Suffer from Excessive Sweating? You Can Possibly Suffer from Hyperhidrosis; Here are Their Treatments!

Sweating may be good for your health but excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis can be deeply embarrassing. While most people produce about a liter of sweat each day, those with hyperhidrosis typically produce 400 per cent more. Nearly 60 million American suffer from hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis is caused by problems with the eccrine sweat glands, which are found almost all over the body, with higher concentrations in the armpits, feet and palms. They secrete a fluid that is mainly water and salt. With hyperhidrosis the eccrine glands go into overdrive.

There may be a hormonal link as many patients find sweating starts becoming a problem in their late teens or early 20s, after puberty. Although linked to the eccrine glands, hyperhidrosis can also lead to the kind of malodorous sweat associated with the apocrine glands – this is because of the stress of the condition as well as the excess water spreading the smell around the skin.

Generalized hyperhidrosis – sweating all over – can be caused by an underlying health problem, such as diabetes, an over-active thyroid gland, heart problems, and the menopause, so it’s vital to rule these out. GPs are sympathetic, but there isn’t a lot they can prescribe apart from tablets and strong deodorants. A lot of people with hyperhidrosis suffer in silence, not realizing treatment is out there. But there are options. A new treatment, miraDry, was noted to make a difference straight away. The problems seized to exist since and the smell goes away.

Here we look at various treatment options – and their pros and cons.

Botox: Injections of Botox (Botulinum toxin) can help by blocking the nerve messages that stimulate sweat production.

Best for: Armpits
Pros: Very effective on armpits.
Cons: In the hands, it can stop muscles working properly so you can’t hold pens or pick things up – even potentially weakening muscles permanently. Repeat treatments can be costly – a full dose (for about six months) costs $800 to $1,000. Some people can develop a resistance to it, developing antibodies which attack the toxin, so it stops working. Rarely it can cause infection of deeper layers of skin and underlying tissue.

Anticholinergic drugs: are used for an overactive bladder but can also help with sweating.

Best for: Sweating all over
Pros: Effective at relieving sweating, but often do not completely end the problem.
Cons: Side-effects such as dry mouth, extreme thirst, drowsiness, urinary retention, raised body temperature and constipation.

Endoscopic Transthoracic Sympathetica (ETS)Surgery to cut nerves in the sympathetic nervous system on the back wall of the chest.

Best for: Hands, face and armpits with severe cases
Pros: Usually permanent results.

Cons: Other parts of the body can sweat more than before – 15 per cent of patients get massive sweats in the back, groin and feet later in life. Like any surgery, though, there are potential risks.

Beta-blockers: Block the action of hormones such as adrenaline, which can otherwise trigger sweating.

Best for: Sweating all over
Pros: Can be taken if needed in anticipation of a stressful situation, and can work well for generalized hyperhidrosis.
Cons: Unsuitable for those with asthma and other respiratory problems as they block receptors that keep airways relaxed. They can cause impotence because adrenaline is linked to erectile function.

Best for: Hands and feet
Pros: Can be done at home and cheaper than other treatments because you just buy the machine – they cost $300 to $500. Low risk.
Cons: The effects only last up to a week, so the procedure has to be repeated frequently.

Retrodermal curettage: This keyhole surgery involves scraping away 0.5mm of the inner layer of the skin, where most large sweat glands are positioned.

Best for: Armpits
Pros: A modified version, sub-dermal laser ablation, uses a laser to remove the sweat glands then seals the skin layer, which reduces the risk of the sweat glands growing back.
Cons: The sweat glands can grow back because skin ducts they were attached to are in place. Not suitable for the hands and feet where sensation is needed, because scraping away the glands removes nerves and can leave scars.

MiraDry: Uses high-energy radio-waves to generate heat to destroy the sweat glands in the skin.

Best for: Armpits
P
ros: Clinical trials show it reduces sweating by an average of 82 per cent, and sweat glands don’t grow back.
Cons: It’s new, so it’s early to tell how effective it will be. Only available at four clinics: two in London UK, and in Sutton Coldfield and Cardiff – patients pay $4,000 for treatment (and usually need two). Armpits may be sore and swollen for weeks afterwards.

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