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  • Hyperhidrosis Surgery Service

    The Hyperhidrosis Surgery Service in Mass General's Division of Thoracic Surgery employs a minimally invasive surgical approach for the management of hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).

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    Call for more information: 888-MGH-PALM

About This Condition


What is hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis, also called excessive sweating, can affect the entire body, but usually occurs in the palms, soles, armpits, and/or groin area. Excessive sweating is normal when a person is anxious or has a fever. However, when the condition is chronic, it may signal thyroid problems, low blood sugar, nervous system disorders, or other medical problems.

What are the symptoms of hyperhidrosis?

Areas that produce excessive sweat usually appear pink or white, but, in severe cases, may appear cracked, scaly, and soft (especially on the feet). Other symptoms may include a bad odor caused by bacteria and yeast in the wet skin. The symptoms of hyperhidrosis may resemble other medical conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

Treatment for hyperhidrosis:

Specific treatment for hyperhidrosis will be determined by your physician, based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • severity of the condition
  • cause of the condition
  • your tolerance of specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the condition
  • your opinion or preference

Treatment may include topical, oral, surgical, or nonsurgical treatments:

  • methenamine solution applications to the area (to control heavy sweating)
  • nighttime applications of aluminum chloride solution to the area (to control heavy sweating)
  • thoracoscopic sympathectomy - a surgical interruption of the sympathetic nerve pathways that lead to the sweat glands
  • botulinum toxin A injection (Botox®) - botulinum toxin helps to inhibit the release of acetylcholine (a substance that is active in the transmissions of nerve impulses)
  • tap water iontophoresis (applying a weak electrical current to the area)
  • psychological counseling and/or medication (to reduce anxiety)