Sweating Disorders

Elizabeth A. Coon, William P. Cheshire

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW This article reviews disorders of sweating, including hyperhidrosis and anhidrosis due to central or peripheral autonomic nervous system causes. RECENT FINDINGS Disorders of thermoregulation and sweating may manifest with hyperhidrosis or hypohidrosis/anhidrosis. Primary disorders of hyperhidrosis may significantly impact quality of life yet tend to be benign. Many sweating disorders present with compensatory hyperhidrosis due to areas of anhidrosis. Anhidrosis may occur due to either central or peripheral damage to the autonomic nervous system. The thermoregulatory control of sweating involves central pathways from the hypothalamus to the brainstem and then spinal cord as well as projections to peripheral structures, including the sympathetic chain ganglia, peripheral nerves, and eccrine sweat glands. Disruption at any point of this pathway may lead to impaired sweating. Characterization of sweating dysfunction helps localize different autonomic disorders to guide diagnosis and may allow for evaluation of treatment effect. SUMMARY Sweating dysfunction manifests in myriad ways, including essential hyperhidrosis, complete anhidrosis with heat intolerance, and compensatory hyperhidrosis due to anhidrosis, and often indicates involvement of underlying central or peripheral autonomic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-137
Number of pages22
JournalCONTINUUM Lifelong Learning in Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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