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Sweaty Palms – Causes, How To Stop, Home Remedies

Sweating is a body’s normal response to heat, stress, fear, excitement, and nervousness. But if your palms are sweating with the absence of those typical symptoms, then you might have a condition called “hyperhidrosis”.

Sweaty palms picture

A typical manifestation of sweaty palms

What is Hyperhidrosis?

When you experience excessive sweating in the palms, soles and axillae, the condition is called hyperhidrosis. It is caused by the eccrine glands (the type of glands that produce sweat) when they produce excessive amounts of sweat. The condition affects approximately 1% of the population. It can have a negative effect on a person’s life as it can cause embarrassment, psychological problems, social problems and interruptions in one’s productivity.

Why Are My Palms Sweaty?

There might be two major reasons why your palms are sweaty. One is you may have a condition called primary hyperhidrosis. Two, you might be suffering hyperhidrosis due to another underlying cause.

1. Primary Hyperhidrosis

One of the possible causes as to why palms become sweaty is primary hyperhidrosis. This condition usually affects the palms, the soles of the feet and the axillae. It usually presents itself in a bilateral (which means both sides) and symmetrical way. Emotions, activities, exercise and temperature can be a trigger, but the real cause to this specific condition is considered idiopathic or unknown.

2. Secondary Hyperhidrosis

Another possible reason as to why your palms are sweaty is Secondary hyperhidrosis. It is excessive sweating caused by problems in one’s metabolism, endocrine, and nervous system. It can also be caused by certain skin conditions, use of drugs, and presence of infections, cancer, and high states of catecholamines. This type of hyperhidrosis is generalized, which means the whole body is affected, but it can also be focal, affecting a particular part of the body, such as the palms.

What Causes Sweaty Palms

The causes of sweaty palms depend on the type of sweaty palms you have. If you have primary hyperhidrosis, the causes are still unknown. What are known though are the triggering factors for, which include high emotional states (happiness, fear, anxiety), high temperature, and exercise. This type of sweaty palms generally occurs among healthy individuals, and so the exact cause still remains a mystery.

If you have the other type of sweaty palm though, the causes may range from metabolic problems to rare complications of diabetes. Causes of the other type (secondary hyperhidrosis) include the following:

  • Spinal cord injuries experienced in the past such as:
  • Posttraumatic syringomyelia
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Autonomic dysreflexia
  • Probable brain lesions
  • Olfactory lesions
  • Episodic brain lesions with hypothermia
  • Episodic brain lesions without hypothermia
  • Malignancies or cancers in the Intrathoracic area
  • Peripheral Neuropathies
  • Congenital autonomic dysfunction
  • Cold induced sweating syndrome
  • Familial dysautonomia
  • Systemic medical conditions such as:
  • Thyrotoxicosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Anxiety
  • Night Sweats

These conditions may possibly cause or may be associated with sweaty palms, but we have to remember that this type of hyperhidrosis is generalized and usually covers a wide skin surface area.

How to Stop Sweaty Palms

Treatment of sweaty palms depends on the type of sweaty palms you have.

Treatment for Primary Hyperhidrosis

The goal of treatment for this type is to reduce the production of sweat to a level that is “acceptable”. We cannot stop sweating itself since sweating is a normal and essential body process.  What can be done is to reduce the excessive production to help the patients resume normal functioning. Treatments for the primary type include:

Topical Antiperspirants

Topical solutions with aluminum salts are often used as antiperspirants.  One issue with this treatment is that it is not well tolerated by some patients. Look for antiperspirants with aluminum chloride hexahydrate in alcohol or aqueous methylcellulose gel base; this is a more effective and a better-tolerated formula. The recommended percentage of aluminum chloride is a 40% concentration. It is also recommended that you apply the solution to the palms at night, when the skin is dry.  Using gloves and plastic firms overnight may also improve results.


This is another effective treatment for hyperhidrosis. The process involves the introduction of charged particles to the skin with the help of an electric current. The treatment usually uses plain tap water or a cholinergic agent. It can improve sweaty palms of up to 80% especially when the treatment is continuous.

Treatments for Secondary Hyperhidrosis

For the secondary type, systemic treatments are usually employed. Systemic treatments involve using anticholinergic agents, anxiolytics, botulinum toxin A, and surgery.

Anticholinergic agents

For hyperhidrosis of the secondary type, anticholinergic agents are used to control the excessive sweat production. These medications target the nervous system, which controls the sweat glands in the body. Propantheline bromide is said to be useful in treating secondary hyperhidrosis associated with spinal injury.


These are agents that help control anxiety attacks. Medications such as beta-blockers and benzodiazepines are given to patients before an anxiety attack or if emotional problems are experienced.

Botox Type A

The botulinum toxin or botox is a potent neurotoxin; it is used to treat secondary hyperhidrosis by paralyzing the nerves that control the sweat glands.


This is probably a last ditch effort to treat hyperhidrosis as this treatment is reserved only for patients who are resistant to conventional and even aggressive treatment. Surgery involves excision of the sweat glands and removal of the nerves that cause the over activity.

Home Remedies for Sweaty Palms

There are also different home remedies to manage sweaty palms. The home remedies usually focus on avoiding foods that can trigger the excessive sweating. For those suffering from sweaty palms, it is advised to decrease intake of foods high in iodine. White onion, broccoli, asparagus, and turkey meats are just some of the food sources one should eat only in small amounts.  Soaking the palm in solutions with natural astringents are also said to be helpful. Tannic acid from teas can be a helpful remedy.

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