Anhidrosis is the inability to sweat normally. When you don't sweat (perspire), your body can't cool itself, which can lead to overheating and sometimes to heatstroke — a potentially fatal condition.

Anhidrosis — sometimes called hypohidrosis — can be difficult to diagnose. Mild anhidrosis often goes unrecognized. Dozens of factors can cause the condition, including skin trauma and certain diseases and medications. You can inherit anhidrosis or develop it later in life.

Treatment of anhidrosis involves addressing the underlying cause, if one can be found.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Signs and symptoms of anhidrosis include:

  • Little or no perspiration
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Flushing
  • Feeling hot

A lack of perspiration can occur:

  • Over most of your body (generalized)
  • In a single area
  • In scattered patches

Areas that can sweat may try to produce more perspiration, so it's possible to sweat profusely on one part of your body and very little or not at all on another. Anhidrosis that affects a large portion of your body prevents proper cooling, so vigorous exercise, hard physical work and hot weather can cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion or even heatstroke.

Anhidrosis can develop on its own or as one of several signs and symptoms of another condition, such as diabetes or skin injury.

When to see a doctor

If you barely sweat, even when it's hot or you're working or exercising strenuously, talk to your doctor. Talk to your doctor if you notice you're sweating less than usual. Because anhidrosis increases your risk of heatstroke, seek medical care if you develop signs or symptoms of a heat-related illness, such as:

  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Goose bumps on the skin, despite warm temperatures

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