Our bodies will sweat to cool off. Most cases of sweating are when the weather is warm or we are moving excessively such as running or moving when we exercise. When the weather is warm we sweat much more than when it is cool. Patients that suffer from hyperhidrosis are different.
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that occurs when a person sweats terribly and quite often. This medical condition will show a patient sweating excessively and almost unpredictably. Many people will normally sweat when they overheat or moving excessively. Basically patients suffering from the condition of hyperhidrosis will sweat when they are cool or even resting.
What is the cause?
Sweating is triggered by internal or external factors. For an example, we sweat when the weather is hot outside or when we are moving quite a bit such as exercising. We can also trigger internal sweat responses such as if we are afraid or nervous in a situation. Embarrassment can also create a sweating situation. Excessive sweating is defined as sweating without any internal or external triggers occurring.
The cause of hyperhidrosis appears to be over acting sweat glands. There is extreme discomfort with excessive sweating that is both emotional as well as physical.
Different kinds of hyperhidrosis
Excessive sweating that occurs with this condition in the hands, feet and armpits is defined as secondary hyperhidrosis. There are some other conditions that can lead to secondary hyperhidrosis.
- Anxiety disorders
- Some prescription medications
- Substance abuse can also cause secondary hyperhidrosis
- Injury to the spinal cord
- Glucose control disorders
Primary hyperhidrosis will affect other parts of the body and afflicts about 3 percent of the population. However, less than 40% of these patients seek medical intervention for the condition.
Diagnosis is made with observation and your physician will generally ask you more questions about your condition. Laboratory tests can also confirm the condition. Lab tests include starch iodine test and paper test. There is usually several visits to your physician to confirm primary or secondary hyperhidrosis.
Antiperspirant and deodorant-excessive sweating treated with antiperspirants will prevent sweating. Deodorants will cover the bacteria produced by sweating to stop the body odor that can occur. Products that have up to 20% of aluminum chloride hexahydrate will prevent underarm sweating. You can also get a prescription for products that contain more of the aluminum chloride hexahydrate. There are some drawbacks to larger doses of the chemical. Clothing can be damaged and some patients experience skin irritation.
Prescription medications-anticholinergic prescriptions prevent sweat glands from stimulating and producing sweat. An example of this type of prescription is Robinul. There are some major side effects with these types of prescriptions such as dizziness and dry mouth. Patients will also experience problems urinating. Beta blockers or benzodiazepines help patients that have stress related sweating such as thyroid or anxiety disorders.
Botox-Botox is a FDA approved treatment that is used for excessive sweating where the patient will receive the injections in the underarms. The Botox blocks the underarm sweat glands from working to produce sweat. Small doses of Botox is used to temporarily block sweat glands that will give relief to sufferers of primary axillary hyperhidrosis.
Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy-commonly referred to as ETS which is a small invasive surgical procedure and is usually only recommended when all other treatments have failed. The surgery will disconnect the signal the body sends that causes excessive sweating. This is generally performed for patients that sweat in their hands excessively. ETS has not been shown to work well for excessive sweating in the armpits.
The prognosis for those patients seeking medical treatment for excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis is generally good.
Botox-after a few weeks the excessive sweating is generally resolved. One injection of Botox can last several months.
Aluminum chloride-a patient can sometimes need to use it up to seven times a week. Following the control of the excessive sweating, patients only need to use aluminum chloride once every three or four weeks. If patients have a side effect of irritation of the skin, physicians can give steroid based creams to help control the irritation.
If you have excessive sweating you may have hyperhidrosis. Though, a doctor will need to diagnosis your medical condition. Visiting with a physician can also discover if you have an underlying medical condition that will be treated to stop your excessive sweating.