February 7, 2017

Anhidrosis, sometimes called hypohidrosis is the medical condition of not being able to sweat properly. Sweating is part of the body’s natural function to cool itself down, so not being able to sweat can be quite serious. Anhidrosis is the complete absence of sweating, while hypohidrosis is sweating less than normal. Anhidrosis sometimes goes unrecognized until a substantial amount of heat or exertion fails to cause sweating. Overall lack of sweating can be life-threatening because the body will overheat. If the lack of sweating happens in a small area only, it is usually not as dangerous.

People with anhidrosis have a dangerous inability to tolerate heat. In situations where the weather is dry and hot, the inability to sweat can be life threatening. Anhidrosis can be life threatening because the body will overheat. If the lack of sweating is localized, it is usually not as dangerous. This results in body withholding bodily fluids that it usually eliminates via perspiration. This also means that the toxins in the body that are commonly eliminated via sweating are unable to leave the body, which can be a dangerous situation. Furthermore, sweating is an essential process in the body that enables a person to cool his/her body. When the bodies are unable to regulate the internal temperature in this way, the body can overheat, sometimes resulting in heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Heat stroke can be a potentially fatal condition, so anhidrosis must be taken very seriously.


In Anhidrosis, sweat glands stop working for a variety of reasons including damage to the skin (as with scarring from burns), damage to the nerves (from illnesses like diabetes, alcohol use, or a variety of other conditions), medications (like some of those for blood pressure, urinary incontinence, and nausea), dehydration (because your body will work harder to preserve fluid by not sweating), and inherited genetic diseases which cause malfunctioning sweat glands or too few sweat glands (like hypohidrotic ectodermal dyplasia).

Risk factors for anhidrosis include older age, medical conditions that affect the nerves (like diabetes or alcohol abuse), inflammatory skin conditions (like psoriasis and very dry skin), and genetic abnormalities. Not having the ability to sweat to lower the body temperature puts a person at risk for overheating. Possible complications include painful muscle spasms called heat cramps, a condition called heat exhaustion which consists of weakness and nausea with a rapid heartbeat brought on with exercise in the heat, and a life-threatening condition called heatstroke when the body temperature reaches 104° F which can cause hallucinations and coma before leading to death. People with anhidrosis need to be especially careful when going out in the heat to make sure that their bodies do not overheat.

  • Neurologic disorders such as Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Heatstroke
  • Diabetes
  • Congenital disorders including as ectodermal dysplasia
  • Drugs and medications
  • Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Infections of sweat glands
  • Trauma to sweat glands
  • Burns
  • Excessive dehydration

Risk Factors

  • Age -People age 65 and older, infants, and children are more prone to heat stress, which can contribute to anhidrosis.
  • Certain health problems – Any medical condition that damages your autonomic nerves, such as diabetes, makes sweat gland problems more likely.
  • Skin disorders – Many diseases that irritate or inflame the skin also affect the sweat glands. They include psoriasis; exfoliative dermatitis, which is marked by severe skin scaling; heat rash; scleroderma, which causes hard, tight skin; and ichthyosis — extremely dry, scaly skin.
  • Genetic abnormalities – Mutations in certain genes can lead to disorders that affect the sweat glands.


A symptom is something the patient feels and describes to others, such as tiredness or pain. A sign, on the other hand, can be detected by others (as well as the patient), such as a rash or swelling.

The most common signs and symptoms associated with anhidrosis are –

  • Abnormally poor sweating in response to heat or exertion. In some cases, no sweating (perspiration) at all.
  • Dizziness – typically caused by overheating.
  • A general feeling of weakness.

Sensitivity to higher-than-normal temperatures, because the body is unable to cool downA lack of perspiration can occur –

  • Over most of your body (generalized)
  • In a single area
  • In scattered patches

Areas that can sweat may try to produce more perspiration, so it’s possible to sweat profusely on one part of your body and very little or not at all on another.


Anhidrosis is a serious condition. In some cases, heat stroke and heat exhaustion can occur. In extreme cases, coma can result from unrecognized and untreated heat exhaustion.


Sweat pads are available from all major pharmacies. They attach adhesively to your clothes, staying in place under your arms so that any excess sweat can be quickly absorbed.  The sweat patches prevent any sweat stains from showing on your clothes and can help you to feel more confident about wearing colours or styles that otherwise you might shy away from.

Antiperspirants are a good solution for  anhidrosis problem, and are widely used to help people who suffer with all degrees of sweat excess.  It is important to try normal antiperspirants first, not just deodorants which are different in nature altogether.  Deodorants cover up the smell of your sweat, whereas antiperspirants prevent the sweat in the first place.

Medications – There are some oral medications that you can try to help your sweating due to hyperhidrosis.  These tend to try to reduce the activity of the sweat glands but currently there are few that are used and they have not been greatly researched.  These drugs include glycopyrrolate and propantheline bromide.  Beta blockers can also be used to help combat anxiety stresses. Medications are rarely used for anhidrosis as they often result in unwanted side effects.  These can include

  • Nausea
  • Affected sight
  • Problems with excretion and urination
  • Dry mouth

Iontophoresis is a very good treatment for sweating on the palms and feet, although cannot be used for underarm treatment due to the nature of the process.

Alternative Treatment (Not Found)


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