What Causes Sweaty Hands?


Quick Answer

Excessively sweaty hands, known medically as palmar hyperhidrosis, is caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system. This medical condition afflicts about 1 percent of the population in the United States, according to the Cedars-Sinai website. Hyperhidrosis in general can also occur in the underarms, on the face, groin and feet.

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Full Answer

In the case of palmar hyperhidrosis, the sweating on the palms may be triggered by emotional stimulus such as stress, nervousness and anxiety. Sweating on the palms may also occur without any apparent cause. Palmar hyperhidrosis usually afflicts individuals during childhood and the condition stays with them for their entire lives. This medical condition may result in a social stigma as it can complicate otherwise mundane tasks, such as shaking hands or performing simple chores.

There are varied treatments for palmar hyperhidrosis, from the simple use of antiperspirants to surgical treatment. Milder cases of hyperhidrosis may be treated with over-the-counter antiperspirants. The International Hyperhidrosis Society website recommends a nightly application of antiperspirants on palms that are dry.

Another form of treatment for mild hyperhidrosis is called tapwater iontophoresis, which involves soaking the hands in an electrolyte solution with a mild electrical current. The equipment for this form of treatment may be purchased by the individual suffering from the condition and treatment may be performed at home. Treatment is done several times a week for several weeks. More radical forms of treatment include taking anticholinergic drugs, which can help reduce sweating, and surgery.

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