Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis) in Child: What Causes+ How to Stop?

excessive sweating in children

I am frequently contacted by parents of children who have hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), most often by mothers. Sometimes, the parents themselves have it, sometimes not.

In all cases, parents wonder the following: how can I ensure that my child is not embarrassed by their sweating, as I once was?

Or, how can we stop excessive sweating in children?

I had already answered questions about hyperhidrosis in children back in 2013. Today, I am taking the time to write a new article on this topic because several studies have been conducted specifically on children.

Therefore, we have new data to help parents of children with hyperhidrosis, and, of course, the children themselves.

Furthermore, these studies also contribute to a better understanding of hyperhidrosis in adults.

So, here are these new pieces of information.

💬 The comment section is there for you! Feel free to share your experiences, as they can be valuable to others.

♻️ Last update: september 2023
Disclaimer: Amazon Affiliate Links

How does excessive sweating manifest in children?

Swedish researchers have published a freely accessible study on hyperhidrosis (= medical terme for excessive sweating) in children.

In total, 370 children were interviewed about their hyperhidrosis between 2009 and 2011. What does this tell us about excessive sweating in children?

Mostly sweaty hands and feet

It is mainly the hands and feet that are affected in children. The majority of children are affected in two areas of the body, some in one or three areas, and a minority in more than three areas.

The most common locations of excessive sweating in children are (from most to least common):

  1. Hands
  2. Armpits
  3. Feet
  4. Face and head
  5. Nose
  6. Chest
  7. Legs
  8. Arms
hyperhidrosis in palms, hands, axilaes, feet, face, head, back, groin, chest, legs, arms in children and adolescents and toddler
Evolution of the localization of hyperhidrosis in children and adolescents

It can be observed that in children (under 12 years old), excessive sweating is primarily on the hands and feet. From the age of 12, adolescents report less excessive sweating in the hands and feet, but more in the armpits.

Hyperhidrosis in other parts of the body remains generally stable over time.

Excessive sweating is hereditary

A majority of children (194 out of 370) have one parent also affected by hyperhidrosis.

Stress, heat, and physical exertion worsen excessive sweating

Unsurprisingly, a large majority of children (261 and 250, respectively) report an increase in their hyperhidrosis caused by:

  • Stress
  • Heat and physical exertion.

Children are also able to identify other factors that worsen their sweating, such as cold temperatures, pressure on their skin, and diet.

Excessive sweaing mainly decreases the self-esteem of children and adolescents

Researchers asked children and adolescents how excessive sweating impacted their lives. Here are the most common responses given by children, in order:

  1. Self-esteem
  2. Clothing choices
  3. Physical contact
  4. Practical impact
  5. Social interactions
  6. Hygiene.
sweaty child
Number of children and adolescents who are embarrassed due to hyperhidrosis from left to right: in their hygiene, social interactions, self-esteem, clothing choices, physical contact, physical activities, ability to move, daily life, somatic impact.
sweating children treatment

What is the treatment for excessive sweating in children?

There are studies testing the effectiveness of various treatments for hyperhidrosis specifically in children: aluminum-based antiperspirants, iontophoresis, medications, and sympathectomy surgery. Here is a summary.

Antiperspirants in children

Antiperspirants are the first-line treatments for adults with excessive underarm sweating, and sometimes even for hands and feet. There are now (as of August 2021) studies testing the effectiveness of antiperspirants in children.

They are not contraindicated, and there is no reason to believe that, when used with caution, they are dangerous for children and adolescents.

It is possible to test the effectiveness of an antiperspirant, for example, in an adolescent suffering from excessive underarm sweating.

Some antiperspirants have been tested in children.

Iontophoresis in children

Iontophoresis is a treatment for hyperhidrosis that has been around since the 1980s. It is primarily used for sweating of the hands and feet.

In studies testing its effectiveness, children are sometimes included. For example, in a study conducted in Singapore and published in 2017, people who underwent iontophoresis ranged from 9 to 65 years old.

