Hyperhidrosis is a common condition affecting approximately 2-3% of all people worldwide. It basically refers to any situation where a person produces excessive amounts of sweat. The most common site of excessive sweat production is the armpits, but it can also occur in the hands, feet, chest, and back.
Most cases of hyperhidrosis are indicated by damp spots in clothing near the affected areas. Constantly sweaty palms and feet are also indicative of the condition. It is important to note that sweating during and after physical exertion is normal, but excessive sweating in the absence of exercise, high emotions, or high environmental temperatures is generally indicative of hyperhidrosis.
While hyperhidrosis in itself is not really harmful, it can cause more bacteria to congregate in the sweaty areas and produce body odors. It also tends to cause embarrassment and discomfort since it can soak clothing or even drip from the victim's hand. This embarrassment can make the victim uncomfortable and less confident in social situations.
The causes of this condition can be varied and aren't entirely understood. In some cases, obesity can be the root cause since it insulates the body more and makes normal daily activities require more exertion. In other cases, an overactive nervous system can be the cause of the problem. In other cases, psychological conditions such as chronic nervousness can be the cause. Because of the varied causes, treatment of the symptoms is often easier than locating and treating the cause.
The easiest cure for hyperhidrosis involves clogging the sweat pores. This is accomplished by applying a solution of diluted aluminum chloride, which reacts with substances in the pores and forms a plug. This plug blocks sweat from coming out of the gland and effectively prevents sweating from occurring. These plugs will naturally be removed over time as skin flakes off, therefore the solution must be reapplied periodically.
I have personally suffered from this condition and found that aluminum chloride was a completely effective cure for my excessive underarm sweat production. Normally, I found that the armpits of my shirts would be soaked with sweat, even in the winter when I didn't do any exercise. After applying aluminum chloride a few nights, I was even able to wear business suits without any sign of dampness in the armpits of my dress shirts. The only side effect is a slight tingling and irritation that occurs after application, but this is not noticeable when you wake up in the morning.
Aluminum chloride can be purchased in just about any pharmacy without a prescription. Higher concentrations can be obtained with a prescription from a physician.
Update: Strangely, after I finished college the condition appeared to disappear. I think it might have been caused by stress related to school and once I graduated and got a job my stress went away along with the excessive sweating. So that may be another cure if you suffer from this ailment: treat the psychological cause.