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Perspiration, or sweating, is how the human body cools itself. During exposure to heat or physical effort, the body releases sweat, a slightly salty liquid, from sweat glands located throughout the body. It is vital to keeping a person healthy and safe.

Perspiration is not regarded as a health condition, but some people experience excessive sweating, which can not only be a nuisance but also affects quality of life. This condition is known as hyperhidrosis.


Excessive perspiration can occur in the same places on the body as regular perspiration, but it tends to involve an amount of sweat that is uncomfortable and embarrassing. Excessive sweating from the face, armpits, hands or feet tends to be the most unpleasant. These can cause wet clothing and make for awkward social situations for many with hyperhidrosis.

Treatment of Excessive Sweating

Some simple at-home strategies can help anyone deal with perspiration. One approach is to experiment with different antiperspirants to find the right one. Another option is to wear loose clothing that's more comfortable and doesn't trap as much sweat. The latest microfiber clothing now available is much more efficient at wicking away sweat from the body. Using talcum powder, changing socks frequently and wearing odor-absorbing soles in shoes are other strategies.

In more extreme situations, there are medical procedures and therapies that can help with excessive perspiration. Oral medications, Botox injections and surgical removal of the sweat glands are all options for some people. There is also a treatment called iontophoresis that involves passing a light electrical current through the skin. Another procedure known as a sympathectomy involves surgically cutting or clamping nerves that contribute to sweating.

SOURCES: U.S. National Institutes of Health; DermNet NZ, New Zealand Dermatological Society

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