Hyperhidrosis affects up to 3% of the population, and complications are rarely medically serious. On the annoyance scale, though, excessive sweating can be off the charts. Complications of hyperhidrosis can include skin problems, which are usually minor. It can, though, lead to significant psychological distress.
- Social and emotional complications. Excessive sweating causes serious problems for many people. Many people with hyperhidrosis say their symptoms are intolerable or barely tolerable. They avoid social and professional opportunities because of embarrassment. Many also report difficulties in their romantic lives because of excessive sweating.
- Maceration. This is a fancy word for the mushy, wet appearance skin gets when it's continually moist. This general skin breakdown can lead to other skin conditions, which are usually mild.
- Jock itch (tinea cruris). This fungal infection takes hold in the folds of the groin. Heavy sweating creates a continuous moist environment that can make jock itch more likely.
- Athlete's foot (tinea pedis). Similar to jock itch, athlete's foot is a fungal infection of the feet. The fungus thrives in moist conditions. Athlete's foot often starts in between the toes, where excessive sweating may be severe.
- Body odor (bromhidrosis). It's not the sweat itself that smells bad. It's the substances skin bacteria create when they come in contact with sweat. The sweat in the underarm and genital areas is most prone to create body odor. Sweaty feet, constricted in tight shoes, run a close second. Keeping these areas clean and dry can help, but it can also be difficult for people with hyperhidrosis.
- Warts and bacterial infections. The maceration or skin breakdown from heavy sweating can allow easier entry for bacteria and viruses that cause skin infections, including warts.