By Dr. David Mosmuller
Description of hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating
Perspiring is a normal bodily function that helps regulate the body temperature. People usually perspire when temperature runs high, during or directly after physical labour or as a reaction to emotions like nervousness, anger, shame or fear. Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that can occur as a reaction to normal triggers and may even occur spontaneously.
The abnormal amount of sweat and the typical smell can turn everyday activities into embarrassing actions and can influence your social life in a very negative way. 1 in approximately 100 people suffers from hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating.
The causes of excessive sweating
Excessive sweating can either affect the whole body or one or more specific areas, especially the armpits, the face, the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet. Once the causes are treated well the excessive perspiring will end soon after. If these or other specific areas of the body are affected it is called primary hyperhidrosis. The causes of this type of hyperhidrosis often remain unclear, but genetic determination can play a part in it.
Secondary hyperhidrosis usually affects the entire body, and is often caused by an illness. Once this illness is treated appropriately the excessive perspiring will end soon after. Well known causes are hyperactivity of the thyroid gland, various infections or diabetes. In some cases hyperhidrosis occurs as a side effect of medication.
Symptoms of hyperhidrosis and excessive perspiring
As I said before hyperhidrosis is basically a form of excessive perspiration. As a result of this your clothes may be damp most of the time, your armpits and palms may be sweaty, which can make writing difficult and shaking hands embarrassing.
This also goes for the smell, especially when the armpits or the soles are affected, even though both types of sweat are odourless at first. But bacteria on the skin will convert the sweat into aromatic fatty acids, that have the well-known characteristic odour.
The diagnosis of hyperhidrosis and excessive perspiring
Tests and additional examination is hardly ever necessary to come to the diagnosis hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating. But your physciacian may suggest it when he believes the cause to be some underlying disease.
Ways to treat hyperhidrosis
Aluminium chloride can help reduce the production of excessive sweat. This liquid can be used directly on the affected areas and works for about 48 hours. It has one major side effect; the skin of treated area is likely to show irritation and clothes may be damaged.
Some pills can also help reduce excessive sweating. Their effects are bases on anti-choliergics reduce the production of sweat glands by blocking nerve impulses to treated glands. Unfortunately anti-choliergics have many side effects: dry mouth, dizziness, beef‐wittedness and obstipation.
Iontophoresis is a treatment that uses water to conduct a mild electrical current through the surface of the skin until a slight tingling is felt. This treatment takes between 10 and 20 minutes and needs to be repeated regularly. Nowadays Iontophoresis devices for home use are also available. The effects of Iontophoresis generally lasts for about three days.
Treatment of excessive sweating with Botox®
At Injectable Klinieken we treat excessive sweating with Botox® . This treatment consists of just a few injections but has already proven to be highly effective; it reduces excessive sweating by 95 per cent. And since the treatment is local at no time your body’s temperature regulation is in danger. As I said, the treatment consists of a series of subcutaneous injections, for instance in the armpits. And since most people hardly experience any discomfort they feel it requires no anaesthetic. If, for whatever reason you would feel more comfortable with some form of local anaesthetic your physician can use a special adhesive plaster. After about two days you will notice a reduction of your excessive sweating.
Your Botox® treatment is non-permanent. The duration of the treatment’s effects vary, but you can realistically expect them to last for 6 months, after which period you can repeat it without any risks or side effects.
If none of the treatments I described here proves effective you may consider surgical solutions that reduce excessive sweating.
Would you like personal advice on how to treat your excessive sweating? Then do not hesitate any longer. Simply book your first consultation with one of our specialized physicians.