Hyperhidrosis is a condition that is characterised by excessive sweating. This means sweating more than would otherwise be required to regulate body temperature. Both hyperhidrosis and facial blushing are believed to be caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system. These conditions often result in interference with daily activities and the sufferer's social life - for instance, hyperhidrosis affecting the palms may lead to avoidance of shaking or holding hands. Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) surgery can be used to treat both hyperhidrosis and facial blushing, though for hyperhidrosis there are other treatments that are usually tried first. These include prescription antiperspirants and injections of botulinum toxin.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis: generalised hyperhidrosis affects the whole body, whereas focal hyperhidrosis only affects certain body parts, typically the armpits, hands, face or feet. There are also two possibe causes of hyperhidrosis – primary hyperhidrosis describes cases (usually of focal hyperhidrosis) that most experts believe are related to the sympathetic nervous system. Secondary hyperhidrosis, usually resulting in generalised sweating, stems from an underlying health condition such as an overactive thyroid gland.
Erythrophobia or facial blushing can result in a feeling of frustration and unhappiness but can also be successfully treated by a new "key hole" surgical technique called Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS).