What is Hyperhidrosis – Excessive Sweating?
Hyperhidrosis is a condition of abnormal sweating (also known as sweating disorder) created without sun exposure or excessive activity. Sweating or perspiration is the production of fluids in the sweat glands of a person. It occurs as a means of thermoregulation or regulating the body’s temperature in hot weather or excessive physical activity. It can either occur in a generalized manner throughout the body or on specific parts containing the maximum number of glands. The armpits, hands, feet, and facial area are usually the focal points of Hyperhidrosis. Though not life-threatening, it can cause social, physical, and psychological distress to the patient and deteriorate the quality of their lives.
How to Manage Excessive Sweating?
The primary way of dealing with excessive sweating is by wearing light, breathable fabrics with proper ventilation. These help in reflecting the sun instead of absorbing it and reduce our discomfort. If the sweating is too much to handle, wear clothes of such a pattern that can hide your sweat spots. Avoiding chilies, hot foods, and other spicy items can help the symptomatic factor related to hyperhidrosis or sweating disorder. Even coffee should be avoided as it activates the sweat glands through its work on the CNS. Excessive sweating leads to the accumulation of bacteria resulting in body odor. Antiperspirants and deodorants prove helpful in such cases. While antiperspirants block the sweat from reaching the skin’s surface, deodorants mask the smell of the bacteria and help in body odor.
Types And Causes of Hyperhidrosis
Sweat glands are the primary cause of Hyperhidrosis. Sweat production is the body’s protective mechanism to help it cool down in warm surroundings or when exposed to external stimuli. That causes perspiration in cases of fever, hot weather, excessive physical activity, and a response to fear and nervousness. After these factors are resolved, the sweating stops. But in sweating disorder, the nerves do not signal the sweat glands to halt perspiration even after the triggering stimuli have been removed. That’s when it gets imperative to go for Hyperhidrosis treatment for excessive sweating.
Hyperhidrosis can occur anytime in normal conditions, but factors like diabetes, thyroid problems, and nervous system disorders activate the condition. Additionally, infections, menopause flashes, and some types of cancer with Hyperhidrosis as medication withdrawal symptoms necessitate treatment for excessive sweating.
The Sweating disorder or Hyperhidrosis is primarily classified into general and focal depending on the site of excessive perspiration. In generalized Hyperhidrosis, there is uniform increased sweating throughout the body, whereas in localized Hyperhidrosis, sweating is restricted to specific body parts. Generalized Hyperhidrosis may again be classified into primary and secondary ones. The direct or idiopathic sweating disorder can occur anytime without any external stimuli, whereas secondary sweating disorder is caused due to medical conditions, neurological problems, and drug withdrawals.
Primary focal Hyperhidrosis occurs over the plantar feet, palms, face, and scalp of children but is limited to the front and skull of post-menopausal women. Localized Hyperhidrosis, though rare, is known to occur over the forehead and forearms of the patient. Unilateral Hyperhidrosis occurs on one side of the body with no perspiration or anhidrosis on the other side. Doctors will plan treatment for excessive sweating depending on its class and intensity in the patient.
Symptoms Of Excessive Sweating
To acknowledge the need for Hyperhidrosis treatment for excessive sweating, you need to be sure about its presence in your case. Otherwise, you may misread your perfect healthy sweating cycle as Hyperhidrosis. The symptoms of excessive sweating differ from person to person, and so is the treatment for excessive sweating, depending on the severity of the problem. Sweat may pool under your arms or around your back and result in aesthetically unpleasing wet spots in those regions. The intense sweating may also need regular clothes to change or even socks to deal with the condition. The deodorant and other chemicals used to deal with the sweating may result in noticeable marks on the clothing.
It may bead on your cheeks and forehead and lead to itching and inflammation over the area. In the case of people with acne-prone skin, this may be a significant factor causing flare-ups. The bacteria may even be the reason for body odor and cause social stigma to the patient. However, not all cases of Hyperhidrosis treatment for excessive sweating do require a doctor’s intervention. But you must know the conditions when you visit a doctor to plan your treatment for excessive sweating.
When to Consult the Doctor?
