Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating, even when you are not exercising or when the temperature is high. If you have hyperhidrosis, you may sweat so much that it soaks through your clothing or drips off of you. Hyperhidrosis can cause embarrassment, and interfere with quality of life.
In many cases, doctors are unaware of the underlying cause of hyperhidrosis. The condition can also be caused by genetics, or by an underlying medical condition. There are two types of hyperhidrosis: focal, or primary hyperhidrosis, which causes sweating in the hands, underarms, face, and feet without any apparent reason, and secondary hyperhidrosis, which causes sweating all over the body.
People with primary hyperhidrosis sweat from their eccrine sweat glands, which make up the majority of the body’s sweat glands. These glands are activated by overheating, exercise, or hormones or nerves. Primary hyperhidrosis is often a genetic condition.
Secondary hyperhidrosis causes sweating all over the body, and is more likely to happen during sleep. This type of hyperhidrosis usually has an underlying cause, such as a medication, or a medical condition such as menopause, diabetes, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, lymphoma, or pregnancy.
If you suffer from excessive sweating, you may wish to consider having the condition treated through non-surgical methods such as Botox, iontophoresis or microwave therapy. We will review these treatments, and how they work, below.
Botox is likely the most effective non-surgical treatment for hyperhidrosis. The botulinum toxin used in these injections temporarily blocks the nerves that cause sweating. The affected area of your body will likely require several injections, and you may need to return for additional treatments after six to 12 months.
During iontophoresis, a medical device uses mild electrical currents to affected parts of your body. During this treatment, the currents are delivered to the hands, feet, or armpits to block your sweat glands temporarily.
Prescription antiperspirants that contain aluminum chloride (Drysol, Xerac Ac), which are usually applied to the affected area before you go to bed, may be prescribed by your doctor. In addition, your doctor may suggest or prescribe hydrocortisone cream, or a prescription cream that contains glycopyrrolate.
Anticholineric drugs, which can include oxybutynin, can be highly effective at treating both types of hyperhidrosis. These drugs require a prescription.
This type of treatment uses beams of microwave energy to permanently disable sweat glands, usually in the underarms.
If your hyperhidrosis is severe, or if you wish to try a treatment with lasting, permanent results, there are surgical options to consider.
If excessive sweating at your underarms is your primary concern, it is possible to have your sweat glands removed entirely. Usually, this procedure is performed using a technique known as suction curettage. Suction-curettage is a method in which the doctor will insert a suction tool into two small incisions in order to suck out the sweat-producing glands. The procedure is similar to liposuction.
Also known as sympathectomy, during a nerve surgery, a surgeon will cut, burn or clamp the spinal nerves that control sweating in your hands. This type of surgery is not an option when excessive sweating occurs in the head or neck, and can sometimes trigger sweating on other parts of the body, which is known as compensatory sweating.
While it is not possible to cure hyperhidrosis, there are some at-home steps you can take to help minimize its effects, or to prevent excessive sweating. These steps include:
Wearing antiperspirant: The aluminum-based compounds in over the counter antiperspirants can temporarily block sweat pores, which reduce the amount of sweat that reaches your skin.
Choose natural materials for your footwear: Shoes made of leather might help prevent excessive sweating by allowing your feet to breathe. In addition, choose socks made of moisture-wicking materials, and change your socks often. Foot powders may also be effective in absorbing sweat. You may also find it useful to go barefoot when possible and appropriate.
Try astringents: Many astringents contain tannic acid, which may help prevent excessive sweating.
Pay attention to your hygiene: Bathing or showering daily can help offset odours that may result from excessive sweating by removing bacteria from your body. Be sure to dry yourself thoroughly after washing.
Choose clothing carefully: Natural fibres, such as cotton, wool and silk, allow your skin to breathe and minimize sweating, especially during high temperatures. If you are active, consider technical, moisture-wicking fabrics.
Manage your stress: Meditation, yoga, and other wellness methods can help keep your stress in check. Often, excessive sweating is a byproduct of stress and anxiety.
The cost of treating your hyperhidrosis will depend on the procedure you choose. While a surgical procedure may be costly, nonsurgical procedures such as Botox tend to be more affordable (however, these treatments often require repeat visits).
Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, can interfere with your positive self-esteem and compromise your quality of life. It can cause embarrassment, and prevent you from participating in social activities or exercising with friends, or engaging in team sports. At SpaMedica, our team of surgeons and clinicians will work with you to determine the type of hyperhidrosis that you suffer from, and will advise on the best type of treatment to help restore your confidence and improve your quality of life. Contact the clinic to book your consultation today.
According to clinical studies, 95% of patients with severe hyperhidrosis experienced positive results within one week after receiving Botox Injections for hyperhidrosis.