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Remedy for Excessive Sweating

by Brad McHargue
  • Overview

    Excessive sweating, known clinically as hyperhidrosis, is a condition that typically affects the flat surfaces of the hands and feet and under the arms. Although the condition is generally not serious, it can be a source of great concern for many, especially in social or intimate settings. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options, ranging from medications to surgery.
  • Causes and Symptoms

    There are two types of hyperhidrosis: focal and general. Focal hyperhidrosis typically occurs on the hands, feet and underarms, and there is no specific cause; General hyperhidrosis can occur all over the body and typically has an underlying cause, especially if it begins suddenly. Symptoms of hyperhidrosis include sweating to the point where it is noticeable through clothing; uncomfortable and excessive sweating under the arms, head, face and feet; and a clammy feeling accompanied with the formation of droplets of water on the hands and feet. If any of these symptoms occur suddenly, interrupt your day-to-day activities or if you experience night sweats, consult with your primary care physician immediately.
  • Medical Treatment

    There are a number of ways through which a doctor may treat your hyperhidrosis. Medications may include a prescription-strength deodorant containing aluminum chloride and anticholinergic drugs. Aluminum chloride deodorant should be applied at night, though it may cause red, itchy and inflamed skin. Anticholinergic drugs such as glycopyrrolate work by hindering the function of acetylcholine, which stimulates the sweat glands. Unfortunately, they can cause a number of side effects such as dizziness, dry mouth and blurry vision, among others. Another possible method of treating excessive sweating is iontophoresis, which involves the delivery of a weak electrical current to the affected areas while submerged in water. This blocks the sweat glands and is a treatment that can be accomplished at home. Botox injections can help prevent the nerves responsible for triggering sweat glands, though this may need to be done several times and only lasts approximately four months. In severe cases, surgery may be performed to either remove the sweat glands or cut the nerves that carry the signals to the sweat glands. This latter procedure is called an endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy and only takes about one day to perform and to recover. It is typically used to cure sweaty palms, and while the effects are immediate, increased sweating in other parts of the body may occur.
  • Lifestyle and Home Treatment

    To alleviate excessive sweating and to reduce associated body odor, a number of measures may be implemented at home. In addition to using anti-perspirant on the underarms, hands and feet, taking regular baths and ensuring you are completely dry after each bath can be of great help. Use powders to help soak up the moisture. In addition, always wearing clean socks and airing out the feet is a great way to prevent the build-up of moisture on the feet, as is rotating your shoes daily so they have time to dry out. Wear loose fitting clothing to allow room for your skin to breath, and try and attempt relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga.

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