Hyperhydrosis or Excessive Sweating

By Jiang Liu, Diplomate of Oriental Medicine
AR Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist
Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Clinic
2024 Arkansas Valley Dr., Suite 402
Little Rock, AR 72212

What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating, is a medical condition in which a person sweats excessively and unpredictably. Although neurological, metabolic, and other systemic diseases can sometimes cause excessive sweating, most cases occur in people who are otherwise healthy. Heat and emotions may trigger hyperhidrosis in some, but many who suffer from hyperhidrosis sweat nearly all the time, regardless of their mood or the weather. The excessive sweating may occur in the face, underarms, hands, feet, or the whole body.

What are the causes of hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is categorized into two groups: primary and secondary. The cause of primary hyperhidrosis is unknown. One under hyperhidrosis may be hereditary and it involves hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system (the part of the nervous system which controls the sweat glands). When excessive sweating affects the hands, feet, or armpits, it’s called primary or focal hyperhidrosis.

If the sweating occurs as a result of another medical condition, it is called secondary hyperhidrosis. The sweating may be all over the body, or it may be in one area. The conditions that cause secondary hyperhidrosis include: panic attacks, anxiety disorders, menopause, obesity, acromegaly, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, lung disease, spinal cord injury, some cancers or carcinoid syndrome, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, pheochromocytoma, tuberculosis, or other conditions.

The treatment by western medicine includes: antiperspirants that plug the sweat ducts, medication such as anticholinergics drugs, Iontophoresis, local botox injection, surgery (endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy).

Chinese medicine
Chinese medicine considers health as a balance of yin and yangand this balance is regulated by qi. Theqi is body natural energy, which travels throughout our entire body and is responsible for the proper harmonious functioning of body organs and processes of the body. The qi produces the body fluids and controls its flow, and prevents their extravasation or unnecessary loss.

Hyperhidrosis is caused by imbalance of yin and yang or disharmony of qi with blood and body fluids. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are very effective in the treatment of excessive sweating. The principle of treating excessive sweating by Chinese medicine is to adjust or regulate the imbalance of yinand yang and disharmony of qi with blood and body fluids. Acupuncture is often combined with other modalities of Chinese medicine such as herbal medicine, TuiNa, cupping, gwasha, or moxibustion to treat hyperhidrosis.