Imagine holding hands with a new love interest but your hand is sopping wet and you feel ashamed and embarrassed. Perhaps, you meet a new business associate in an overly warm room but you know you can’t take off your jacket because the wetness that has drenched the sides of your shirt will be evident to everyone.
For 3% of the population, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) causes a tremendous impact on their emotional and psychological well-being. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments that may help hyperhidrosis as well as additional support for those who have this condition.
Hyperhidrosis develops more often in children, teens and young adults. It occurs primarily in the underarms, hands and feet but can also take place in the face or the total body. Secondary hyperhidrosis may be the result of a side effect of a medical condition or medication. Regardless of cause, treatment for hyperhidrosis proceeds in stages.
First line treatment is with antiperspirants, which come in various strengths and are applied to the parts of the body that have excessive sweating.
1. Drysol is a brand name for aluminum chloride prescription strength antiperspirant that treats excessive sweating. To reduce skin irritation, it can be applied each night and washed off in the morning. Once excessive sweating is under control, it can then be used once or twice a week as needed. It is reported that Drysol is effective 80% of the time.
2. Oral medications can be used as a short term treatment and are thought to reduce stimulation of the sweat glands. However, they can create other side effects so they are only used intermittently.
3. Iontophoresis is a special treatment used for excessive sweating of hands and feet, and is performed by placing them in a water tray with a mild electric current for 20-40 minutes. It is believed iontophoresis acts to thicken the skin making it more resistant to sweating. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is supposed to be 83% effective.
4. Botox injections are used to treat excessive underarm sweating. Botox works by blocking the release of chemicals in the blood responsible for sweating. Botox injections last approximately 6-8 months and 80% of people indicate they have a 50% reduction to their sweating. The downside of Botox are that the injections are expensive, may be painful and sometimes can cause side effects such as sweating in other parts of the body or flu like symptoms.
5. Surgical intervention is done as a last resort as compensatory sweating can occur in other parts of the body.
Medications such as anti-anxiety medications and certain illnesses can cause of hyperhidrosis. An evaluation by a doctor will help determine if medications can be adjusted or if better control of a medical condition will reduce the incidence of excessive sweating.
Hyperhidrosis is not a well-known condition and while it is not a life-threatening problem it can affect the self-esteem and life goals of those who silently deal with this difficulty. With the number of options available to try, it is possible that one or more treatment can address the excessive sweating issues that occur in various parts of your body.
For more information and support:
The International Hyperhidrosis Society at:www.sweathelp.org/English/Index.asp
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s health care and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele can be read at http://www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles