Navigate Up

Pediatric Center - A-Z Index

#
Q
Z

Print This Page

Sweating - absent

An abnormal lack of sweat in response to heat may be harmful, because sweating allows heat to be released from the body. The medical term for absent sweating is anhidrosis.

Alternative Names

Decreased sweating; Anhidrosis

Considerations

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.

Causes

  • Burns
  • Certain genetic syndromes
  • Certain nerve problems (neuropathies)
  • Congenital disorders including as ectodermal dysplasia
  • Dehydration
  • Neurologic disorders such as Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Skin diseases that block sweat glands
  • Trauma to sweat glands
  • Use of certain drugs

Home Care

If there is a danger of overheating, take a cool shower or sit in a cool bathtub and drink plenty of fluids. Remain in a cool environment. Move slowly during hot weather. Avoid heavy exercise and hot foods.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have a general lack of sweating or an abnormal lack of sweating when exposed to heat or strenuous exercise.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The doctor will perform a physical exam. In emergencies, the health care team will perform rapid cooling measures and give you fluids to stabilize you.

Your doctor may ask questions about your symptoms and medical history. You may be given drugs to cause sweating.

You may be asked to wrap yourself in an electric blanket or sit in a sweatbox while the health care team watches your body's reaction.

A skin biopsy may be done. Genetic testing may be done if appropriate.

Updated: 5/15/2013

Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com