With that word cropping up often so far, let’s examine what hyperhidrosis really is. It is basically a genetic condition that causes an abnormal amount of sweating in the hands, feet, face, armpits or serious blushing that is also more than expected. It can affect your relationships, your working life and pretty much all areas that you used to enjoy. A dent in confidence is pretty much guaranteed if you are a sufferer of hyperhidrosis, no matter what type of your body it’s present in. It is caused by the hyperactive sympathetic nervous system, it can affect a combination of any the mentioned areas. People with hyperhidrosis often feel alone and like nobody understands their condition even though there are many who suffer from it around the world.
Types of Hyperhidrosis:
Primary hyperhidrosis basically means to sweat excessively in a particular area of the body. Whether the sweating is focused on the scalp, face,, hands, feet or underarms – it’s a problem that most find utterly embarrassing. If you have hyperhidrosis, you might also suffer from an intense facial blush. Facial blush usually is combined with hand sweating but not always. You might find that unaware/rude comments are often made to you in regards to your condition. People don’t really understand how severe hyperhidrosis is, if they haven’t suffered from it and might say things like “Why don’t you try showering more often?” or “It’s only sweat!” Due to such comments, the condition could lead to something quite worse for you including anxiety disorder and not wanting to leave the house.
Hyperhidrosis is nothing to do with the way that you take care of yourself, it’s a genetic condition that is uncontrollable and embarrassing. You can start to see symptoms of excessive sweating during any stage in your life, from childhood to well past your fifties. You might only experience hyperhidrosis in one of the mentioned areas of your body or all of them. Any combination of them can occur but the most likely are hands and feet sweating. You can dry off the sweat on your body as much as you like but it will come back almost immediately! The underarms will become wet and sweaty, the hands and feet will get clammy and the face will get hot and greasy. You can learn more about such symptoms on UnderArmSweat.com. Your face could turn bright red which can evoke further responses and questioning from your friends and family, with many assuming that you are sick. Getting your primary hyperhidrosis sorted out means that you can get rid of such responses and better yet, your excessive sweating will be gone for good!
This is basically generalized excessive body sweating. These are many possible causes of this including hyperthyroidism, autoimmune disorders, malignancy or chronic infections. If you suffer from excessive sweating and seek medical help, a thyroid test will usually be offered to you to rule out that as being the issue and if it is the problem – it can be dealt with. Unfortunately, a sympathectomy will not work with this particular condition.
Hand sweating (or palmar hyperhidrosis) can occur on its own or in conjunction with the other types of hyperhidrosis that have been mentioned. The most common combinations is for the hands and feet to be sweating at the same time. This is usually caused by an overstimulation of the sweat glands and it can be quite severe. Many sufferers of hand sweating get so wet, that sweat drips onto the floor wherever they go. One patient actually demonstrated being able to fill up a cup with the amount of sweat from her hands alone! The temperature doesn’t even need to be hot for this kind of sweating to occur, in fact it can happen in the coldest of temperatures. Another symptom of palmar hyperhidrosis is a discoloration or cold and clammy hands. The constant moisture of the hands can cause newspaper prints to stick on their skin and edges of books to turn up! Tingling in the hands is also a common occurrence with this type of sweating and it’s an involuntary effect that can not be controlled.
There is usually a link between hyperhidrosis and anxiety, even if the patients themselves don’t realize it. It can be quite a vicious cycle because anxiety increases your sweating and increased sweating worsens your anxiety! The situation can have quite an emotional effect which is why it’s important to seek the right treatment method for you.
As mentioned previously, those who suffer from hyperhidrosis will do all they can to hide their problem from others. This is due to embarrassment or the fear that their condition will not be understood. One young lady who suffered from excessive sweating used to go to some measures to hide her sweaty hands during job interviews. She would rub her hands on her tires before going inside and would tell the interviewers, she had to change a flat tire and shouldn’t shake their hands as they were dirty. It is amazing what inventive stories patients can come up with, in an attempt to save their pride.
An updated method of treatment of hand sweating means that there are less side effects and it’s safer for patients. The new ESB procedure spares the 2nd sympathetic nerve and just applies clamps to the 4th and 5th nerves. This carefully amended treatment means that your face and head will still sweat as normal during hot environments and when you exercise. This new procedure reduces side effects and also doesn’t leave you feeling as “bone dry” that you would if all the nerves were treated.
