Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition better known as excessive perspiration or excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis is characterized by enormous amounts of sweat which usually affect some parts of your body, such as face, underarms, palms, feet etc., but in certain cases it can affect the whole body. Although sweating is a normal body reaction in certain situations – when it is hot or when a person is exercising or is under stress, hyperhidrosis can occur for no apparent reason, and it can cause many practical, psychological and social complications.
Hyperhidrosis is sometimes called “the silent handicap” because it often makes the affected person feel embarrassed and socially anxious, causing withdrawal from many social activities. The excessive sweating and wetness can in severe cases make certain activities almost impossible, such as using a pen, holding a cell phone or the steering wheel. It is estimated that approximately 3% of adults suffer from this medical condition. Hyperhidrosis seems to have much to do with genetics, since it has been found that 40% of people suffering from it have a family member who also affected by this condition. Timely diagnosis and proper treatment are crucial for reducing the negative effects excessive perspiration can have on everyday life, and our professional medical staff can provide you with appropriate treatment and advice.
It is still not clear what causes this unpleasant medical condition. A difference is being made between focal or primary hyperhidrosis that affects certain body areas, and secondary hyperhidrosis which affects the whole body. Primary hyperhidrosis usually affects face, feet, underarms or palms and often doesn’t have an underlying medical cause, except overactive sweat glands, and the fact that it is usually hereditary.Secondary hyperhidrosis can be related to certain infectious, endocrine, neurologic or some other systemic health conditions.
These conditions can include:
- Progressive hair thinning that affects both man and woman which is usually a sign of ageing;
- Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid gland;
- Chronic alcohol abuse;
- Certain heart conditions;
- Some neurological conditions, such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease etc
When primary hyperhidrosis is concerned, excessive sweating most usually occurs on one or two body parts, on both sides of the body (underarms, palms etc.) while the rest stays dry. Sweating happens with no connection to heat or physically tiring activities, and it doesn’t occur during sleep. As for secondary hyperhidrosis, it often involves the whole body and isn’t absent during sleep. Both primary and secondary hyperhidrosis can lead to extreme wetness, which may result in many unpleasant consequences, such as skin infections and problems, soaking through clothes and making certain activities impossible.
There are several different methods of treating this annoying and sometimes even debilitating condition. The first step in dealing with hyperhidrosis is using over-the-counter antiperspirants, which contain a low dose of aluminum or aluminum chloride. If these antiperspirants don’t solve the problem, the next step is usually aluminum chloride hexahydrate, a clinical strength antiperspirant which must be prescribed and used in consultation with your physician. Another method used is called iontophoresis, a simple medical procedure which temporarily shuts down sweat glands by means of electricity. It is most usually used in managing the excessive perspiration of hands and feet.
Oral medications can be used in some cases, most often some anti-depressants and anticholinergics. Botox injections are sometimes used in treatment of heavy underarm perspiration, but they can also be used in managing hyperhidrosis in face, palms, feet etc. In severe cases, when all other options fail, endoscopic thoracic sypmathectomy (ETS) can be suggested. This procedure includes cutting off the nerve which runs alongside the spine and which sends your body the signal to sweat, and is most effective in treating the excessive sweating of the palms. Some other surgical procedures can sometimes be used, for example sweat glands in the armpit area can be removed.
Our clinic is specialized in developing individualized treatment plans for each patient and if you choose us you will get the full attention you deserve.