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Primary focal hyperhidrosis

C Christopher Smith, MD
David Pariser, MD
Section Editors
Robert P Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH
Mark V Dahl, MD
Deputy Editor
Abena O Ofori, MD


Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) is a common condition rarely due to significant underlying pathology that may have serious social, emotional, and professional consequences.

The diagnosis and treatment of primary focal hyperhidrosis is reviewed here. Night sweats and menopausal hot flashes are discussed separately. (See "Approach to the patient with night sweats" and "Menopausal hot flashes".)


Hyperhidrosis is the secretion of sweat in amounts greater than physiologically needed for thermoregulation. It is most commonly a chronic idiopathic (primary) condition; however, secondary medical conditions or medications should be excluded. Idiopathic hyperhidrosis localized to certain areas of the body is called primary focal hyperhidrosis. Primary focal hyperhidrosis usually affects the axillae, palms, and soles. The condition may also affect other sites, such as the face, scalp, inguinal, and inframammary areas.

A consensus panel suggested the following diagnostic criteria for primary focal hyperhidrosis [1]:

Focal, visible, excessive sweating of at least six months duration without apparent cause

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 10, 2017.
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