This is when the underarms sweat excessively and spontaneously, it’s much more than what somebody might experience when they visit the gym for example. If you suffer from axillary hyperhidrosis, you might find that sweat drips down your sides and even onto your chest – which can be messy, smelly and not to mention embarrassing if you are out in public. Clothes will be stained easily and usually gets ruined as a result. Patients might find themselves going through a lot of attire and only being able to wear certain fabrics. Unfortunately not even deodorant helps with axillary hyperhidrosis in terms of odor or the quantity of sweat, it may even be resistant to certain kinds of treatment which is most unnerving. You may suffer from axillary hyperhidrosis on its own or you might also have facial, hand, scalp or feet sweating as an accompaniment.
Anxiety usually increases this kind of hyperhidrosis but it also happens spontaneously and it’s pretty much out of your control no matter what frame of mind you are in. The genetic condition to sweat excessively is actually pretty common but treatment CAN turn your life around. A woman in Taiwan who had treatment to fix her hyperhidrosis is the perfect example of this. She was a 34 year old woman who was a partner in a successful accounting firm. She suffered from axillary hyperhidrosis in addition to hand and feet sweating. A particularly emotional moment came just a week after treatment when she was sat on the examination table wearing a beautiful floral silk dress. She started to cry and when asked why she answered that it was the first time she was able to wear such attire. Due to her sweating, she was unable to wear silk and the fact that she now could, brought her to cry with joy. The dress was a treasured wedding gift from her mother and she could now wear it with pride thanks to the fairly straightforward hyperhidrosis operation she had.
Over stimulation of the sweat glands in the feet by the sympathetic nervous system results in excessive sweating in the feet, otherwise known as pedal hyperhidrosis. Both the thoracic and lumbar sympathetic nerve chains stimulates sweating in the feet unlike the other types of hyperhidrosis. It has been shown that 60% of patients who receive treatment for pedal hyperhidrosis, will get dryer feet overall which most see as an advantage. For women, it’s also recommended that the lumbar nerves be disconnected in order to get rid of pedal hyperhidrosis completely. Men shouldn’t have this because it is known to cause impotence or lead to retrograde ejaculation. If a woman has a lumbar sympathectomy, it can result in incontinence. If the procedure is done in conjunction with ETS, it can result in a lower blood pressure.
When deciding what treatment method is right for your hyperhidrosis, the pros and cons really need to be weighed up. Making the correct choice will mean that you can finally tackle your excessive sweating and boost your confidence as a result!
Related article: best socks for sweaty feet
Facial Blush And Facial Hyperhidrosis
This might sound quite an obvious type of sweating based on the name of it and it is, but there’s actually quite a complex and psychological reason behind sweating of the face. Blushing of the face is caused by the nervous system being emotionally stimulated and can strike when you are feeling either shy or embarrassed. It’s involuntary and some patients who have this condition are actually born with the enhanced stimuli to blush more than what one would consider a normal amount.
Physiologic blushing usually occurs in special circumstances but can like with anything, be more common in some patients than others. You will find that your face goes even brighter red than a regular “blush” and it also takes longer to go away. Just before the blushing itself happens, you will feel an increased sense of heat in your face as an indicator of what is to come. This can be both a blessing and a curse, you know the blushing is coming but there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it. The blushing usually starts on the cheeks but can then spread to the forehead, neck and ears.
What triggers the blushing can be internal or external and often it’s something that you cannot even identify. A patient might be alone and doing something totally mundane when this occurs, through no fault of their own. People who suffer from excessive facial blushing can be left embarrassed and in extreme cases, too nervous to go out in public due to the fear that everyone is noticing and laughing at their problem. Facial blushing can sometimes even lead to social phobia or social anxiety which can be very debilitating and might require therapy.The majority of patients with excessive facial blushing are also prone to hyperhidrosis in their hands, which usually happens in conjunction with each other.
