Hyperhidrosis is a common medical ailment in which a person sweat extremely and unpredictably. Persons with hyperhidrosis can sweat even when they are resting or the weather is cold.
In general, sweating is perfectly natural. People usually sweat more when the weather is really warm, when they exercise, or in response to situations which make them afraid, angry, nervous, or embarrassed.
Hyperhidrosis appears without such triggers. People with this condition usually have overactive sweat glands. The overwhelming sweating can lead to major discomfort, both emotional and physical.
When excessive sweating affects the feet, armpits, and hands, it’s called focal or primary hyperhidrosis.
Causes of Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
In most cases, there is no cause for excessive sweating. It seems to run in the family. Numerous reasons that could shove the body to sweat in excess can include:
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Excess weight
- Anxiety disorder
- Health failure
- Heart or lung disease
- Alcohol abuse
- Parkinson’s disease
- Over-the-counter medications
- Respiratory problems
- Injury in the spinal cord
Symptoms of Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
The main symptom of excessive sweating is wetness. Various signs and symptoms that can make out that the individual is suffering from this condition, include:
- Moist and wet palms and soles
- Discoloration of the affected area
- Visible sweating that drenches the clothes
- Maceration of the skin
- Cracking and scaling of the skin
- Foot odor
4 Steps to Control Hyperhidrosis
While you are trying out various antiperspirants, or whatever another remedy your doctor recommends, you may also incorporate some of the following at-home solutions in order to reduce sweating.
- Do not wear heavy clothes
Heavy clothes can trap sweat. As an alternative, wear light and breathable fabrics such as silk and cotton. Take an extra shirt with you when you know you will be exercising or outside in the heat. You should also wear extra socks (made of polypro or merino wool) that wick moisture away from them.
- Shower every day
Bathe or shower every day and use antibacterial soap in order to control the bacteria which can inhibit the sweaty skin and cause odor. Dry yourself entirely afterward, and before applying any antiperspirant.
- Use underarm liners
You can use shoe inserts and underarm liners to absorb sweat so it does not start to smell or ruin your clothes.
- Avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and hot drinks
Think twice before ordering a margarita and a double jalapeno burrito at your favorite restaurant. Try to avoid alcohol, hot drinks (like tea or coffee), and spicy foods because they can make you sweat.
Common Medical Treatments
Excessive sweating could be medically controlled with strong antiperspirants that plug the sweat ducts. Certain products that contain 10-20% aluminum chloride hexahydrate are the main treatments for underarm sweating. Aluminum chloride in large doses can damage clothing, and antiperspirants may cause skin irritation.
Note: Deodorants cannot prevent sweating, but they can reduce body odor.
Medications can help stimulate the sweat glands. Drugs are usually prescribed for some types of hyperhidrosis as extreme sweating of the face. However, they can have side effects and aren’t right for everyone.
Botox (Botulinum toxin type A) is used to heal severe underarm sweating, a condition known as primary axillary hyperhidrosis. Botox injected into the underarm briefly block the nerves which stimulate perspiring. Side effects include flu-like symptoms and injection site pain. Botulinum toxin used for sweating of the palms may cause minor, but temporary weakness and really intense pain.
- Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS)
In severe cases, sympathectomy (a minimally-invasive surgical procedure) could be recommended when other treatments don’t work. The process cuts a nerve, repelling the signal that tells the body to sweat overly. This is often done on people whose palms sweat more heavily than usual. Moreover, it can also be used to treat extreme sweating on the face. This procedure doesn’t work as well for people with excessive armpit sweating.
This method uses electricity to temporarily repel the sweat gland. It’s most effective remedy for sweating of the feet and hands. The feet or hands are placed into water, and then a mild current of electricity is passed through it. This electricity is slowly increased until the individual feels a light tingling sensation. Iontophoresis lasts about 10 – 20 minutes and involves several sessions. Although very rare, side effects include blisters and skin cracking.
- Underarm surgery
This is a surgical procedure to remove the sweat glands in the armpits. Techniques used include curettage (scraping), laser, liposuction, or excision (cutting). These processes are done with local anesthesia.
Hyperhidrosis is usually a long-term condition, but some people experience an improvement with time by using simple methods that can help them reduce the symptoms. These simple treatments can often keep the issue under control. If this does not help, you may be advised to try medical treatments as iontophoresis, botulinum toxin injections, and even surgery in a few serious cases. Antiperspirants can irritate the skin, and aluminum chloride in large doses can damage clothing. Therefore, many people try alternatives as natural remedies.