Hyperhidrosis in Young Children

The Causes of Excessive Sweating

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Are you concerned that your child is sweating too much? Unlike older children and teens, hyperhidrosis (extreme sweating) in younger children isn't common. It can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying problem.

Let's take a look at what you should know about excessive sweating in children.

Causes of Excessive Sweating in Young Children

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

Types of Excessive Sweating

There are two different types of excessive sweating. These include:

  • Generalized excessive sweating happens all over the body. It can result in your clothes becoming soaked.
  • Local excessive sweating happens in only one region, such as in the armpits, or only on the face and neck.

Excess sweating can also be described by what causes it:

  • Primary hyperhidrosis is when the sweating is only in the armpits, palms of the hands, and feet. This condition affects 1% to 3% of the population.
  • Secondary hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating that is usually generalized and is caused by an underlying medical condition such as a thyroid disorder.


Excessive sweating in preteens and teens is quite common. They often have sweaty palms, feet, or armpits. Their faces might also sweat too much.

On the other hand, excessive sweating in young children isn't very common and can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

You may notice sweating on your child's face and arms in a comfortable environment. Your child may sweat and soak through their clothes. Yes, this kind of sweating is normal if the heat and humidity are high.

Children are not just little adults, but you can often get an idea of whether or not your child should be sweating based on whether or not you are sweating yourself.

If your baby, toddler, or elementary age child appears to sweat heavily, it's important to make an appointment to see your pediatrician.


The possible causes of excessive sweating in young children span the spectrum from normal to serious.

A common and easy to treat the cause of excessive sweating is over-bundling or overdressing your child, or keeping your home too warm. In general, infants should be dressed similar to adults in the home, yet many parents bundle their children to a much greater degree than they bundle themselves.

Other "normal" causes of hyperhidrosis include anxiety, a fever, or physical activity. With a young child, however, you are likely familiar with the amount of sweating that is "typical" when she is active.

Some of the more serious causes of excessive sweating in young children include:

  • Infections: Any type of infection whether mild or serious may lead to excess sweating. Sometimes low-grade or "smoldering" infections such as tuberculosis may have only sweating as a symptom.
  • Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism may cause excess sweating and sweating may be the only symptom. With hyperthyroidism, your child may also experience weight loss, a rapid heartbeat, and anxiety.
  • Diabetes: Excessive sweating can be a symptom of diabetes. A child with diabetes may also have increased thirst, increased urination, and weight loss. Their sweat may carry an odor that smells like acetone (fingernail polish remover.)
  • Hypertension: High blood pressure in children due to uncommon disorders such as pheochromocytoma (a tumor of the adrenal gland), neuroblastoma (a brain tumor), or medications may appear as excessive sweating.
  • Congestive heart failure: Infants with congestive heart failure usually have other symptoms in addition to excess sweating. They may tire easily with feedings, have a rapid respiratory rate, cough frequently, and have poor weight gain.
  • Prescription drugs: Some prescription medications can cause generalized sweating.
  • Other metabolic and hormonal disorders


If your child appears to be sweating excessively it's important to see your pediatrician. Excess sweating does not mean that your child has a serious medical condition.

Many children who have excessive sweating will be found to be healthy on exam. Since hyperhidrosis can be early symptoms of several conditions it's best to have it checked out.

The first step in evaluating excessive sweating is to look at the growth and development of your child. Even if a child is growing at a normal pace, gaining weight, and reaching developmental milestones, further evaluation is usually recommended if your baby or young child is sweating a lot.

Your pediatrician will want to carefully examine your child and will likely run some blood tests.


When a child has generalized hyperhidrosis, the approach is to find and treat the underlying cause of the sweating rather than to treat the sweating (the symptom) itself.

For children with localized hyperhidrosis, there are a number of options ranging from topical preparations to anticholinergic medications to procedures such as iontophoresis and Botox.

For preteens and teens, treatments may help with sweaty feet and the consequent aroma.

A Word From Verywell

Unlike older children, excess sweating in younger children is uncommon, at least when they are not overdressed or in a hot, humid environment.

If your baby, toddler, or elementary age child has excess sweating it does not mean, however, that she has something seriously wrong with her. Instead, it is a signal to talk to your pediatrician in order to make sure you are not missing a medical condition and receiving proper treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What causes excessive sweating at night in young children?

    Sweating, especially on the head, is common for babies and young children at night. It's usually just caused by their environment being too warm, but occasionally it can be due to a medical condition. Check with your pediatrician if excessive sweating persists or if your child has additional symptoms such as a fever.

  • How can you treat hyperhidrosis?

    For secondary hyperhidrosis, treatment will focus on the underlying medical condition causing it. Treatment for primary hyperhidrosis in children may include antiperspirants, anticholinergics, or Botox treatment to help "turn off" the body's sweat glands. Your doctor may also suggest iontophoresis, a procedure that uses mild electrical currents to reduce sweating in the hands or feet.

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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