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Are You Suffering from Excess Sweat?

Sweat glands normally produce sweat that goes to your skin's surface when you exercise, the air temperature rises, you develop a fever, or you are nervous, anxious, or stressed. When such factors are not present, the nerves that cause sweating are on hold. However, sweat glands do not shut down in around 1% to 2% of the population who suffer from hyperhidrosis. These people sweat even when the conditions do not warrant it, such as when they are sitting in an air-conditioned room or watching television. Some individuals even sweat in the pool.

Primary hyperhidrosis occurs when there is no underlying medical cause for excessive sweating. It occurs when excessive sweating is not caused by a temperature increase or physical activity. Primary hyperhidrosis could be inherited. Secondary hyperhidrosis occurs when excessive sweating is caused by an underlying medical condition.

Treatments for Hyperhidrosis 

The diagnosis of hyperhidrosis usually begins with your doctor inquiring about your symptoms and medical history. Tests or a physical exam could also be necessary to determine the root cause of your symptoms. Your healthcare provider could recommend blood, urine or other tests to determine whether your sweating is induced by other medical conditions, such as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). 

Hyperhidrosis treatment may begin with treating the underlying condition. If no cause is found, the treatment focuses on reducing excessive sweating. If new self-care habits do not improve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend one or more of these treatments. Even if your sweating subsides after treatment, it is possible that it will return. Therefore, most hyperhidrosis treatments are recurring. The common treatment methods include:

  • Prescription Antiperspirant – Your doctor may prescribe antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride. You apply the antiperspirant before going to bed to dry skin. Then, when you wake up, wash the product off, ensuring you do not get any into your eyes. After a few days of using it daily, you can reduce the frequency to once or two times a week to continue enjoying the effect. This product may irritate the skin and eyes. Consult with your doctor about ways of reducing side effects.
  • Nerve Blocking Medication – Some oral medications or pills block the nerves that cause sweat glands to function. Some people may experience less sweating as a result of this. Dry mouth, bladder issues and blurred vision are all possible side effects.
  • Prescription Creams or Wipes – Prescription creams containing glycopyrrolate could help with facial or head hyperhidrosis. Wipes dipped in glycopyrronium tosylate could help relieve hand, foot, and underarm sweating. Dry mouth and mild skin irritation are possible side effects of prescription creams and wipes.
  • Iontophoresis – This involves soaking your hands or feet in the water as a device passes a mild electric current through the water. The current inhibits the nerves that cause sweating. If you have a prescription from your doctor, you can purchase the device. Soak the affected areas in warm water for 20 to 40 minutes. Continue the treatment 2 to 3 times per week until your sweating subsides. As you continue to improve, you can reduce treatments to about once a week or twice a month. If you experience any side effects, consult your doctor.
  • Sweat Glad Removal – If you only sweat heavily in your armpits, your doctor may advise you to have those sweat glands removed. This can be done through curettage (scraping them away), liposuction (suctioning them out) or using a combination of these two methods.
  • Sympathectomy – This is nerve surgery. The surgeon removes a tiny section of your spinal nerves, which control sweating in the hands. A potential side effect is permanent intense sweating in other parts of your body, known as compensatory sweating. In most cases, surgery is not an option for isolated neck and head sweating. A variant of this procedure is used to treat sweaty palms. It interrupts your nerve signals without cutting the sympathetic nerve reducing the likelihood of compensatory sweating.
  • Botulinum Toxin Injections – Botulinum toxin (Botox) treatment blocks the nerves that activate your sweat glands. Most people do not experience much discomfort during this procedure, but you might want to have your skin numbed before the procedure. Methods used to numb the hands include Topical anesthesia and ice. Several injections will be required for each affected part of your body. It may take several days to see results. Repeat treatments every six months are likely to be required to maintain the effect. Short-term muscle weakness in the treated area is a possible side effect.

Botox was approved in Canada in 2001 for the treatment of underarm hyperhidrosis. Botox® is effective in reducing sweating on any part of your body. The palms, armpits, and soles are among the common treatment areas. The advantages of treatment typically begin within just a few days and last for 6-12 months. Many drug plans cover Botox® treatment for health conditions such as excessive sweating or migraine headaches, and any portion that is not covered is a tax-deductible medical expenditure.

Preparing for Botox Treatment 

First, consult your doctor to ensure that the excessive sweating is not due to an underlying condition such as obesity, menopause, nerve damage, or a metabolic disorder. An overactive thyroid and some medications could sometimes cause generalized excessive sweating. All of these are examples of secondary hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis treatment starts with addressing the underlying condition.

You should also determine whether your sweating is generalized, meaning that it is all over the skin surface or focal, only affecting one area such as your underarms, palms of the hands, soles of your feet, or the face. The majority of people with focal hyperhidrosis have excessive sweating in their underarms.

Plan Ahead  

If you are preparing for a big event, you should plan your budget and schedule so that you give yourself around one month before the big day. This will enable you to reap the benefits of Botox treatment in the weeks before the big event, ensuring that you look your best on D-day. By visiting a dermatologist, you can find a treatment that controls your excessive sweating. 

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