If you’re not familiar with hyperhidrosis, it’s the clinical term for excessive sweating. Excessive sweating can happen anywhere on the body including underarm, face, hands, feet, and scalp. Studies show that 2% to 3% of Americans struggle with this condition, with symptoms starting as early as age 13. Hyperhidrosis is a source of embarrassment for many people in that it can stain clothes, disrupt romantic relationships, and even sabotage business and social interactions. Plus, it can be just plain uncomfortable. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at the etiology of hyperhidrosis as well as some of the more common treatments.
WHAT CAUSES EXCESSIVE SWEATING?
When it comes to excessive sweating, no two cases are the same. Some people tend to sweat throughout the day, regardless of weather conditions or level of physical activity. For some people, hyperhidrosis is a byproduct of heat and emotions. In diagnosing cases involving excessive sweating, physicians will often inquire about the patient’s medical history and also the symptoms that they may be experiencing. Beyond that, patients may have to undergo a physical exam as well as lab tests to confirm the disorder. The lab test used to confirm hyperhidrosis includes blood and urine tests, which allows physicians to rule of other health problems that may be contributing to the disorder like overactive thyroid and low blood sugar, for example.
Along with a physical exam and lab tests, some physicians may elect to perform a sweat test on their patients. These types of tests allow physicians to not only pinpoint specific areas of sweat, but also assess the severity of hyperhidrosis.
WHAT’S A TREATMENT FOR EXCESSIVE SWEATING?
Treating hyperhidrosis is accomplished in one of two ways; identifying an underlying health problem that is contributing to the disorder, or managing the patient’s excessive sweating. If an underlying health problem is the root cause, resolving that problem will indirectly resolve the excessive sweating as well. It is important to note that there are times when a patient may need to try a variety of treatments before finding one that is effective. Also, excessive sweating can reoccur even after being successfully treated.
MiraDry is one of the latest and best treatments available for excessive underarm sweat and odor. This is because it uses microwave energy to permanently reduce underarm sweat and odor by up to 82% with only 2 treatments. It works by suctioning the sweat glands into a handpiece that administers energy waves to destroy the sweat glands so they become no longer active. Discomfort during treatment is managed by using local anesthesia to numb the area. After treatment, an ice pack is applied immediately. Check out this video on miraDry to learn more. (link miraDry video on youtube)
There are a variety of over the counter products and prescriptions that your physician can recommend to help manage hyperhidrosis.
Glycopyrrolate – Prescription creams that contain glycopyrrolate are typically recommended for individuals who experience hyperhidrosis on either their face or head.
BOTOX® – Although it’s widely known for its use in cosmetic treatments, Botox can be extremely effective at reducing the activity of sweat glands by blocking chemical signals that cause them to become overactive. This treatment consists of a quick and simple injection session at our office.
Antiperspirants – Over the counter and prescription antiperspirants that contain aluminum chloride have been shown to be effective in controlling hyperhidrosis. However, they can cause skin irritation.
This treatment method can be used to treat excessive sweating of the hands and feet using a tray-like device that passes medical current through water. During treatment, you’ll sit with your hands or feet in the shallow tray filled with water. This treatment can last for 15 to 40 minutes, depending on your needs.
Most patients benefit from a package of treatments 3 times per week for 1-2 months. After completing the initial treatment package, you can transition to a maintenance therapy, which usually consists of treatment once per week.
Excessive sweating is a common medical condition and effects more people than you may think. Fortunately, the International Hyperhidrosis Society provides some great resources to manage your excessive sweating both at home and with the help of a medical professional. There are a number of treatments that have been proven to be effective in treating and managing it, and we can help select the right one for you. If you are bothered by hyperhidrosis, schedule an appointment with one of our providers today to start your journey to a drier you!