Conference Coverage

Physicians need to take hyperhidrosis in teens seriously



– Not quite a fifth of teens experience excessive, uncontrollable sweating, according to the results of an online survey presented during this year’s annual American Academy of Dermatology.

Because nearly 70% of teens who reported the condition said it interferes with their activities of daily living, late-breaking research presenter, Adelaide A. Hebert, MD, chief of pediatric dermatology at the University of Texas, Houston, said it was time medical schools paid more attention to it.

A young woman with grey shirt with sweat on her under arms. Miyuki-3/Thinkstock
“These kids have often seen a number of physicians who really haven’t taken this clinical condition to heart,” Dr. Hebert said during her presentation. “They don’t know what to do, so they tell the kids not to worry. The kids just don’t get the answers that will be beneficial to them, so educating physicians is key.” Dr. Hebert said that global medical education devotes virtually no time to the study of hyperhidrosis in adolescents.

For the study, Dr. Hebert and her colleagues online-surveyed 1,000 adolescents between 12 and 17 years who meet the accepted diagnostic criteria for primary focal hyperhidrosis. An analysis of the 981 surveys that were complete showed that 17.1% of respondents experienced excessive, uncontrollable sweating and that 68.6% of these reported the sweating was moderate or major, impairing their normal functioning.

The average age of onset for the condition was 11 years, although more than a quarter of respondents said their sweating began at age 10 years. Nearly all those surveyed said they sweat from at least two focal areas, with five areas being the average number of focal areas.

Adolescence is when hyperhidrosis begins for many adults with the condition, yet few if any data exist regarding the condition in this age group, according to Dr. Hebert. “We have to figure out what is going on so maybe we can make a difference later.”

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