What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a disorder in which individuals sweat more than the body needs to maintain optimal body temperature. It is usually characterized as excessive sweating of the under arms (axillary hyperhidrosis), and palms (palmar hyperhidrosis) and soles of feet (plantar hyperhidrosis). Underarm problems tend to start in late adolescence while palms and soles can start as early as 13 years of age.
Excessive sweating affects around 3% of the population, and can be embarrassing as it has the potential to affect work productivity, confidence, and social and emotional well-being.
To help you understand the impact underarm sweating has on your daily activities, answer the following questions. My underarm sweating is:
- Never noticeable and never interferes with my daily activities.
- Tolerable but sometimes interferes with my daily activities
- Barely tolerable and frequently interferes with my daily activities.
- Intolerable and always interferes with my daily activities.
This is known as the Hyperhidrosis Disease Severity Scale (HDSS). Using this scale, as well as a thorough exam and medical history, Dr. Singh will diagnose whether or not you have hyperhidrosis. Once a diagnosis is made, he will then discuss all the appropriate treatment options with you.
Hyperhidrosis Treatment Options
- Prescription-strength antiperspirants, which contain aluminum chloride hexahydrate (Drysol) applied 2-3 times per week.
- Neuromodulator* (nerve toxin), which temporarily paralyzes the muscle, is often used for cosmetic wrinkles, and is now approved for excessive sweating of the underarms.
- Over the counter antiperspirants, which contain low dose metal salt, can be tried as a first effort because it’s readily available.
- Surgery is only recommended for people with severe hyperhidrosis that hasn’t responded to other treatments. During surgery, the doctor may cut, scrape or suction out the sweat glands.
What Causes Hyperhidrosis?
Normally sweat glands produce perspiration that is carried to the skin’s surface. Hyperhidrosis causes an excessive amount to be produced.
- Hyperhidrosis (Canadian Dermatology Association)
- Hyperhidrosis (Wikipedia)
- Excessive Sweating Basics, Causes… (Mayo Clinic)