Hyperhidrosis in hands
Ever notice how your hands get sweaty more often than other people? While sweating is considered to be a normal and needed body function, there is such a thing as excessive sweating treatment in melbourne.
The exact cause of primary hyperhidrosis is not known. The symptoms of this disorder develop due to overactivity of certain sweat glands, and attacks may be precipitated by social and/or physical stress. Even if stress can be identified as the precipitating cause, the disorder does not appear to be the result of a psychiatric disturbance.
Hyperhidrosis and normal sweating
Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that can affect the entire body but often occurs in the palms, which is called palmar hyperhidrosis. Extra sweating in the hands is normal when one is anxious or has a fever. However, when the condition is excessively chronic, it may be hyperhidrosis.
In most cases, hyperhidrosis is a benign problem with no clear cause.
Sometimes it can be a sign of other medical problems such as thyroid problems, low blood sugar, or nervous system disorders. These conditions should be ruled out before treating hyperhidrosis. This is why it is highly crucial to always seek professional advice.
The sweating may affect the whole of your body, or it may only affect certain areas. Commonly affected areas include the:
- palms of your hands
- soles of your feet
- face and chest
Both sides of the body are usually affected equally – for example, both feet or both hands.
The sweating doesn’t usually pose a serious threat to your health, but it can be embarrassing and distressing. It can also have a negative impact on your quality of life and may lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
What is excessive sweating?
There are no guidelines to determine what “normal” sweating is. But if you feel you sweat too much and your sweating has started to interfere with your everyday daily life, you may have hyperhidrosis.
There are common telltale signs which determine if what you experience is normal sweating or hyperhidrosis.
- You avoid physical contact, such as shaking hands, because you feel self-conscious about your sweaty hands
- You don’t take part in activities, such as dancing or exercise, for fear they will make your sweating worse
- Excessive sweating is interfering with your job.
- You’re having problems with normal daily activities, such as driving
- You’re spending a significant amount of time coping with sweating, like frequently showering and changing your clothes
- You become socially withdrawn and self-conscious
The symptoms of primary hyperhidrosis typically begin during childhood or puberty and may often, although not always, persist throughout a person’s life.
Affected individuals may experience a heightened reaction to certain stimuli that can cause sweating such as anxiety, pain, exercise, tension, caffeine, and/or nicotine.
Extreme sweating may occasionally occur all over the body (generalized) or it may be localized in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet (palmar-plantar hyperhidrosis); the underarm area (axilla); the groin; and under the breasts.
Sweaty palms and soles
When the palms and soles are involved, the skin may develop an abnormal pink or bluish-white appearance. The skin may also become unusually soft (macerated), cracked, or scaly, particularly on the feet.
After ruling out other medical causes, hyperhidrosis is diagnosed with a physical exam and a detailed evaluation of the signs and symptoms. The diagnosis is usually made by a doctor. This is why before you ever look for a possible solution,it is imperative to seek medical advice from a licensed doctor who has enough experience with this condition.
How is hyperhidrosis in hands treated?
Treatment for mild hyperhidrosis involves topical and oral treatments such as prescription-strength antiperspirants, methenamine solution applications to the area, and oral anticholinergic medicines.
For moderate and severe cases, surgical treatment may be recommended as a last resort. It is a minimally invasive procedure called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, or ETS surgery. This procedure interrupts the sympathetic nerve pathways that lead to the sweat glands and can eliminate excess sweating from the hands.
Medical treatments for primary hyperhidrosis should be tried before any decision on surgical treatment is made. Among medical treatments that may be effective in mild or moderate cases are:
- Antiperspirants. People who have mild to moderate primary hyperhidrosis of the palms and soles may find the use of antiperspirants to be effective to some degree. Some physicians recommend an aluminum chloride solution 2 to 3 times per week. Wearing cotton socks and canvas shoes and avoiding wool or leather may be of some help as well. The application of medicated powder, formulated to hamper bacterial growth and absorb moisture, may be beneficial in some cases.
- Iontophoresis. The process involves palms and soles immersed in an appropriate electrolyte solution where a low-intensity electric current (15-18 mA) produced by a DC generator is applied. Treatments last for about 20 minutes and take place regularly several times per week. It has been found effective in some patients with light or moderate disease, but some patients complain of the time taken for treatment and/or expense.
- Oral medication. Mind-altering (psychotropic) drugs, as well as anticholinergic drugs, have been tested but the side effects usually prove too severe.
- Low-dosage botulinum toxin. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved botulinum toxin (Anti Wrinkle Injection) as a treatment for primary axillary hyperhidrosis. Used in extremely low dosages, Anti Wrinkle Injection injections interfere sufficiently with the action of the chemical nerve impulse transmitter, acetylcholine, which carries the information from one nerve cell to another, to bring some relief from primary hyperhidrosis. The treatment is expensive and must be repeated at regular intervals. Its effects usually last for six months.
- Surgical treatment. For intractable primary hyperhidrosis, surgery may be the treatment of last resort. In general, there are two or three procedures, such as:
- Excision of the axillary sweat glands – In cases of axillary hyperhidrosis that are unresponsive to medical treatments, surgery to remove the sweat glands from the armpits may be tried. Scarring may occur subsequent to the procedure, especially if the sweat glands removed were located in the area of the axilla beyond the hairy portion. This procedure does little to reduce sweating in areas other than the armpits.
- Sympathectomy – The nerves controlling the activity of the sweat glands are part of the sympathetic nervous system that, in turn, is part of the larger system over which people have little or no control, the autonomous nervous system. A surgical procedure that interrupts or redirects the activity of these nerves, such as those dealing with sweating, is called a sympathectomy. In cases of extreme hyperhidrosis, sympathectomy by one or another of several surgical techniques may be selected by the patient. The results of sympathectomy may affect a wide range of sweat glands.
- Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS). In contrast to the open surgery of the past, ETS requires only two or three small, quarter- to half-inch incisions through which a small telescope and TV camera is passed to locate appropriate nerves and to direct the surgeon’s actions. The surgery is performed under general anesthetic and requires the deflation and re-inflation of the lung on each side of the body.
Patients should be aware of the risks of any surgery using general anesthesia. In addition, however, there are side effects of ETS that should be considered. In 50% to 60% of cases, compensatory sweating occurs. The body, in an attempt to make up for the loss of sweating capacity as a result of the surgery, tries to compensate and augment heat-losses by increasing sweating in other locations. In most cases, this is merely a nuisance, but in 5 to 10% of cases, compensatory sweating can be extremely uncomfortable.
In summary, hyperhidrosis should not bother you if you’re diagnosed with it. There are many available treatment options you can choose from, although they would all depend on what triggers your sweating problem.
At Skin Club, we always recommend initial consultations before going into any procedure. This process allows us to get to the root of the problem and help you solve it depending on your unique case. This way, we ensure your satisfaction and provide you with your desired results.