Sweat can be an embarrassing problem, especially for someone who is struggling with hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. It can make you feel uncomfortable and awkward. Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis affects up to 3% of the population and can start as early as childhood or adolescence. But have no fear, there are effective treatment methods to help ease the embarrassment.
Try a stronger antiperspirant
Some of the less severe cases may be treated with an over the counter antiperspirant. Antiperspirants differ from deodorant in that deodorant simply covers up any order from perspiration and does not prevent sweat, while antiperspirants are designed to prevent the body from sweating by using aluminum salts to block the sweat. There are some stronger clinical antiperspirants available over the counter, but if these do not do the trick, your doctor may be able to write a prescription for you.
Contrary to popular belief, antiperspirants are not only designed for use on the underarms. They can be applied to other problem areas as well such as hands, feet and even the hairline. You can apply antiperspirants both in the morning and before you go to bed at night, to help keep you drier while you sleep. A lot of people suffer from heavy night sweats and applying antiperspirant to the problem areas at night can greatly reduce night sweats in most cases. However, a lot of people develop an allergic reaction or sensitivity to antiperspirants, so there are other treatment options available.
Medical Treatments for Excessive Sweating
Iontophoresis is a treatment in which you emerge your hands and/or feet in a shallow pool of water for 20-30 minutes several times a week while a low powered electrical current is passed through the water. This is believed to aid in blocking the sweat glands from producing perspiration. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may only need a few weeks of treatment. If you still have an issue and need additional treatment, you can purchase or rent an Iontophoresis machine and do the treatment at home. Most patients have seen a drastic improvement in just a few months.
Botox injections are another option for hyperhidrosis. Botox has been approved by the FDA for underarm hyperhidrosis, but is also used to treat excessive sweating of the hands and feet. Botox injections at the site of the problem release a chemical that prevents the sweat glands from perspiring. Several injections may be needed initially, but the effects of Botox have been proven to last for close to a year.
Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, or ETS surgery, is a procedure used in severe cases of hyperhidrosis, but does not always work in the case of severe underarm sweating. Rather it is most often performed on those with excessive sweating of the face and hands. During the procedure the surgeon will make tiny incisions and cut the nerves that activate the sweat glands. It is a highly effective treatment but can leave some residual scarring.
If you suffer from excessive sweating, you should make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options. Do not attempt any of the aforementioned treatments without first seeking professional medical advice.