Is Your Child a “Sweater”? Understanding Hyperhidrosis and Excessive Sweating in Young Children

Have you noticed that your child is sweating too much?

While excessive sweating is normal in older children and teens, it is not common for younger children.

This is known as hyperhidrosis and normally presents as excessive hand sweating in children as young as six years old. This condition can be quite stressful and lead to functional and social problems.

The first step in helping your child with excessive sweating is to gain an understanding of what the condition is. Here is a guide to helping you understand why your child is an excessive “sweater”:

What is Hyperhidrosis?

As mentioned, hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating. It can include generalized excessive sweating that occurs all over the body or local excessive sweating that occurs in only one region such as the palms of the hand.

Excess sweating can be caused by primary hyperhidrosis where localized sweating only affects 1-3% of the body or secondary hyperhidrosis where generalized sweating is caused by an underlying medical condition such as thyroid disorder.

The Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis

Due to the onset of puberty, excessive sweating is common in preteens and teens. However, when it comes to young children, it can be the symptom of an underlying medical condition.

If your child has hyperhidrosis, you may notice excessive sweating on your child’s face, arms, or hands to the point where they soak through their clothes. Of course, this amount of sweating is normal if the environment is hot and humid.

So if you find yourself sweaty due to the weather or temperature, it’s likely your child will be sweaty as well. Otherwise, if your child is sweating excessively in cooler conditions, this could be a sign of hyperhidrosis.

The Causes of Hyperhidrosis

The causes of hyperhidrosis can range from normal to serious. Normal causes may include having your child overdressed when the weather is too warm. As a general rule of thumb, infants and children should be dressed the same as adults in ways that are appropriate to the temperature.

Anxiety, fever, or physical activity are also normal causes of excessive sweating.

However, if your child sweats more than is considered “typical”, this could indicate more serious causes such as:

  • Infections

  • Hyperthyroidism

  • Diabetes

  • Hypertension

  • Congestive Heart Failure

  • Side Effects of Prescription Drugs

While you may have an idea of what is causing your child’s excessive sweating, it’s important to have a medical professional make a diagnosis in order to find the best treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hyperhidrosis in Children

Excess sweating does not necessarily mean that your child has a serious medical condition but hyperhidrosis can be an early symptom of many conditions.

In order to diagnose hyperhidrosis, a doctor will look at the growth and development of your child to see if they are growing at a normal pace, gaining weight, and reaching developmental milestones. If this all checks out, they will conduct a further evaluation to determine the cause.

If your child has generalized hyperhidrosis, your doctor will find and treat the underlying cause of the excessive sweating. For children with localized hyperhidrosis, the condition can be treated with topical creams and medications.

Conclusion

In order to help your little one cope with hyperhidrosis, it’s important to understand what the condition is. You can also discuss the condition with your child’s teachers so they can help support your child as well.

Because this condition can lead to embarrassment, encourage them to share their feelings. Let them know that they can trust you and talk to you.

Most importantly, keep encouraging your child to pursue activities they enjoy and feel good about.

 

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