There are also two studies specifically testing iontophoresis in children: one study on iontophoresis in children published in 2017 and conducted in the United Kingdom, and another published in 2014 conducted in Turkey. These studies teach us that:

  • Iontophoresis is used in children from the age of 8.
  • Iontophoresis has been performed on several hundred children and adolescents (with adolescents being more numerous).
  • A reduction in hyperhidrosis occurs in 84% of children after 5 to 7 sessions.
  • There are side effects in almost all children during the sessions: tingling in the hands, pain, redness, itching, dryness, and abrasions for one child.
  • After 3 months of sessions (initially 5 per week, then 1 per week), 7 out of the 90 children who completed the protocol had a complete disappearance of their sweating.
  • Among the children who had and completed 3 months of sessions, their average satisfaction score is 4.95 out of 10 (10 being the maximum score).

No study compares the effectiveness of iontophoresis to other treatments.

The same iontophoresis device are used for both children and adults.

Iontophoresis has been tested in children as young as 8 years old. It reduces their hyperhidrosis, with frequent side effects during the sessions.”

iontophoresis device for children
iontophoresis device for child

Medications for Excessive Sweating in Children

There are a few studies on children regarding the effectiveness of certain medications for hyperhidrosis.

None of these studies, however, compare the effectiveness of medications to other treatments (such as antiperspirants, iontophoresis, etc.) or even to doing nothing, as hyperhidrosis can fluctuate and decrease independently of treatment (for example, due to the season, stressful events, etc.).

Oxybutynin for excessive sweating in Child

Oxybutynin is the medication with the best-known effectiveness for adults suffering from excessive sweating. It is also used in children in some studies.

Oxybutynin is mainly used in adolescents, but some young people under the age of 14 have also received botox injections for hyperhidrosis. In a study published in 2014 conducted in Brazil, 45 children aged 7 to 14 received oxybutynin. What does this study tell us?

  • 85% of the children, six weeks after the start of treatment, reported moderate to high improvement in their hyperhidrosis (i.e., less sweating), and 80% in their quality of life.
  • 55.5% of the children experienced side effects (primarily dry mouth; one child experienced drowsiness).

But what is the long-term effect of oxybutynin? 59 children aged 4 to 14 were treated with oxybutynin for more than 6 months for hyperhidrosis. Among them:

  • 91% had moderate to high improvement in their hyperhidrosis.
  • 94.9% had an improvement in their quality of life.
  • Dry mouth was the most common side effect.

So, oxybutynin seems more effective when taken for more than 6 weeks in children.

However, it should be noted that this could also mean that only children with severe hyperhidrosis continued treatment for more than 6 weeks, and therefore, oxybutynin simply works better for children who sweat a lot.

This second hypothesis is more likely, as in the studies, children with higher hyperhidrosis scores are also the ones who respond better to oxybutynin treatment.

Glycopyrrolate for excessive sweating in Child

Glycopyrrolate is also one of the treatments whose effectiveness is studied in adults with hyperhidrosis. 12 children in the United States were treated with glycopyrrolate because their sweating was very excessive, and they did not respond to other treatments (hygiene, antiperspirants). They found that:

  • 11 out of 12 children noticed a reduction in their sweating.
  • 9 out of 12 would recommend the medication to a friend.
  • No side effects were reported.

Botox Injections in Children against Excessive Sweating

There are several studies testing the effectiveness of botox injections in children and adolescents. Botox is injected primarily into the feet, armpits, and even hands to reduce sweating in these different areas.

In 2002, a study testing botox injections in a 13-year-old girl with hand hyperhidrosis was published for the first time.

Injections are tested on only a few children in each study. Researchers conclude that it is effective. Like in adults, the treatment needs to be repeated 1 to 2 times a year for continued effectiveness.

The studies do not follow the children in the long term but only after the first injection.

Thoracic Sympathectomy in Children

Thoracic sympathectomy to treat excessive sweating in the armpits or hands is performed in children as young as 6 years old in a study conducted in the United States and published in 2017.

