excessive sweating

When excessive sweat becomes a problem!

Excessive sweat (Hyperhidrosis) is not necessarily related to heat or exercise. As a result, this very real and embarrassing problem can disrupt your normal activities. Because it far exceeds normal perspiration from exercise, heat, stress, or hormone shifts, it may exceed regular antiperspirants’ ability to control.

Usually, sweating helps keep your internal temperature at a comfortable 98.6° F. Hyperhidrosis will typically affect your hands, feet, underarms, or face, and cause at least one episode a week when you are awake. It most often occurs on both sides of your body.

What else could it be?

Your excessive sweat could be caused by a medical condition like an overactive thyroid or low blood sugar. The doctor may recommend lab tests to check off these conditions. Other tests can help pinpoint the areas of sweating and the severity of your condition.

If the doctor finds an underlying medical condition, she will treat that first. You may need to try a combination of treatments. Even if you improve after treatment, excessive sweating may come back.

Medical treatments

Because excessive sweat is so troublesome, there are several possible treatments.

  1. Prescription antiperspirants that contain aluminum salts
  2. Perspiration creams for the face and head.
  3. Iontophoresis for hand and food hyperhidrosis when antiperspirants don’t work. This technology works by sending a mild electric current through the skin, via tap water.
  4. Microwave thermolysis for underarms only. The Miradry system targets and eliminates sweat and odor glands.
  5. Laser therapy also targets and eliminates underarm sweat glands.
  6. Nerve-blocking via Botox is an FDA-approved treatment for underarms as well, but it must be repeated after six to 12 months.
  7. Methenamine cream will build a thick callus on the skin, and generally treats hands. You may use this if you are a rock climber, for instance, who needs dry hands!
  8. Nerve-blocking Systemic drugs can’t target any one area, so they decrease sweating and moisture all over your body. They block the action of a neurotransmitter as it attempts to travel to sweat glands that trigger sweating. This treatment may have unwanted side effects.
  9. Surgery, strongly advised against, is highly risky, though still considered local surgery. Your body may compensate and suffer excessive sweating all over your body in reaction to surgery.

At-home treatments for excessive sweat

  1. Non-prescription antiperspirant.
  2. Astringents that contain tannic acid.
  3. Bathing daily to reduce bacteria on your skin.
  4. Keep your feet cool by wearing shoes and socks made of natural materials.
  5. Change hose or socks several times a day and use food powders to help absorb sweat.
  6. Go barefoot when you can.
  7. Wear natural fabrics that allow your skin to breathe. Wear exercise clothing made of wicking materials.
  8. Learn to control stress that triggers sweating by relaxation practice like yoga, meditation, and biofeedback.

How do I choose a treatment?

When you come to Dr. Nangrani for a consultation about excessive sweat, you will discuss your expectations and together create a treatment plan. She will lay out possible treatments that she has confidence in.

Where are we located?

You are our top priority here at Vedas and Woodlands Functional Family Medicine. In The Woodlands, Texas, our North Houston office is minutes from I-45 (Houston’s North Freeway). Come get acquainted with Dr. Nangrani, our board-certified Medical Director. She has practiced for over 15 years. Please call our office to schedule your consultation at (281) 298-5476. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Source- Mayoclinic

For in-depth discussion of hyperhidrosis, see Dermadry’s page

Image- istock

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