The Different Types of Hyperhidrosis

sweat proof t shirt

If excessive sweating is something you regularly deal with, you are likely familiar with hyperhidrosis. Whether through personal research or through a diagnosis, you’ll know that this common condition refers to excessive sweating, particularly when not related to heat or exercises.

More than that, you’ll know how hyperhidrosis can disrupt your daily life. What fewer people are familiar with, is that there are different types of hyperhidrosis.

Our work in creating the best clothes for hyperhidrosis management has taught us that the most effective way to manage hyperhidrosis, is to understand it. To that end, we’re looking at the difference between primary and secondary hyperhidrosis, to help you understand your best options to manage it.

Primary VS Secondary Hyperhidrosis

There are two basic types of hyperhidrosis, primary focal and secondary generalized. Let’s take a quick look at how to identify and differentiate them.

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

The main difference between the two types of hyperhidrosis is causation. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is genetic. It is not the result of another condition or a side effect from medications you are taking. Although there may be a greater chance of having this type if it is common in your family, this does not have to be the case.

While that differentiation is clear on paper, it can be difficult to identify through observation. Instead, your doctor will likely consider other factors during the initial diagnosis.

One of the main observable differences between the two types is how you sweat. With primary focal hyperhidrosis, the sweat usually targets specific areas of the body such as the armpits, back, palms, or neck.

Another indicator of primary hyperhidrosis is when the symptoms first appear. Most commonly, this type usually begins to manifest with excessive sweating during childhood or adolescence.

Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis

Unlike primary, secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is caused by another existing condition or the side effect of medication. During diagnosis, your doctor will ask about any medications you are taking to help identify if it is a potential cause.

One of the key differences you would notice with secondary hyperhidrosis is that your sweating is not as specific. You sweat in more locations, and over a larger area. Primary target specific sweat glands, whereas secondary hyperhidrosis affects sweating in general.

Another indicator of secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is when it manifests. Most often, this type first appears during adulthood. It is, however, possible for it to begin earlier in life depending on medications and other medical conditions. 

You may also notice night sweat with secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. Excessive sweating at night type, without apparent triggers, is a common way for it to first present itself.

Clothing for Hyperhidrosis

Understanding your specific type of hyperhidrosis can inform the right clothing for sweat management. For both primary and secondary hyperhidrosis, you want lightweight, breathable, and comfortable material.

Those with primary secondary hyperhidrosis will want to choose shirts with moisture-wicking fabric in the same areas they sweat most. Our Neat Apparel sweatproof shirts offer this coverage in more locations on our shirts, to make sure your sweat is covered.

For secondary hyperhidrosis, a sweatproof undershirt may be the best option. This applies the same sweat-wicking technology as the shirts while providing an extra layer to absorb and discreetly remove sweat.

Shop sweat-resistant clothes from Neat!