Excessive Sweating & Hyperhidrosis
Treatments and Solutions for Abnormal Sweating
Excessive sweating – hyperhidrosis – is a clinical condition where parts of the body are sweating beyond what the body needs. It is commonly an inherited condition and can affect those who suffer from it on a social, functional, and emotional level. Social embarrassment is the primary complaint.
Everyone sweats. Sweating is a normal function that keeps body temperatures safe. Exercise and situations that provoke nervousness will cause sweating. Heavy profuse sweating that occurs for no physiological reason may well mean hyperhidrosis. If you suffer from hyperhidrosis, your life is dramatically impacted.
Some patients afflicted with the condition experience a distinct reduction in the quality of life and avoid activities that everyone else takes for granted. Sufferers feel at a loss of control because perspiration takes place independent of temperature and emotional state.
Anxiety can make the situation even worse for many sufferers. A common complaint of hyperhidrosis patients is that they get nervous because they sweat, then sweat more because they are nervous.
The good news is, there are several different ways to combat excessive sweating with varying levels of effectiveness depending on the severity of the excessive sweating problem. Dr. Cobos will work with you until you have a solution that gives the best improvement in the condition. Arrmpit sweating that is not controlled by other means is being very successfully treated with Botox injections.
Botox for controlling Excess Sweating
Botox is a preparation of protein and when small doses are injected into the skin, it blocks the nerves that supply the eccrine or sweat glands. This prevents the glands from producing sweat. Although this is a temporary solution, effects can last upwards to 6 or more months.
About 1% of the population is afflicted with axillary hyperhidrosis which involves extreme, dripping sweat in the armpit area. This type of excessive armpit (axillary) sweating is resistant to all types of deodorants and odor controlling medications. At times the excessive axillary sweating is accompanied by the more known entity of palmar hyperhidrosis or excessive hand sweating.
Photo source – www.hyperhidrosisuk.org
If you think you have hyperhidrosis, visit Allergan’s Botox site for a Hyperhidrosis Self-Assessment. Botox for hyperhidrosis can be effective for 7 to 9 months with only one treatment.
The International Hyperhidrosis Foundation has a website for adults on sweating – www.sweathelp.org and a link to site especially for teens.
What causes hyperhidrosis?
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes hyperhidrosis although they have successfully linked it to over-activity in the sympathetic nervous system. This nerve chain controls the glands, know as the apocrine and eccrine glands, responsible for perspiration throughout the entire body.
Sometimes people will sweat excessively because of other conditions such as hyperthyroidism, the menopause, obesity and sometimes psychiatric disorders. These causes must first be ruled out before primary hyperhidrosis can be diagnosed.
Treatments for Hyperhidrosis
Topical antiperspirants which contain aluminum chloride. An antiperspirant is an astringent meant to decrease eccrine and apocrine sweat secretion, while deodorants are designed only to prevent and mask odor. Dr. Cobos may prescribe a high-strength antiperspirant to see if this will alleviate the problem.
Iontophoresis involves applying a low intensity electrical current to the hands and/or feet by means of an iontophoresis machine and water baths containing ordinary tap water. The exact mechanism for the effects of tap water iontophoresis on hyperhidrosis remains uncertain; however the treatment is effective in around 85% of people making it a safe first line treatment option.
Botox injections, as mentioned above, are a minimally invasive treatment that many of Dr. Cobos’ patients choose for its long term effectiveness.
Surgical removal of the sweat glands is a last-choice solution but must be performed under general anesthesia. Compensatory sweating is the most common of side effects and occurs in a high percentage of cases, causing sweating on such areas as the chest, back, thighs and groin.
Tips for Coping with Hyperhidrosis
For best results you should see a skin specialist to get treatment. In the meantime, if you sweat regularly, or have untreated Hyperhidrosis, there are a number of things you can do to reduce sweat and body odor.
1) Wear light-colored clothing to lessen sweat visibility, and loose-fitted clothing to allow air to circulate next to your skin.
2) Be careful when wearing polyester, silk and artificial fibers next to your skin. These can cling to your skin and restrict air flow.
3) Natural cotton perspiration shields can be worn under clothing to provide an extra layer of protection.
4) Use antiperspirant with aluminum chloride, the active ingredient that works by blocking the pores to prevent sweat from escaping.
5) Taking a daily bath or shower will help lower the amount of bacteria formed on your skin.
6) Alternate your shoes daily so they have a chance to dry overnight.
7) Keep two pairs of socks or cotton soled pantyhose handy so you can change them when needed. Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly before doing so.
8) Go barefoot when possible.
9) Eliminate foods or drinks that cause you to sweat more than others, as well as foods with strong odors like onions and garlic.
10) Drink lots of water to replenish any moisture you may have lost and to prevent dehydration.