What is hyperhidrosis?
The body has sweat glands used to regulate temperature, and sweating is the natural way for the body to cool itself. However, when a person has hyperhidrosis it produces excessive sweating. When people have hyperhidrosis, their sympathetic response to overheating is higher than normal, and when they begin to sweat, they overproduce.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis:
Primary hyperhidrosis which is usually inherited as a genetic disorder, and secondary hyperhidrosis which is caused by a condition, medications or behavior like alcoholism for example.
Where on the body do people experience excess sweating?
There are several different types of hyperhidrosis and each refers to a place on the body where people experience hyperhidrosis:
- Palmar hyperhidrosis—excessive sweating of the hands
- Axillary hyperhidrosis—excessive underarm sweating
- Pedal Hyperhidrosis—excessive feet sweating.
- Facial Hyperhidrosis/Blushing—flushing and sweating of the face
What are the treatments for hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis can affect your quality of life through discomfort and embarrassment. After determining the type of hyperhidrosis, conservative treatments will be explored. Those conservative treatments include:
- Oral Medications: Given by mouth, these pills are designed to affect your whole body. They cause whole body dryness, effectively calming the excess sweating, but they may also cause irritating dry mouth and dry eyes.
- Topical Medications, such as Aluminum Chloride: This cream is applied in the evening to the hands and other affected areas. In the morning, the area should be dry.
- Iontophoresis: This is a form of electrical therapy which can help people with hyperhidrosis of the hands and feet as the electrical current minimizes the activity of the sweat glands.
- Botulinum Toxin: Known as Botox®, this medication can help with the face, hand and underarm hyperhidrosis through a number of shots.
- Microwave Thermolysis: This procedure works for axillary hyperhidrosis. Your underarm skin is exposed to microwave energy which destroys the sweat glands. It typically takes 2-3 sessions over the course of three-six months.