Why Are My Hands Clammy?

Excessive sweating, particularly in the palms of your hands, is a common issue that many people experience. It threatens social encounters, professional handshakes, and even the simple pleasure of holding a loved one’s hand. However, as bothersome as it can be, understanding the potential causes can lead to successful treatment.

Understanding Hand Sweating

Sweating is a natural process in the human body. It helps regulate your body temperature and produces a natural moisture that coats the skin. Your hands, like your feet, have a relatively high concentration of sweat glands. Therefore, these areas are prone to sweating more than other parts of the body. Hand sweating becomes a concern when it is continual or excessive, a condition known as palmar hyperhidrosis.

Causes of Clammy Hands

Several factors can result in clammy hands. These include:

  • Genetics: Palmar hyperhidrosis often runs in families, suggesting a genetic factor.
  • Emotional Stress: Anxiety, stress, or nervousness can trigger excessive hand sweating. These conditions activate your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response, which stimulates sweat production.
  • Medical Conditions: Several health conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, menopause, or heart disease can induce excessive hand sweat.
  • Medications: Certain types of drugs like antidepressants and migraine medications are known to cause excessive sweating.


If you’re dealing with unusually sweaty hands, a healthcare provider should evaluate you. They may perform a physical examination, investigate your medical history, and possibly perform sweat tests to determine the underlying cause.

Excessive Sweating Treatments

Many potential treatments can reduce or eliminate the problem of clammy hands. Doctor’s advice will typically depend on the severity of your condition and the identified causes. The excessive sweating treatment options might include:

  • Antiperspirants: Specialized hand antiperspirants are available to manage excessive sweat.
  • Iontophoresis: This treatment involves passing a mild electrical current through the affected skin area while it is submerged in water. It’s extremely effective in reducing sweat production.
  • Botulinum toxin (Botox): Botox injections in the palms can temporarily block the nerves that trigger the sweat glands.
  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe oral medications that decrease overall sweat production.
  • Surgery:Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is a procedure that’s only considered as a last resort when other treatments haven’t been effective.

Excessive hand sweating, known as palmar hyperhidrosis, can be a stressful and embarrassing condition. However, remember, it’s entirely treatable, and with the appropriate excessive sweating treatment options, a solution is within reach.