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Excessive Sweating

ClearlyDerm / Medical Dermatology / Excessive Sweating

What is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis, aka excessive sweating, is a disorder characterized by higher levels of sweat production, which occurs in up to 1% of the population. The excessive sweating can occur in the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), in the armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis), or in the feet (plantar hyperhidrosis). Although nobody understands the exact cause of this excessive sweating in specific individuals, it is known that the sweating is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system.

There are two types of hyperhidrosis, primary focal and secondary.

Primary focal hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating that is not caused by another medical condition, nor is it a side effect of medications. The excessive sweating is the medical condition itself. This type of sweating occurs on very specific areas of the body (described as focal areas) and is usually relatively “symmetric” meaning that both the left and right sides of the body are affected similarly. The most common focal areas are the sweaty hands, sweaty feet, sweaty underarms, and sweaty face or head. Primary focal hyperhidrosis often begins in childhood or adolescence, especially hyperhidrosis of the hands and feet.

Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is caused by another medical condition, or is a side effect of a medication. That’s why it’s called secondary – it’s secondary to something else. Unlike with primary focal hyperhidrosis, people with secondary hyperhidrosis experience sweating on larger or other areas of the body (described as generalized areas). Another key difference between the two types of hyperhidrosis is that people with secondary generalized hyperhidrosis may often experience their sweating symptoms while sleeping. With secondary hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating usually starts in adulthood, whereas primary hyperhidrosis starts in childhood or adolescence.

treating hyperhidrosis

Treatments for excessive sweating include prescription antiperspirants, Iontophoresis, Botox injections, anticholinergic drugs.

Antiperspirants may be the first, and  most affordable, treatment that a dermatologist recommends. When applied as directed, an antiperspirant can be effective. Your dermatologist may recommend a regular or clinical-strength antiperspirant. Some patients need a stronger antiperspirant and receive a prescription for one.

Iontophoresis can be used if excessive sweating affects your hands, feet, or both areas, this may be an option. You will use this treatment at home. It requires you to immerse your hands or feet in a shallow pan of tap water. As you do this, a medical device sends a low-voltage current through the water. Many people obtain relief. Some people dislike that this treatment can be time-consuming.

Botox has been approved boy the FDA to treat your underarms. Your ClearlyDerm provider can inject a weak form of this medicine into your underarms. To treat excessive sweating, a patient will need to have very tiny amounts injected in many areas of the underarms. When performed properly, patients have little pain or discomfort.

Prescription medication can temporarily prevent people from sweating. These medicines work throughout the body.

These medicines prevent the sweat glands from working. Athletes, people who work in a hot place, and anyone who lives in a warm climate should use extreme caution when using this treatment. The body may not be able to cool itself.

These medicines can effectively treat sweating that involves entire body. This medicine also can be an effective treatment for post-menopausal women who sweat excessively only from their head.