Sweating is part of the body’s natural functions, which serves many useful purposes (yes, really!). It keeps your body cool and prevents you from overheating like a car. For people with hyperhidrosis, however, sweating occurs even when the body does not need cooling. Sufferers tend to sweat excessively and uncontrollably from their palms, face, feet and underarms, and in some instances the person’s clothes may soak through. This excessive sweating can interfere with everyday activities, and has physical, emotional, psychological and social impacts on sufferers.
Triggers of Excessive Sweating
Often, excessive sweating has no underlying cause. It is simply a case of hyper‑activity in the sweat glands, whereby the nerves which normally work to trigger the sweat glands when the body needs cooling become overactive, and call for more sweat when it is not needed. When people with hyperhidrosis find themselves in stressful situations or are nervous or anxious, the problem is further exacerbated. It is also thought that genetics may play a part, as having a family history of excessive sweating may predispose a person to having it.
Options for Treatment of Excessive Sweating
The treatment most commonly prescribed for excessive sweating is the use of prescription-strength antiperspirants on the affected areas, including palms. Oral medications which block communication among nerves can also reduce sweating in some people, but these cause side effects like dry mouth, blurred vision and bladder problems.
Where symptoms are severe, your dermatologist may suggest having the overactive sweat glands removed. This can be done through surgery or through a non-invasive, but effective treatment known as miraDry, which uses electromagnetic energy to eliminate the sweat glands in the underarms. miraDry cannot be used to treat excessive sweating in other parts of the body like the face and palms because the procedure is created for the specific characteristic of the underarm. Treatments which can be used for other parts include Botox or surgical removal of the sweat glands in those parts.
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