Why Are My Palms Sweaty? A Look into Palmar Hyperhidrosis

shutterstock_188446490Have you ever thought that your palms might sweat more than the average person? Have you ever asked yourself, “Why are my palms so sweaty?” If either of these has crossed your mind, you are not alone. The excessive sweating of palms that you are experiencing is likely caused by a medical condition known as palmar hyperhidrosis.

Impacting 2.8% of the U.S. population, palmar hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating in one or multiple parts of the body, most commonly affecting the palms of the hands. In the case of this disease, sweat literally drips off the hands, making even the simplest tasks difficult to complete.

In addition, palmar hyperhidrosis can have physiological effects such as depression, anxiety and lack of confidence as sweaty palms often make individuals too embarrassed to interact on a social or professional level. It may also cause irritating skin problems like infections and disintegration of the skin.

What Causes This Condition?

When you sweat normally, your sympathetic nervous system triggers your sweat glands in order to cool the body down (thermoregulation). With hyperhidrosis, these nerves become hyperactive, calling for more perspiration than needed and can be worsened when coupled with stress and exercising. It has also been suggested that those who have palmar hyperhidrosis have a genetic family history of the condition.

Medical Treatment Options

Once all other alternatives for dealing with sweaty palms have been exhausted such as antiperspirants and herbal remedies, there are a few medical treatments that may alleviate the excessive palm sweating.

Medications

There are a variety of oral medications that prevent the stimulation of the sweat glands that may be taken to manage palmar hyperhidrosis. While medications may help with excessive sweating in some, their efficacy is not always long-term and may have detrimental side effects.

Injections

Research has shown injections of Botox® have had 80-90% success rates in reducing palmar hyperhidrosis. During this procedure, small amounts of Botox are injected just under the surface of the skin sporadically throughout the palms of the hands. However, shots are required once every six months to be effective and may cause temporary pain and weakness in the hands.

Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS)

Endoscopic transthoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure where surgeons divide the sympathetic nerve chain located in the thoracic cavity in order to reduce the amount of nerve stimulation that causes the excessive sweating.

Performed at a hospital, this procedure generally allows for patients to go home the same day or the day after surgery with immediate results and a swift recovery. Unlike other treatment options, a VATS sympathectomy has an extremely high success rate of 98% for effectively curing sweaty palms.

Talking with a Doctor About Your Sweaty Palms

If you feel that you may be suffering from palmar hyperhidrosis, the next step is to consult with a doctor to determine a diagnosis. The specialists at The Hyperhidrosis Center at Thoracic Group are experts in palmar hyperhidrosis and will work with you to understand and combat this condition.

Patients who are affected by hyperhidrosis may encounter situations such as:

  • Having to carry antiperspirant supplies throughout the day to manage sweating palms
  • Changing or canceling social plans due to fear of excessively sweating in public
  • Losing a job or friends due to excessive sweating
  • Difficulty keeping hold of a steering wheel or turning a doorknob
  • Reluctance to shake hands for fear of your hands being sweaty
  • An inability to handle paper without soaking it through

If any of these situations apply to you, call us to schedule an appointment, so you can speak with one of our specialized surgeons about your palmar hyperhidrosis. Or, fill out the contact form to the right to request more information.

At Thoracic Group, our award-winning team of surgeons was among the first to perform video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) over 20 years ago and has successfully performed more than 7,000 VATS procedures since – both locally and nationally. We provide comprehensive care for patients with thoracic conditions and specialize in helping patients who suffer from the effects of palmar hyperhidrosis.