Facial hyperhidrosis (or facial sweating) can happen with or without facial blushing. An increase in temperature and also humidity is what stimulates this condition. Facial sweating affects both men and women and will usually strike the entire scalp and facial area! Even some boring daily activities that do not use up a lot of energy, will make sufferers be soaked with sweat to an uncomfortable level for them and those around them. I have found that most women who have this condition, will wear their hair short and not put on a lot of makeup just to minimize the result of the hyperhidrosis. Who wants to walk around with soaking wet hair and an array of bright colors running down their face? Wearing towels around their necks is not uncommon either, for both genders! It can be quite difficult to explain this condition to people who have never experienced it, which can leave sufferers feeling sad, frustrated and alone.
After learning all you have so far, you are probably wondering what is the most effective method of treatment for facial blushing and excessive sweating? The answer is the application of titanium clamps across the 2nd sympathetic nerve. This is a really simple procedure that usually takes around 15 minutes, plus most people who get this done will only need to stay in hospital for around 2-4 hours! This treatment route will get rid of the issue completely in facial blushing 90% of the time and in facial sweating an impressive 98% of the time!
The stigma associated with hyperhidrosis is real and often instead of talking about what they are going through, sufferers will hide their hands by putting them behind their back or hiding them in their sleeves. Some people will “camouflage” their condition by doing something like holding a cold drink before they shakes hands with people, so they have an excuse as to why their hands are damp. They will often avoid conversations with those they are close to altogether, which may result in them losing friends.
Although hyperhidrosis is a very clear condition and it’s fairly easy to diagnose, no two patients are the same and no two patients go through the same treatment. Everybody copes with excessive sweating in their own way but EVERYONE who have hyperhidrosis is frustrated and suffers a lack in confidence due to the condition. Hyperhidrosis is a genetic condition and usually pretty random in terms of who it strikes. Patients often blame themselves in some way for the things they have to go through but it is not their fault. It can also be hard to talk to family and/or friends about your excessive sweating, it’s often a very lonely thing to go through but it’s important you know that you are not alone.
There have been so many psychological studies on people who suffer from hyperhidrosis and with some interesting results. Patients will sweat excessively even when they are home alone, not stressed and not doing anything strenuous. It’s possible to concentrate and make the stopping start but it’s impossible to stop it. There is no mental reason behind hyperhidrosis, the person doesn’t have to have anxiety or anything like that. It’s a genetic disorder that you are born with, even babies with hyperhidrosis can have sweaty hands and feet when they are really young!
You might not want to talk about your excessive sweating to others but it is really useful to do so. They will likely not fully understand what you are going through even after you explain the condition but it still helps to get that weight off your shoulders. People might say the wrong things but it’s not because they mean to, they just haven’t gone through hyperhidrosis for themselves. Not only will talking about the condition help you cope with the condition, it will raise awareness of hyperhidrosis and awareness is never a bad thing! If you struggle to talk to friends/family at first, at least talk to a doctor because they will be able to point you in the right direction in terms of treatment.
Treatment for hyperhidrosis
There are several popular treatment methods for mild to moderate cases of excessive sweating/blushing. Some of these include drysol, drionics or oral medications. These methods however are not usually effective in more severe cases of hyperhidrosis – for this, Endoscopic Sympathetic Blockade (otherwise known as Sympathectomy or ESB) is the best method to go down. It’s a procedure where a particular nerve (the Sympathetic nerve) will be cut, it’s an irreversible operation but one that really works. Titanium clamps are placed on the particular nerve that controls sweating and blushing. There used to be a side effect to this operation which was severe compensatory sweating but due to an update, this potential side effect has been almost eliminated. The procedure itself takes just 15 minutes and requires just a few hours hospital stay in the hospital. Most people will have the operation on a Friday and return to work on the Monday, which is a possibility for you too if you are considering this treatment method. The majority of insurance companies will allow this procedure because it is not done for cosmetic reasons.
Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Hyperhidrosis
Many people are too nervous to have an operation for their excessive sweating or they just want an idea of what else is available. It is recommended that clients try all they can to cure their condition before they go down the surgical route of EBS (the details of which can be found above). A few of these non-surgical treatments for hyperhidrosis can be found below.