Hyperhidrosis is often a primary symptom of an underlying problem. On showing sudden signs of excessive perspiration, you should consult the doctor to rule out the risk of such situations. Medical interventions are also required when the problem causes social and environmental distress and starts interfering with your day-to-day activities. Apart from the aesthetic issues caused by body odor and sweat pooling over the clothes, Hyperhidrosis also results in chapped skin that is uncomfortable and a breeding ground for bacterial infection. In such cases, it is better to plan Hyperhidrosis treatment for excessive sweating instead of online advice.
In people with acne-prone skin, Hyperhidrosis is a significant cause of acne flare-ups that leave scars for life even after resolving. The problem makes writing difficult because excessive sweating does not allow you to hold the pen and form damp spots over the paper.
There is hesitation even in shaking hands and attending social gatherings because of the embarrassment. This requires continuous treatment for excessive sweating till your life gets back to normal both physically and mentally.
In this regard, if you need a consultation with an excellent doctor to plan your Hyperhidrosis treatment for excessive sweating, visit Bizrahmed.
How is Hyperhidrosis Diagnosed?
Sweating at an early age that occurs once a week bilaterally and is absent at night is the diagnostic criteria for primary focal Hyperhidrosis. Similarly, sweating due to systemic conditions helps in the diagnosis of focal Hyperhidrosis. A number of tests are required for the exact diagnosis of the condition so that the medical practitioner can decide his subsequent treatment for excessive sweating. Usually, blood, urine, and other lab tests are the first round of tests performed to check for an overactive thyroid or low blood sugar causing the problem. The next course of action is a number of sweat tests conducted on the patient. These tests aim to check the severity of Hyperhidrosis and pinpoint the potential body areas to be covered under treatment for excessive sweating.
Hyperhidrosis Treatment For Excessive Sweating – Options
Antiperspirants are considered the primary treatment for excessive sweating when Hyperhidrosis is in its initial stage. When applied over the skin, the antiperspirants tend to plug the sweat glands. This plugging effect signals the neurotransmitters to stop producing more sweat. Antiperspirants are affordable and, based on their requirements, even available for clinical use. But they tend to cause a burning sensation with irritated skin.
Iontophoresis is another option for controlling excessive sweating. In this method, you are instructed to immerse your hands and feet in a shallow pan of water while a medical device sends a low voltage current through the water. This method aims to regulate the nerves causing Hyperhidrosis to help in treatment. It usually takes 6-10 sessions for successful treatment, with each session lasting for around 20-40 minutes. It is most helpful for the Hyperhidrosis of the hands and feet.
Botulinum injections and prescription cloth wipes are FDA-approved methods of Hyperhidrosis treatment for excessive sweating. Botulinum injections aim to block the chemical in the body, stimulating the sweat glands. It is usually injected as a weak dose below the underarms. For excessive sweating, tiny amounts are injected in numerous areas of the underarms. Usually, the results are noticed 4-5 days after the injections last for six months or even longer. After that, it becomes necessary to repeat the injections. Prescription cloth wipes contain Glycopyrronium tosylate that helps in reducing underarm sweating.
When none of these treatments work, prescription medications and surgical options are required to deal with the situation. Prescription medications control excessive sweating by preventing the sweat glands from working. But they can also cause side effects like dryness of the mouth with dry eyes, blurry vision, and heart palpitations. Additionally, the risk of side effects increases with their dose requiring them to be used with caution.
Invasive options like surgically removing the sweat glands and sympathectomy are opted for as the last resort of treatment. For surgically removing your sweat glands, you are administered general anesthesia, after which the surgeon excises a small portion of your underarms, and through liposuction, curettage, and laser surgery, removes your sweat glands permanently. During a sympathectomy, the surgeon cuts or destroys specific nerves causing excessive perspiration to treat the condition. While removing the sweat glands stops excessive sweating below the underarms, sympathectomy treats the hyperhidrosis problem of the palms.
Is There a Test to Confirm Hyperhidrosis?
