Ask the doctor: What can I do about excessive sweating?

Ask the doctor

What can I do about excessive sweating?

Q. I seem to sweat a great deal from my hands and underarms, more than my friends do. Sometimes I can't write or shake hands because my palms are dripping with sweat. Is there anything I can do about this embarrassing problem?

A. Sweating that exceeds the needs of the body—medically termed hyperhidrosis—is actually fairly common, affecting 1%–3% of the population. Hyperhidrosis may be generalized but most often it involves the palms, underarms, feet, and groin. As you've discovered, it can take a social toll, making handshaking unpleasant and some handwork impossible. Underarm sweating may require you to change your blouse two or three times a day.

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