Forschungsinstitut für Psychobiologie
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Genetics and psychosocial parameters of hyperhidrosis
Primary hyperhidrosis is defined as excessive sweating of certain body areas without physiological reasons. Hyperhidrotic individuals report a high psychological strain and an impairment of their quality of life. Thus, the aim of our first the study was to investigate the relation between hyperhidrosis and different psychological as well as physiological aspects of chronic stress as a co-factor for the etiology of depression. In this study, forty hyperhidrotic subjects were compared to forty age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects. The Trier Inventory of Chronic Stress (‘Trierer Inventar zum chronischen Stress’: TICS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Screening for Somatoform Disorders (SOMS-2) were used to examine the correlation between primary hyperhidrosis and stress as well as accompanying depressive and somatic symptoms. The cortisol awakening response of each subject was analyzed as a physiological stress correlate.In hyperhidrotics, we found a significant lack of social recognition as well as significantly more depressive symptoms compared to the control subjects. A subgroup of patients with axillary hyperhidrosis had the highest impact on these increased issues of chronic stress, pointing to a higher embarrassment in these subjects. Especially in social situations, hyperhidrotics showed higher stress levels, whereby a vicious circle of stress and sweating is triggered. However, the cortisol awakening response did not significantly differ between hyperhidrotics and controls. Moreover, affected persons suffer from more depressive symptoms, which may be caused by feelings of shame and a lack of self-confidence. This initial study provides an impetus for further investigation to reveal a causative relationship between hyperhidrosis and its psychological concomitants (Groß et al., 2014). The second study will focus on the genetics of hyperhidrosis. Most of the patients report that other members of their families are also affected by this condition and some recent publications found chromosomal regions that are linked to the disease in multiplex families. Therefore, we aim to recrute multiplex families and identify chromosomal regions using a genome-wide linkage analysis.