Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, affects almost 3% of the population of the U.S. People who experience hyperhidrosis have excessive sweat production on areas of the body such as the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, underarms or forehead. It is said (by us?) that a gray tee shirt is the arch nemesis of someone with excessive sweating; since they are nearly always sweating enough to show through a gray shirt. One of the most common questions our patients with hyperhidrosis ask us is ‘Will I ever be able to wear a gray tee shirt?’
Hyperhidrosis develops most frequently in young adulthood and the specific reason some people develop it and others do not is still unknown; it is thought that genetics play a large role. Patients with this condition sweat in conditions like anyone else – stress, warm weather, emotional situations or exercise….but they also may experience sweating randomly, when they’re not doing anything to cause sweating. On top of that, they produce waaaaay more than the usual person and those with clinical hyperhidrosis find that they will soak through their t-shirts in just a few hours, they may not want to shake hands because their palms are always sweaty, etc. Those who suffer from hyperhidrosis also have other skin conditions that occur secondarily, such as odor and skin infection.
Patient with hyperhidrosis can be significantly affected in their day to day lives because of this condition.
There are many treatments available for hyperhidrosis including over the counter treatments as well as prescription medications and in-office treatments.
– Antiperspirants with the designation of “clinical strength” can be used to help decrease the amount of perspiration. They can be applied to underarms, forehead, hands, feet and anywhere patients experience excessive sweating. Certain-Dri is a great brand to check out; it can be purchased at any any drugstore and we have found it works the best of the OTC options.
– Botox® injections can block chemicals in the body from stimulating the sweat glands. The medicine is injected directly into the area of excessive sweating through a series of tiny injections. Results from this treatment last 6 months or longer. This is our favorite of the hyperhidrosis treatments; it barely hurts and brings excessive sweating down to ‘normal levels’ (even better usually!) after a single treatment.
– Iontophoresis is a treatment that can be used at home to decrease sweating. The way it works is by immersing your hands or feet in a pan of regular tap water and then allowing a medical device to send a low-voltage current through the water. The electric current stops the sweat glands in the treated area from producing perspiration. This time-consuming treatment has fallen out of favor in recent years, making way for faster and easier treatments with better results.
-MiraDry is one of the newer options for treating hyperhidrosis. This device uses microwave energy to destroy sweat glands in areas of excessive sweating. It is approved for treatment of the underarms and usually delivers permanent results after one to two treatments.
– Oral prescription medications can also be used to stop excessive sweating. These ‘anti-cholinergic’ medications are only available by prescription and should only be taken under the supervision of your medical provider