Don’t Sweat It (Anymore)

sweatingIt is normal to sweat. It is the body’s way of staying cool, and regulating body temperature on hot days. But some people sweat too much, so much so, that it becomes a hindrance in their lives. These people may be experiencing something called hyperhidrosis, which is excessive sweating.

If you are part of this group, you probably feel like you are constantly in a state of sweat. Well, sweat no more, it turns out that there are ways to help ease the condition, and allow you to live a dryer life.

Only about three percent of the population has hyperhidrosis. There are two types of the disorder: focal hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis.

Focal hyperhidrosis causes sufferers to sweat to excess almost daily, and for virtually no reason. Usually the sweat comes from the palms of the hands, feet and armpits, but it can happen all over the body. This doesn’t necessarally mean you are sweating every moment of the day, but you will be sweating at times when you normally wouldn’t be, like during a resting state and while experiencing no stress.

Those with secondary hyperhidrosis sweat due to another underlying condition, like a tumor, medication side effects or menopause. This type of sweating is more widespread through the body and begins happening suddenly, not during puberty like with focal hyperhidrosis. 

If you have been diagnosed with this disorder, there are treatment options. The first avenue of treatment is usually a prescription strength deodorant with antiperspirant. These work by blocking the sweat ducts with aluminum, and can be used on any part of the body. If this not effective, then Botox can be used to deactivate the sweat glands. The injections can be used in the armpits and patients have reported success with this treatment. However, the injections need to be administered bi-annually, and can be painful. For those who are comfortable with using an at-home treatment, there is one called iontophoresis. This safe treatment uses electricity to zap the sweat glands by sending a current through hands and feet submerged in water.

If none of the above mentioned processes have worked, there is a surgical procedure that can be tried. Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy is a when a nerve is severed on either side of the chest, disrupting the signal that stimulates the sweat glands in the hands and armpits. However, this surgery comes with its share of risks and should only be used as a last ditch effort.

There is also the theory that the hyperhidrosis is exacerbated by the stress and anxiety that people experience from having the condition itself. This leads to a debilitating cycle where one condition is amplifying the other. There has been research to show that when sufferers of hyperhidrosis undergo the appropriate therapy, their stress levels have been shown to go down, which in turn greatly reduces the amount of sweating. 

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Paolo

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