7 Causes of Excessive Sweating In Toddlers, Signs & Treatment

Excessive sweating in toddlers can be due to various reasons ranging from normal activities or climate to serious medical conditions. Hyperhidrosis is uncommon in babies and toddlers, and most of them may have underlying problems. Sweaty palms could interfere with some skill development, such as holding something in hand. Skin irritations and heat rashes from sweat may also occur if your toddler is sweating more than usual (1). It is advisable to seek medical attention to find the underlying cause.

Read on to learn more about the causes, signs, types, diagnosis, and treatment of excessive sweating in toddlers.

Is It Normal For A Toddler To Sweat?

Toddlers may sweat if they have fever

It is normal for your toddler to sweat in warm or humid climates, and when they indulge in physical activity. Fever, cold, and flu may also increase sweating in babies and toddlers, although that resolves after the infection. While toddlers and babies don’t sweat as much as adults do, it is normal for your baby to sweat in situations where you are also sweating.

Types Of Excess Sweating

Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating can be of two types (2):

  • Generalized excessive sweating is sweating all over the body, which often leaves the clothes soaked in sweat.
  • Localized excessive sweating is sweating in only one part of the body, such as in the armpits, face, or neck.

Depending on the cause, hyperhidrosis can be divided into (3):

  • Primary hyperhidrosis is a rare disorder that results in excessive sweating only in the armpits, palms, soles, face and scalp.
  • Secondary hyperhidrosis (diaphoresis) causes generalized sweating due to underlying diseases such as thyroid disorder, infection, or medication.
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Causes Of Hyperhidrosis In Toddlers

Wearing warm clothes indoors may cause sweating

Though it is not normal for a toddler to sweat excessively, it often happens due to over-bundling or overdressing your child. Many parents tend to make their toddlers wear warm clothes more often than required.

If you make your toddler wear warm clothes indoors and keep room heaters high, it may cause excessive sweating and increase the risk of hyperthermia due to heat exhaustion. Your child may also sweat more than usual due to anxiety or nervousness and physical activity  (4).

Some health problems that may cause hyperhidrosis in toddlers can be (5):

  1. Infections
  2. Hyperthyroidism
  3. Diabetes
  4. Hypertension
  5. Congestive heart failure
  6. Prescription drugs
  7. Other metabolic and hormonal disorders

In addition, hypothalamic injury may also cause hyperhidrosis as hypothalamus is thought to be an important regulator of thermoregulatory sweating. Excessive sweating is not the only symptom of the medical conditions mentioned above. Contact your pediatrician for the examination of the other signs and symptoms to identify the possible causes of hyperhidrosis in your toddler.

Signs And Symptoms Of Hyperhidrosis In Toddlers

You may notice excessive sweating in the following areas of the body (3):

  • Face
  • Palms or hands (palmar hyperhidrosis)
  • Underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis)
  • Scalp
  • Feet (plantar hyperhidrosis)
  • Hands

If the humidity and temperature are normal, the following can be the signs and symptoms of excessive sweating in toddlers (6):

  • Sweat on the face and arms of your baby
Excessive sweating in toddlers
  • Clothing is soaked in sweat
  • Sweaty palms and feet
  • Clammy skin or flushed skin

You may also notice that the toddler has wet palms that may interfere with their activity. These symptoms and signs can be normal if they are due to environmental factors or clothing.

Diagnosis Of Hyperhidrosis In Toddlers

It is recommended that you consult a pediatrician if your toddler has excessive sweating.  Excess sweating may indicate serious medical conditions in some children, although in most cases, it could be due to less worrisome causes. Only a thorough examination by the doctor can determine this.

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Your doctor may evaluate the growth and development of your toddler and check if it meets the age-based requirements.

The pediatrician may also look for signs of all possible underlying causes of excessive sweating. If there is no specific medical condition contributing to sweating, your doctor may diagnose primary focal hyperhidrosis, considering the physical examination and health history (7). The diagnostic tests may include (2):

  • Starch-iodine test or Minor test: It involves the application of iodine solution on sweaty areas and sprinkling starch over it. If there is sweat, this will turn into a dark blue color.
  • Paper test: This uses a special paper that absorbs sweat. The weight of the paper is measured to see if it is
  • Laboratory tests: Blood and urine samples may be collected for analyzing hormonal and metabolic profiles to rule out medical conditions, causing excess sweating in toddlers.

How To Treat Excess Sweating In Toddlers?

Treatment for hyperhidrosis depends on the cause of disease. Addressing the underlying medical conditions may help resolve secondary or generalized hyperhidrosis in toddlers. Toddlers with excessive hyperhidrosis require specific treatments varying from topical creams to certain procedures.

According to the type and location of sweating, your doctor may recommend any of the following treatments for primary hyperhidrosis (7):

  • Antiperspirants: They block the sweat ducts and prevent perspiration. Xerac AC and Drysol are antiperspirants commonly prescribed for children.
  • Iontophoresis (no sweat machine): It is a non-painful treatment, using a medical device, commonly prescribed to treat sweaty palms.
  • Anticholinergic medications: They may help to stop sweat production and improve the quality of life.

Botulinum toxin injections, surgical removal of the sweat glands, sympathectomy, and hand-held medical devices that destroy sweat glands are the effective treatments for hyperhidrosis in later ages (7) (8) (9).

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If excessive sweating is not due to a medical condition, you may follow a few tips to prevent it.

Preventing Hyperhidrosis In Toddlers

Breathable clothes may help toddlers with hyperhidrosis

The following tips may help to prevent excessive sweating in your toddler:

  • Use appropriate clothing according to the climatic conditions and the environment
  • Keep room temperature normal
  • Do not keep warm blankets and bedsheets in a baby crib, unless it is cold
  • Check for fever
  • Use breathable clothes in summer
  • Sweat Proof clothing can be used for outdoor activity
  • Follow doctor’s prescriptions as recommended

Hyperhidrosis can cause a significant amount of discomfort for toddlers, making it important to identify and manage the condition early on. Keep them hydrated as sweating may lead to excessive thirst and dehydration

Hot and humid weather, fever, physical exertion, and wearing warm clothes can cause sweating. Excessive sweating in toddlers is considered normal in situations where you are also sweating. However, it is not normal if your toddler sweats when others are not sweating. Localized hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating can be noticed on palms, armpits, soles, or any body area, and generalized sweating is seen all over the body. Depending on the cause, excessive sweating can be primary or secondary. Usually, primary hyperhidrosis can be managed with anticholinergic or antiperspirant medications, and secondary hyperhidrosis requires treatment of underlying conditions such as hormone issues, diabetes, or infections.

Key Pointers

  • Toddlers can sweat in hot and humid conditions, but hyperhidrosis can cause excessive sweating.
  • Hyperhidrosis is a rare disorder that causes sweating on palms, soles, face, and scalp.
  • Secondary hyperhidrosis causes sweating all over the body due to other underlying conditions.
  • Consult a pediatrician if you notice excessive sweating on palms, soles, or face, or if clothes are soaking wet.
  • Prevent excessive sweating in children by using appropriate clothing, keeping room temperature regular, and using sweat-proof outdoor clothing.

Excessive sweating in toddlers may be relatively normal, yet if you are concerned you may seek a few tips from the following video to explore how to help your child manage this condition.

Article written by Baby Plumbing

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