There are no specific guidelines that outline what normal levels of sweating are. If a person feels that they are sweating to the extent that it is interfering with their everyday life then they may have hyperhidrosis. Examples of this interference include:
- Avoiding physical contact, such as handshakes, due to being self-conscious about excessive sweating.
- Avoiding physical activities, such as exercise or dancing, through fear of making sweating worse.
- Job interference, where it is difficult to hold tools, operate a keyboard or drive.
- Spending a significant amount of time trying to counter the sweating, for example; frequent showers or changes of clothes.
In most cases, excessive sweating has no obvious cause, though it is thought to be the result of a problem with the nervous system, specifically the part that regulates sweating. This form of excessive sweating is known as primary hyperhidrosis. Where there are identifiable causes, it is known as secondary hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis can be triggered for a variety of reasons, including:
- Overactive thyroid.
- Certain medicines.
- Certain types of infections.