What Causes a Person to Sweat a Lot?

Excessive sweating, also called hyperhidrosis, can be caused by a variety of conditions, including diabetes, leukemia, menopause, obesity, stress, tuberculosis and anxiety, according to Mayo Clinic. Certain situations also induce heavy sweating, such as warm temperatures, prescription medications or rigorous physical activity.

There are two types of hyperhidrosis, primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary general hyperhidrosis. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is the more common form, affecting between 1 to 3 percent of the American population. Symptoms include excessive sweating that is limited to certain parts of the body, such as the hands or feet. People affected by it are generally healthy otherwise, states WebMD.

Secondary general hyperhidrosis is less common than primary focal hyperhydrosis, yet much more medically serious, according to WebMD. The most common symptom is heavy night sweats all over the body, and it is always caused by another underlying condition, such as heart failure, thyroid problems or cancer.

For those who suffer from excessive sweating, there are several treatment options. Botulinum toxin, or Botox, injections are FDA-approved for treating hyperhidrosis in the underarms, according to Harvard Medical School. A procedure called iontophoresis involves submerging hands or feet in a tub of lukewarm water, then running a mild electric current into the water, temporarily blocking sweat glands. In the most severe cases, surgery may be performed to cut or remove the sympathetic nerves to the sweat glands. This procedure is called sympathectomy.