Is Hyperhidrosis Dangerous or Bad for Your Health?

Hyperhidrosis is not dangerous but it can be debilitating.

A common concern for many hyperhidrosis sufferers is whether it is damaging to their health or not. They wonder if the excess sweat will cause problems in other bodily regions, or if it will develop into something more serious altogether. This post will elaborate further on the perceived dangers of hyperhidrosis, and how sufferers can ensure that it remains manageable. 

Is Hyperhidrosis Harmful to Your Health?

Assuming you have primary focal hyperhidrosis, the kind has no known cause, then the answer is “no, excessive sweating is not a medical danger or emergency.” Secondary hyperhidrosis is less common and a symptom of serious conditions such as heart disease, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease and obesity. However, the sweating itself isn’t a threat to one’s health - the underlying is the problem.

Excessive sweating can lead to a loss of magnesium, but there is no research to suggest that hyperhidrosis sufferers are in danger because of this. More reassuringly, magnesium deficiency can be addressed by diet and supplementation. 

So is Hyperhidrosis Even Serious?

True, hyperhidrosis isn’t directly harmful, but yes, it is serious. It’s “bad”, for a lack of a better word, because it’s a major disruption in life, and it can limit your enjoyment of daily activities. Sweat can get in the way of how you interact with others due to others’ perception of a sweaty individual. It can also make everyday tasks more burdensome. So it is serious enough to warrant management. With that being said, hyperhidrosis can have secondary physical effects if it isn’t properly managed.

Skin Complications of Primary and Secondary Hyperhidrosis 

From a physical standpoint, hyperhidrosis, at its worst, is uncomfortable. However, excessive sweating that is very severe and persistent can alter your skin texture negatively. These changes in skin texture can lead to complications that require medical treatment. 

They include: 

  • Maceration - A condition where the skin develops a wet, mushy appearance and texture due it constantly being moist (as a result of sweating). 
  • Jock itch - A fungal infection of the groin that can arise when heavy sweating in this area leads to excess moisture. 
  • Athlete’s foot - A fungal infection of the foot that may accompany excessive sweating of the foot. 
  • Warts & bacterial infections - When maceration becomes severe, the skin can break down to the point where bacteria and viruses can easily penetrate openings and lead to infections. 

  • For the most part, these conditions are easily treatable with simple interventions such as topical medications. 

    Limited Involvement in Common Activities and Opportunities

    Hyperhidrosis can also affect your daily routine and make tasks others take for granted burdensome. Driving can be infuriating because of a soaking wet steering wheel, and using certain mechanical tools can be a challenge since wet hands can’t easily grip them. 

    Professionally, hyperhidrosis can make you insecure in meetings, and uncomfortable giving presentations or dealing with clients or customers because of sweaty handshakes and soaked shirts. 

    There’s often a tendency to hold back and avoid opportunities that could lead to promotions, and a sufferer may isolate themselves at company gatherings. All of these compensatory behaviours can have negative effects on one’s career and work relationships

    Psychological Effects of Untreated Hyperhidrosis 

    The bane of every hyperhidrosis sufferers’ existence is its psychological effects. Years of teasing, isolation and even apathy can seriously damage a sufferer’s self-esteem. If they’ve gone years without being able to enjoy things such as dates, job promotions or just normal interactions with others, it can make one feel as if they’re unworthy. It goes without saying that constantly feeling left out or abnormal, can lead to anxiety and depression among those who are most prone to it. 

    Can Hyperhidrosis Be Classified as a Disability? 

    When anyone of the above-mentioned complications (or a combination of them) holds you back, then yes, hyperhidrosis becomes very disabling. However, it’s usually not listed and classified as a legitimate disability. It’s unfortunate because anyone who has suffered with the condition, especially primary hyperhidrosis, knows that it is isolating, persistent, limiting - feelings that accompany most disabilities. 

    Trying to qualify for disability benefits as a hyperhidrosis sufferer is tricky, because the condition is still poorly understood and unfortunately, not seen as a condition that merits government support. Ironically, it’s after effects, namely, the mental health repercussions, can be disabling enough for a sufferer to require government assistance. 

    Not Deadly, But Damaging Enough to Warrant Treatment 

    Hyperhidrosis is not immediately damaging to your health. At worst, you might acquire some minor skin ailment if you have to deal with a severe or extreme case, but these conditions are very easy to treat. The true cost of hyperhidrosis are its social and psychological effects. However, you can prevent these consequences by making an effort to manage your sweating. 

    Familiarize yourself with the treatment protocol for hyperhidrosis. This alone will help you realize how many options you have when it comes to treating this condition. Also, take practical steps to manage the conditions such as wearing sweat resistant fabrics to help absorb excess sweat. Make sure to also adjust your diet as well since certain foods and drinks can aggravate symptoms. 

    It takes some time and effort to gain the upper hand on hyperhidrosis, but the results are worth it nonetheless. 

    Looking for more tips to help you keep hyperhidrosis under control? Check out our NEAT Freaks blog for more insights on staying dry.