Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)
Sweating is necessary to help cool the body and prevents us from overheating. However, hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating is a medical condition that occurs when a person sweats more than is necessary. People affected by hyperhidrosis sweat when the body does not need cooling. Unfortunately, affected people are too embarrassed to see a doctor about this condition. Luckily, this is a treatable medical condition.
People who have hyperhidrosis may drip sweat from one or two areas of the body: the soles of the feet or palms of the hands, underarms or head, however the rest of the body remains dry. The amount of perspiration may interfere with everyday activities: something as simple as turning a doorknob or using a computer maybe problematic, social interactions maybe awkward since clothing maybe come drenched or even shaking hands maybe embarrassing.
Signs and Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis
There are two types of hyperhidrosis: primary and secondary. Both cause excessive sweating however in primary hyperhidrosis the cause is unknown, there is usually a family member with a similar problem, the sweating effects the previously stated areas of the body, usually the person does not sweat when they are sleeping, and the problem began when the person was a child or adolescent. Secondary hyperhidrosis is the result of another medical condition or medication that causes the whole body to sweat, even while sleeping, and begins in adulthood.
- Sweat when you are not exerting yourself?
- Have beads of sweat on your skin or have sweat-soaked clothing?
- Sweat and it interferes with simple everyday activities?
- Because of excessive sweating, does moisture build up and cause your skin to turn soft, white, and peel in affected areas?
Either way, hyperhidrosis can cause people anxiety and embarrassment. Some people may avoid dating and shaking hands, and require some to carry a change of clothing. Students often avoid raising their hand during class. Adults may hide the sweat stains by wearing layers of clothing or changing their clothes frequently throughout the day.
Diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosing a patient involves obtaining a thorough history and physical examination. Occasionally a sweat test is necessary; this requires applying a powder to the skin and watching for a color change when the powder gets wet.
Therapy depends on the type of hyperhidrosis and where the excessive sweating occurs on the body.
- Antiperspirants can be applied to the armpits, hairline, palms of the hand and soles of the feet. Side effects may include burning sensation, irritated skin. Effectiveness and duration will vary between patients.
- Botox injections works by temporarily blocking a chemical that stimulates sweat glands to produce perspiration. Most patients notice results 5-7 days after receiving treatment. The effects usually last about six months, and treatments can be repeated as often as necessary. The most common side effect is temporary muscle weakness when the hands are treated.
When other treatments fail to provide relief, surgery may be considered. Surgery is permanent but it carries higher risks. These procedures involve removal of the sweat glands or a sympathectomy, removing the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands to produce perspiration.
All surgical procedures carry some risk including bleeding, infection, scarring and not having any effect.
At Elite Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, we understand how problematic and embarrassing excessive sweating maybe. Dr. Dee, a board-certified plastic surgeon in San Antonio, will examine you and help you obtain relief.