Daily pattern of sweating and response to stress and exercise in patients with palmar hyperhidrosis

Br J Dermatol. 2006 Jun;154(6):1118-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2006.07212.x.


Background: Focal hyperhidrosis is an embarrassing condition that can have a significant negative impact on patient quality of life. It is characterized by excessive sweating affecting a variety of areas, including the palms. Little is known about the daily pattern of sweating in patients with palmar hyperhidrosis.

Objectives: To compare the variation of sweating in patients with primary palmar hyperhidrosis with healthy individuals during daily activities.

Methods: Twenty patients with primary palmar hyperhidrosis and 20 healthy age- and sex-matched subjects were studied. Each participant self-assessed rates of sweating for 7 days on an hourly basis using a subjective evaluation scale (SES) ranging from 0 to 10.

Results: The 3763 assessments showed clear differences between patients and healthy controls (median SES score 5 and 0, respectively; P < 0.0001). Stress and exercise significantly increased SES by scores of 2-5 in both groups, with stress influencing patients more than controls. SES scores in patients varied significantly, from 0 to 2 during mornings and evenings, and between 5 and 6 at mid-day, while scores in control subjects remained consistently close to 0. The pattern of change depended weakly on sex and weekday/weekend distinction. Dynamic responses to stress and exercise in patients had the tendency to return to baseline more slowly than in controls.

Conclusions: Hourly changes in sweating rates can be assessed successfully through self-assessment. Patients with primary palmar focal hyperhidrosis reported significantly increased palmar sweating and daily patterns of sweating showing considerable variation dependent on factors such as time of day and emotional stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperhidrosis / etiology
  • Hyperhidrosis / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Sweating*