Drysol is a medication that can be obtained from your physician and it is usually the first line of treatment that patients go through. It is especially effective with hyperhidrosis of the hands, feet and armpits. The medication will be applied to the skin in this treatment method and it is left in the specified area for 6 – 8 hours. It’s important that the skin is dry during application otherwise skin irritation might occur. After the Drysol is applied, you must wait 24 – 48 hours until you shave the treated area. It should be applied at night time and removed in the morning. It’s important that the application is done thoroughly and the instructions are followed to a tee, to help prevent any skin irritation which does happen in some cases. Some dermatologists will recommend that after application, the patient wraps the area in plastic wrap, which is said to enhance results and reduce side effects. Using Drysol as a viable treatment method is usually recommended to those who have a mild to moderate case of hyperhidrosis and a recent study showed that is worked in 64 out of 65 patients! Although the short term results of Drysol are quite pleasing to many, the long term results are not as appealing. Many people see this treatment as a failure due to the skin irritation that around 50% of patients experience afterwards. Another study proved that in the long term, it did not control hyperhidrosis in 26 out of 38 patients.
Tanning Agents (Gluataraldehyde) – This is most common in those who have excessive sweating in their feet. It can be obtained from a chemical company and although it generally works, there again are many side effects that are a downfall. This product will be applied to the bottom of the feet and this should be done 2-4 days a week – it’s worth noting that it will turn your feet very brown however! Feet can also become more sensitive over time after using this treatment but it can be beneficial at the same time.
Iontophoresis – This instrument is a machine where your hands and feet can be placed, in order to get rid of your hyperhidrosis. Your hands and feet would be placed into a pan of water inside the machine, electrode pads are applied and a 20ma current is used for treatment. This is not painful and has little known side effects unlike the other methods that have been mentioned. Frequent treatments on an iontophoresis machine such as the Dermadry device will be necessary however, not just one.
Biofeedback – Biofeedback is a type of treatment that is known to reduce hyperhidrosis. The success rate is unknown as there has not been much research done of this particular method of treatment but anything is worth a try, right?
Psychotherapy – If hyperhidrosis is something you’ve been suffering with for a while and it’s been affecting you emotionally, psychotherapy can help you to deal with this. Therapy can help if you are dealing with excessive blushing or sweating and it’s even been known to reduce it in some cases. It can help you figure out the stimuli that triggers attacks in you as an individual, which will possibly reduce your hyperhidrosis but will definitely help you deal with it. Yes, you will likely still have excessive sweating after psychotherapy but you can have it in conjunction with ETS or another treatment method, to help you deal with the mental aspects of the condition that you have had to deal with.
Glycopyrrolate (Robinul) – Robinul being administered to patients using an IV drip is often used by anesthesiologists before general anesthesia to stop secretions from the mouth but the medication can also work with those who suffer from hyperhidrosis. It helps to dry the entire body and it mostly works with patients who have strong emotional triggers connected to their sweating. Patients can use this method prior to doing something such as giving a presentation or going for a job interview. A side effect of this treatment method is “dry mouth” and it should generally be avoided in hot environments when you naturally should be sweating.
Propranolol (Indural) – If you suffer from hyperhidrosis that is primarily triggered by stress, then this could be the right treatment method for you. Inderal is medication that should be taken before particularly stressful moments in your life to help lessen your excessive blushing/sweating. Musicians who have to move around a lot on stage have been known to take this to help reduce the amount that they sweat. It works by balancing out emotional and mechanical tremors in the body and it’s not known to have any bad side effects.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication – These type of medications might help hyperhidrosis but the side effects need to be considered because antidepressants are definitely not for everyone. You should only take these if they are administered by a qualified physician who know what they are talking about and who they are dealing with. Antidepressants help you deal with the consequences of hyperhidrosis rather than eliminating it completely, just like with the previously mentioned psychotherapy.
Propantheline Bromide (Pro-Banthine). Pro-Banthine is usually a drug that is used to treat high blood pressure, although it can be effective for patients suffering from hyperhidrosis. Although this is usually a safe medication, it again should only be administered under the care of a physician that you trust.
www.odaban.com is a website definitely worth visiting, it’s helped so many people suffering from foot and severe underarm sweating.
If you have underarm sweating and struggle buying clothes, the following two websites have some great clothes for everyone including those with hyperhidrosis. They are available at reasonable prices, they are stylish and perfect for you – www.comfywear.com and www.stopsweat.com.
Now that you know even more about hyperhidrosis and the different treatment methods available, you can take the necessary steps to do what is right for you. When your excessive sweating has gone – you will be able to wear whatever you want and you will feel much more confidence about the skin you are in. Seek treatment today and you will not regret it!