We all sweat, and most of us we know when and what is going to cause us to perspire. A hot room, a good workout, or a nerve wracking situation are all expected triggers for perspiring. For individuals with hyperhidrosis (a.k.a. excessive sweating), sweating can become a nagging and frustrating experience that seems to occur without rhyme or reason (check out our complete guide to Excessive Sweating Concerns). Caused by a dysfunction of the sweat glands due to inappropriate nerve signaling, both primary (genetic) and secondary (acquired) hyperhidrosis can be treated with at home and professional techniques.
Who needs treatment for hyperhidrosis?
A quick recap. Hyperhidrosis is a fancy word for excessive sweating. We have two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine are found all over the body surface and open directly onto the skin. Apocrine glands secrete through hair follicles and are present in the groin, armpits, and scalp.
Sweating is an important and necessary part of life for thermoregulation (keeping your body at the right temperature). It is normal to sweat to get rid of heat and in response to stressful events. When sweating occurs in strange places, is excessive, and/or seemingly spontaneous, hyperhidrosis may be present.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis:
Primary focal hyperhidrosis: Commonly occurring on the hands, feet, underarms, face, and head. It is genetically correlated and usually presents during adolescence.
Secondary general hyperhidrosis: Excess sweating due to an underlying medical condition, medication, or supplement. This type usually occurs over greater areas of the body and doesn’t develop until adulthood.
To make things a bit more complicated, there are also special names for hyperhidrosis that occurs in specific body areas. Palmar hyperhidrosis refers to sweating of the palms. Primary axillary hyperhidrosis means excessive underarm sweat.
What can you expect from treatment for hyperhidrosis?
We need to sweat-that’s a fact. Procedures to combat hyperhidrosis are designed to allow the body to sweat, but decrease the volume of sweat produced. At home treatments, like antiperspirants can be highly effective.
For cases of hyperhidrosis that do not respond to home therapy, a professional treatment can be beneficial. Botulinum toxin (Botox®) injections can directly target sweat glands. Research shows over 81 percent of Botox® recipients experienced a 50 percent reduction in their sweat volume. Procedures like Iontophoresis utilize electrical currents to help control overactive sweat glands.
Most treatments for hyperhidrosis require little to no downtime, however, surgical removal of the sweat glands will require recovery time.
It is important to consider that in cases of secondary hyperhidrosis, consultation with a medical professional can determine if there is an underlying cause that can be treated to reduce the symptoms without further intervention.
When should you seek treatment for hyperhidrosis?
There is no ideal time to seek treatment for hyperhidrosis. Each individual will have their own experience with the symptoms of hyperhidrosis and the degree to which it impacts their daily activities. Trialing over the counter products is usually the first step. Additionally, reviewing your medications and supplements with your medical provider can be beneficial. When these modalities fail, consultation with a provider is usually needed.
Why should you seek treatment for hyperhidrosis?
If you’re tired of dealing with inappropriate and undesirable perspiring, then seeking professional assistance can be a liberating experience. Imagine not having to worry about staying dry! Keep in mind discussing your symptoms with your medical provider is a good first step to see if there is an easily correctable cause (like a medication or supplement), and to rule out an underlying medical condition.
Professional Hyperhidrosis Treatments
- Sweat Gland Removal Surgery+
- Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy+
At-Home Hyperhidrosis Treatments
At the end of the day, hyperhidrosis is really a quality of life issue. Primary hyperhidrosis is genetic, and, therefore, will most likely need intervention to control symptoms. Secondary hyperhidrosis should be evaluated by your medical provider to determine if changes can be made to alleviate the underlying cause. Regardless, stop dealing with annoying and excessive sweating and consult with a professional to determine the best treatment option for you.