What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a condition characterized by excessive sweating that goes beyond what is necessary to regulate body temperature. It affects approximately 3% of the population and can significantly impact quality of life.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis:
- Primary hyperhidrosis: This type of hyperhidrosis is not caused by an underlying medical condition and affects specific areas of the body such as the palms, soles of the feet, and underarms. The exact cause of primary hyperhidrosis is not known, but it is thought to be related to overactive sweat glands.
- Secondary hyperhidrosis: This type of hyperhidrosis is caused by an underlying medical condition such as menopause, hyperthyroidism, or certain medications. It can affect the entire body and may be accompanied by other symptoms.
Symptoms of hyperhidrosis include excessive sweating that occurs even in cool or comfortable environments, sweat that soaks through clothing, and skin that is constantly wet or clammy. In addition to the physical symptoms, hyperhidrosis can also lead to social anxiety and embarrassment, as well as skin irritation and infections.
Diagnosis of hyperhidrosis typically involves a physical exam and medical history, as well as tests to rule out underlying medical conditions. Treatment for hyperhidrosis may include:
- Antiperspirants: Over-the-counter antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride may be effective in reducing sweating. Prescription-strength antiperspirants may also be recommended.
- Medications: Oral medications such as anticholinergics may be prescribed to help reduce sweating. However, these medications can have side effects such as dry mouth and constipation.
- Botox injections: Botox injections can be used to temporarily paralyze sweat glands and reduce sweating. However, the effects are temporary and repeated treatments are necessary.
- Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to remove sweat glands or to cut the nerves that control sweating. However, these procedures can have risks and side effects and should only be considered as a last resort.
In addition to these treatments, lifestyle changes such as wearing breathable clothing, avoiding triggers that may worsen sweating, and practicing stress-reducing techniques may also be helpful in managing hyperhidrosis.
Overall, hyperhidrosis is a condition characterized by excessive sweating that can significantly impact quality of life. Diagnosis typically involves a physical exam and medical history, and treatment may include antiperspirants, medications, Botox injections, or surgery. Lifestyle changes may also be helpful in managing symptoms. If you are experiencing excessive sweating, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.