Increased sweating is one of the most annoying problems during summers. It is an embarrassing situation for many patients who have increased sweating. Here are the few frequently asked questions about hyperhidrosis.
Ans- Hyperhidrosis means excessive sweating. It can be localised or generalised affecting the whole body. A treatment which reduces sweating is called an antiperspirant. This is different from a deodorant, which reduces odour, usually through an antibacterial effect. The two are often combined in the same product.
Ans - Localised symmetrical hyperhidrosis is the most common type of hyperhidrosis, this affects certain body sites (localised), and both sides equally (symmetrical). The palms, soles, under arm skin, face and scalp, or a combination of these, can be affected. The cause is not known. It often begins in the teens, and tends to improve slowly as you get older. This type of hyperhidrosis is also called focal or primary hyperhidrosis.
Generalised hyperhidrosis (affecting the whole body) can be caused by some illnesses including infections, and by hormonal conditions including the menopause, diabetes and an overactive thyroid gland. This type of hyperhidrosis is called secondary hyperhidrosis. Some medicines can also cause excessive sweating, including fluoxetine (Prozac) and similar antidepressants. Sometimes no cause can be found.
Ans - Hyperhidrosis is rarely a feature of some rare inherited conditions. There is a trend for the common localised symmetrical type to run in families and up to a third of sufferers may have a family member with the condition.
Ans- Visible sweat ,wet clothes and a clammy handshake interfering with work and personal relationships are one of the few lesions requiring treatment. Some people find hand sweating produces problems writing on paper. Hyperhidrosis affects the water-producing (“eccrine”) sweat glands, and not the “apocrine” sweat glands which produce the more oily type of sweat which causes odour, especially under the arms. Therefore bad odour is not a direct result of hyperhidrosis; however, if sweaty feet get soggy inside shoes, overgrowth of harmless skin bacteria can cause a bad smell.
Ans- Your dermatologist Dr. Divya will assess which kind of hyperhidrosis you have and prescribe you the necessary tests.
Ans - When there is an underlying cause which can be treated (secondary hyperhidrosis) the hyperhidrosis can be cured. Surgical treatment can help some people, but is often associated with side effects so may not be recommended. Otherwise, the aim is to control the condition.
Ans- Most people suffering from hyperhidrosis will have tried commercial antiperspirants. If these fail, and if the sweating is bad enough to interfere with your work or social activities, you should ask your Dermatologist for advice. The Dermatologist Dr. Divya Sharma will assess whether there might be an underlying cause, and may start treatment.
a)Localised hyperhidrosis Aluminium chloride is the usual active ingredient in commercially available antiperspirants. Stronger preparations of aluminium chloride can be prescribed for excessive sweating, and are mostly used under the arms but can be used on the hands and feet. They should be applied twice daily for best effect. However, sore red skin is a common problem.
b) Formalin solutions harden the skin and can block the tubes leading from sweat glands to the skin surface. They are suitable only for the soles of the feet.
c)Solutions of the anticholinergic drug glycopyrrolate can reduce sweating in localised areas such as the scalp and forehead.
d) Iontophoresis is a method of passing a small electric current through areas of skin immersed in a dish of water. It is used for the armpits, palms and soles. This treatment is often helpful and is without side effects. The treatment, needs to be done regularly, lasts 10-20 minutes.
e)Botulinum toxin derived from bacteria (one brand name is “Botox”) can be injected into the skin in very small carefully controlled doses to block the action of the nerves which activate the sweat glands. The effect usually lasts 2-6 months, although some patients may continue to benefit for 12 months, and the treatment can be repeated. Botulinum toxin is most
f)Sympathectomy and surgical treatment.