Starch iodine and paper tests are two such tests. In the starch iodine test, an iodine solution is applied to the sweaty areas. After drying, the focal points of sweat turn dark blue when starch is sprinkled on them. Similarly, in a paper test, special paper is placed over the sweat points and then weighed to determine the intensity of sweat accumulation. QSART ( Quantitative Pseudotumor Axon Reflex Test) is another test used to measure the nerves that control sweating by using mild electrical stimulation on the skin. Sometimes imaging tests like x-rays and CT scans may also be required to rule out cancerous conditions causing excessive sweating.
What to Expect From Your Doctor?
Before starting with your Hyperhidrosis treatment for excessive sweating, the doctor will collect some basic information about your sweating disorder, like when it occurs, which parts of the body sweat the most, and whether it is limited to one side of the body or equal on both sides. The doctor will do a medical examination, including lab tests and diagnostic tests like iodine and paper tests. Based on these exams, he will identify whether you have primary or secondary Hyperhidrosis, based on which he will start your treatment.
At first, he will prescribe antiperspirants and, if required, medications to deal with the perspiration. If these don’t work, he will temporarily inject botulinum injections to block the chemical involved in sweat production. If nothing works, he will either surgically remove your sweat glands or work on the nerves regulating the sweating process.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I stop sweating naturally?
You can stop sweating naturally by wearing breathable, loose-fitting clothing that allows proper ventilation. Shaving the underarms works in the problem effectively in a lot of cases. Waiting between showering and dressing allows your body to become cool and dry before putting on clothes, which helps immensely reduce sweating. Additionally, by avoiding oily food and drinking lots of water, you can stop sweating naturally.
Is there an over-the-counter medicine for excessive sweating?
Antiperspirants with deodorants are the primary over-the-counter medications for excessive sweating. These sit over the skin and prevent the sweat from getting released. This causes blockage of the sweat glands and sends the nerve cells a message to stop producing more sweat. Antiperspirants with 10%-20% aluminum chloride hexahydrate are the best choice of otc medication, but Prescription strengths containing more aluminum chloride are available.
What causes Excessive Sweating?
Normally, sweating occurs as the body’s thermoregulation mechanism in response to external stimuli like weather, excessive physical movement, and sometimes emotional factors. But conditions like certain odors and foods, spinal cord injury, Menopause, autonomic dysfunctions, and tumorous disorders also result in excessive perspiration. Sometimes excessive sweating can be a genetic condition and pass down the generations.
Is there a disorder for sweating too much?
Hyperhidrosis is the medical condition termed excessive sweating. It can occur without any triggering stimuli. Excess perspiration can drench the clothes you are wearing, leading to frequent changes of clothes. It can cause embarrassment for you to mix with others and even cause difficulty in holding the pen and writing owing to too much sweat.
Is hyperhidrosis curable?
There is no cure for hyperhidrosis. But you can prevent excessive sweating by using antiperspirants with deodorants either from over-the-counter or prescription strengths. The doctors advise prescription medications for temporarily stopping the sweat glands from working. When none of these work, the sweat glands are either removed surgically, or the nerves causing dysregulation of sweat glands are removed as a treatment measure. At Bizrahmed, we always focus upon planning a hassle-free Hyperhidrosis treatment for excessive sweating so that the patient will not feel any discomfort in the process.
Is hyperhidrosis treatment permanent?
If you consider Botox injections as your Hyperhidrosis treatment for excessive sweating, you have to go for it once every six months until the disorder subsides completely. Antiperspirants and prescription medications need to be used regularly to provide satisfactory results. Only surgical methods (by removing sweat glands and sympathectomy) can provide permanent results but only for the underarms and palms of the patient.
Can I prevent Hyperhidrosis?
You can prevent Hyperhidrosis by wearing cotton clothes with loose-fitting, allowing ventilation through the body. Junk foods and alcohol are significant causes triggering excessive sweating. Avoiding these foods and eating and drinking healthy meals can help you prevent Hyperhidrosis to a great extent. Good body hygiene and regular shaving of the underarms can also prevent excessive sweating.
Can Hyperhidrosis be passed down in families?
Hyperhidrosis is a reflection of inherited genetic traits. Hyperhidrosis is inherited as an expression of autosomal dominant genes. But the same genes associated with the disorder have not yet been identified. If you have at least one parent suffering from Hyperhidrosis, you have more chances of developing the condition.