Sweating and Temperature Regulation in PD

People with Parkinson's experience changes to the autonomic nervous system, which controls sweating.  While sweating controls temperature regulation, too much or too little sweating can result in feeling overheated.  Here are some resources to understand sweating and temperature regulation, and how to cope with it.

Downloadable Documents | Online Articles | Podcasts & Webinars | Expert-level Resources

Downloadable Documents (PDF)

Skin and Sweating Problems in Parkinson’s

By Dr. Ronald Pearce and Caroline McMahon.  Published by Parkinson’s UK, May 2015

This 3-page information sheet (PDF) explains that sometimes people with Parkinson’s have problems with their skin, and how much or how little they sweat, the symptoms you may experience and what you can do to manage them.

Online Articles

Excessive Sweating in Parkinson’s Patients

By Maria De León, MD.  Published by defeatparkinsons.com, January 7, 2015

This blog post by neurologist and young onset Parkinson’s patient, Dr. Maria De León, explains why we sweat normally, what goes wrong in Parkinson’s disease, what you can do to minimize sweating, and ways to avoid body odor due to excessive sweating.

Hyperhidrosis Treatment Overview

Published by the International Hyperhidrosis Society

This is the home page for the International Hyperhidrosis Society, a non-profit organization focused on hyperhidrosis, research, treatment options and clinical trials. Their motto: Know Sweat.

Skin Changes

Published by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation

This short webpage lists symptoms and what you can do for oily, flaky or inflamed skin, dry skin, excessive sweating, and too little perspiration.  Advice is given to be screened regularly for melanomas.

Skin, Scalp and Sweating

Published by Parkinson’s Victoria (Australia)

This single webpage has symptoms and management tips for oily skin and scalp, seborrhoeic dermatitis, and too little or too much sweat.

Sweating (Parkinson’s disease)

Published by What-When-How, In Depth Tutorials and Information

How the autonomic nervous system regulates many systems, including temperature control, and how Parkinson’s change the body’s temperature regulatory mechanisms leading to symptoms such as hyperhidrosis.

What is Hyperhidrosis?

Published by the Hyperhidrosis Support Group (UK)

This website has up-to-date information on affected areas and treatment options for anyone living with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), as well as medical staff providing treatment options.

Podcasts & Webinars

Is It Related to PD? Runny Noses, Skin Changes and Overlooked PD Symptoms

By the Parkinson’s Foundation, April 18, 2017

In this 1-hour webinar neurologist W. Lawrence Severt discusses non-motor and non-traditional symptoms of PD, the variability of presentations among patients, pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments, as well as recent changes in the management of PD.

Expert-Level Resources

Hyperhidrosis in Parkinson’s disease

By P. Schestatsky, et. al.  Movement Disorders, October 2006

This medical journal article provides a good summary of prevalence of sweating in a small group of PD patients showing that excessive sweating in PD concurs with decreased activation of sweat glands in the palms of the hands and suggests that axial hyperhidrosis could be a compensatory phenomenon for reduced sympathetic function in the extremities. Registration with PubMed required to read the full article.

The Relationship between Thermoregulation and REM Sleep Behavior Disorder in Parkinson’s Disease

By George Zhong, et. al.  PLOS One, August 21, 2013

This open access article provides a thorough description of how thermoregulation occurs and what systems are affected by Parkinson’s disease.

Last updated August 2020 by Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach.