Excessive sweating, also called hyperhidrosis, is an abnormal amount of sweat involving the extremities, underarms, and face that is unrelated to body temperature or exercise. People who have excessive sweating may sweat to the point that moisture may drip from their hands.
What Causes Excessive Sweating?
When your body is overheated, when you’re moving around, when you’re feeling emotional, or due to hormones, nerves activate the sweat glands. When those nerves overreact, it causes hyperhidrosis. For instance, someone may only need to think of a situation that causes anxiety to break out in a sweat. Excessive sweating can also be genetic, people with abnormally large sweat glands or can also be caused by certain medications, metabolic disorders, and hormone changes during menopause or pregnancy.
What Are The Types of Excessive Sweating?
There are two types of excessive sweating, and they are:
- Primary hyperhidrosis is sweating in the hands, underarms, face, and feet without any apparent reason.
- Secondary Hyperhidrosis is sweating all over the body or in a larger body area. It can be caused by excessive heat and a medical condition or medication.
How to Treat Excessive Sweating
The easiest way to help with excessive sweating is with an antiperspirant, which most people use daily. Antiperspirants are not only for your underarms; you can also apply them to other areas where you sweat, like your hands and feet. Don’t just use your antiperspirant in the morning; apply it at night before bed to help keep you drier. If antiperspirants don’t work, there are medical treatments that can help, like:
- Iontophoresis is a treatment where you sit with your hands or feet in a water tray for 20-30 minutes while a low electrical current travels through the water. This is to help block sweat from getting to your skin’s surface. This treatment will need to be repeated a few times a week.
- Botulinum toxin is another treatment option where injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) are injected. This helps prevent the release of a chemical signal the sweat glands activate.
- Anticholinergic drugs are oral prescription medicines that stop the activation of the sweat glands. However, this isn’t for everyone as it has side effects like blurred vision, heart palpitations, dry eyes, dry mouth, and difficulty peeing.
- MiraDry System is a procedure performed in the doctor’s office that uses thermal energy that targets and eliminates your armpit’s sweat and odor glands.
- Surgery is only recommended for people with severe hyperhidrosis who failed to respond to the other treatments. The doctor may cut, scrape, or suction out the sweat glands during surgery. Another surgical option is endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy which the doctor makes a small incision and cuts the nerves of your armpit that would usually activate the sweat glands.