If you’ve always been bothered by your sweaty hands and feet, you may want to ask your doctor for some medical advice. While there’s a chance that it’s normal, you should not just overlook the fact that it could need medical attention.
To some people, sweating profusely could be caused by stress, anxiety, or hormonal imbalance. To another set of people, it may be a case of hyperhidrosis.
Otherwise healthy people with excessive sweating have primary hyperhidrosis. Heat and emotions may trigger hyperhidrosis in some, but many who suffer from hyperhidrosis perspire nearly all the time, regardless of their mood or the weather.
Causes of hyperhidrosis
Generally, the only sign of excessive sweating is the presence of abundant moisture in the anatomical area affected. The presence of this moisture can predispose to skin infections.
It’s normal to sweat if you get hot or do exercise, but you may be sweating excessively if you’re sweating when your body doesn’t need to cool down.
Excessive sweating can happen for no obvious reason, because of another condition you may have or as a side effect of medication you’re taking.
Medications used to treat hyperhidrosis
Aluminum chloride hexahydrate
When regular antiperspirants fail, as they often do, to remedy hyperhidrosis, most doctors start by recommending aluminum chloride hexahydrate. It is a prescription-strength version of aluminum chloride.
Applied just before bedtime seven to 10 nights in a row, then roughly once a week as a maintenance medication. The aluminum salts in this preparation collect in the sweat ducts of the patient and block them.
Over time, the excessive perspiration may diminish to such an extent that no further treatment is needed. This method works reasonably well for many patients whose problem is excessive underarm sweating, but it’s not satisfactory for most of those with clammy palms and sweating of the soles of the feet.
Oral anticholinergic drugs such as glycopyrrolate (Robinul), oxybutynin, and propantheline bromide can be quite effective for this condition, but they can produce side effects like dry mouth, insomnia, and blurred vision. The dosage should be titrated carefully.
Remember to be careful about these medications and never take them unless you have sought professional advice from a licensed doctor.
Anti Wrinkle Injection
Botulinum toxin (Anti Wrinkle Injection), a known muscle poison commonly used as a cosmetic treatment for wrinkles, has actually been used in many areas of medicine for some time. It has proven to be an effective treatment of muscle spasms and certain types of headaches. Its latest medical use is for treating excessive underarm sweating.
It is injected into tissues of the armpit or hand. It works by inhibiting the release of acetylcholine, which is the chemical that activates sweat glands. This may produce approximately six months of relief from sweating. The injections are uncomfortable, but the use of a very small needle minimizes discomfort.
Surgery for hyperhidrosis
In extreme conditions when medications do not help with sweating, doctors may advise surgery.
- Localized axillary hyperhidrosis has been treated by surgical removal of a substantial portion of axillary skin. Another approach is the use of liposuction curettage, although how this effectively damages the dermal sweat glands is hard to visualize.
- Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) refers to the surgical interruption of the sympathetic nerves responsible for sweating. Sympathectomy is an operation intended to destroy part of the nerve supply to the sweat glands in the skin. This works by inserting a special endoscopic instrument into the chest between two ribs just below the armpit. The lung is briefly deflated to better visualize and destroy the nerves. This procedure is both effective and risky. Even with newer endoscopic techniques, complications of the procedure can include compensatory, excessive sweating in other parts of the body as well as lung and nerve problems. As many of these complications are serious and not reversible, this option is rarely used, and then only as a last resort.
Treating hyperhidrosis requires you to go to a reputable clinic with licensed doctors who have ample experience in related conditions. At Skin Club, we provide treatments for excessive sweating only after we know where the problem comes from. This is why we highly encourage our patients to go through initial consultations as we get to the root cause of the problem. This way, we can provide the best treatment possible and meet your expectations as well.