped with ventilation.
    Avoid wearing the same shoes every day, it is preferable to change shoes regularly so that they can be aired.
    As for socks, choose cotton, wool or other natural fibres and change them often.
    Once more, avoid synthetic matters and those which compress the feet. Try using inserts with absorbing or antifungal properties.

  • Drink in order to avoid dehydration and to compensate for the loss of salts (in particular of NaCl). Amongst other solutions, ordinary deodorants are useful to mask the odors of perspiration (which, in the end, isn't so bad ...) but they do not prevent perspiration.
    To diminish abundant perspiration, think of using an antiperspirant. Metal salts they contain, they fight the emission of sweat by tightening the sweat channel, this does not completely block the process of perspiration but it reduces the babbit metal from 30 to 60 %. Moreover, they attack the micro-organisms responsible for the decomposition of sweat or absorb the odor by means of a chemical reaction to it.
    The products with aluminium chloride (20-25%), seem most effective. Apply them 2 to 3 times per week.

  • Especially adapted to the treatment of the perspiration of hands and feet, ionophoresis requires specialised equipment but gives rather good results. It consists in plunging the zones to be treated in a hot water basin crossed by an electrical current created by two electrodes. Ionophoresis will stop the pores and will prevent the evacuation of sweat. The treatment generally comprises 20 meetings of a score
    of minutes each one, at a rate of one per week. Please be aware that this method has countra-indications!

  • Drugs. At present, no drug makes it possible to remove perspiration. However, when the causes are due to stress, some antidepressants, beta-blockers (they slow down the system of the sympathetic nerve) or anxiolytics can improve hypersweating.
    They require a medical follow-up. Others: Psychotherapy, hypnosis, relieving, acupuncture and homeopathy can give results.

  • If the hyperhydrosis resists all these and really proves to be a handicap, surgical treatment is the only remaining possibility: the most used is endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, which leads to the specific destruction of the ganglion sympathetic nerve which controls perspiration. This technique is both a radical and final treatment and is only for case of extreme hyperhydrosisaxillaire.
    It is a surgical operation, with the inherent risks which result from this (see " surgical operation contract ").

  • Lastly, it is also possible to possibly undergo an ablation of the affected sweat glands.


Harmful effects of sweat on our body..

An excess of perspiration can encourage the development of warts, bulbs, the mycosis, contact dermatitis and eczema. It can also lead to a mineral salt defect (defect at the origin of cramps) and dehydration.


Do you have any other questions troubling you ? info@europeanclinics.com
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