In this study, where sympathectomy was performed on 28 people aged 6 to 22, the rate of compensatory hyperhidrosis was very low: only 1 person experienced it.

This contradicts other studies on sympathectomy, including in children.

Again, the published studies are descriptions of a few children on whom thoracic sympathectomy was performed.

Does a child or adolescent really need to be treated for excessive sweating?

As we have seen, there are treatments that can be offered to children, regardless of the location of their excessive sweating. Like in adults, there are possible side effects for each of them.

Children have great adaptability. Even if hyperhidrosis may lead to some teasing from their peers, it is not certain that they will suffer from it in the medium or long term. And even without hyperhidrosis, like all children, they will be the target of teasing.

Perhaps hyperhidrosis bothers them when practicing sports with some of their friends, such as climbing or judo. But isn’t this an opportunity to discover other sports in which hyperhidrosis is not a problem at all, such as soccer or track and field?

As a parent, you may feel that hyperhidrosis must greatly bother your child. However, when looking at it objectively, you may realize that it’s not that much of an issue.

Some people with excessive hyperhidrosis haven’t suffered from their sweating during childhood.

Some parents who had hyperhidrosis as children also say, “I don’t want them to suffer from it as I did.”

But this is their retrospective adult view of the condition. Maybe if they had been asked as children, they were not actually any happier or unhappier than other children their age.


And you, what have you decided with your child? Why this choice? Do you have any comments or questions? Your comments are welcome 🙂 !


Do you enjoy my content? Enter your email here and you’ll receive a notification for every new blog post on excessive sweating!

You may also like:


Wolosker N, Schvartsman C, Krutman M, Campbell TP, Kauffman P, de Campos JR, Puech-Leão P. Efficacy and quality of life outcomes of oxybutynin for treating palmar hyperhidrosis in children younger than 14 years old. Pediatr Dermatol. 2014 Jan-Feb;31(1):48-53. doi: 10.1111/pde.12142. Epub 2013 Apr 29. PMID: 23627681.

Dogruk Kacar S, Ozuguz P, Eroglu S, Polat S, Karaca S. Treatment of primary hyperhidrosis with tap water iontophoresis in paediatric patients: a retrospective analysis. Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2014 Dec;33(4):313-6. doi: 10.3109/15569527.2013.875559. Epub 2014 Jan 9. PMID: 24405389.

Dagash H, McCaffrey S, Mellor K, Roycroft A, Helbling I. Tap water iontophoresis in the treatment of pediatric hyperhidrosis. J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Feb;52(2):309-312. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2016.11.026. Epub 2016 Nov 14. PMID: 27912978.

doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.201338

Hyperhidrosis Substantially Reduces Quality of Life in Children: A Retrospective Study Describing Symptoms, Consequences and Treatment with Botulinum Toxin. here

Dagash H, McCaffrey S, Mellor K, Roycroft A, Helbling I. Tap water iontophoresis in the treatment of pediatric hyperhidrosis. J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Feb;52(2):309-312. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2016.11.026. Epub 2016 Nov 14. PMID: 27912978.

Kumar MG, Foreman RS, Berk DR, Bayliss SJ. Oral glycopyrrolate for refractory pediatric and adolescent hyperhidrosis. Pediatr Dermatol. 2014 Jan-Feb;31(1):e28-30. doi: 10.1111/pde.12236. Epub 2013 Nov 25. PMID: 24266878.

Laje P, Rhodes K, Magee L, Klarich MK. Thoracoscopic bilateral T3 sympathectomy for primary focal hyperhidrosis in children. J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Feb;52(2):313-316. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2016.11.030. Epub 2016 Nov 14. PMID: 27894764.

founder of Hyperhidrosis'Observatory

Written by Nelly Darbois

I founded this website in 2012. Since then, I’ve been providing information and positive support to people suffering from excessive sweating. I’m also a physical therapist and science writer, living in French Alps 🌞❄️.

Leave a Reply