For many, a quick wipe is enough to fix sweaty hands. But for others, relief seems impossible. Furthermore, consistently sweaty hands can cause great emotional and physical distress.
The exact cause is unknown; however, 4 out of 10 patients also have relatives with the problem. The reason patients experience symptoms relates to increased activity of certain nerves that are normally triggered under certain stressful situations such as job interviews, special occasions, or test-taking.
While it could be a normal problem for many people, there is such a medical condition called hyperhidrosis.
What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating treatment that most commonly occurs in the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), axillae or armpit (axillary hyperhidrosis), and feet (plantar hyperhidrosis).
Excessive sweating is typically intermittent. However, it can also be continuous and usually increases with stress and elevated temperature.
Hyperhidrosis is the overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system. This leads to the narrowing of arteries and excessive stimulation of sweat glands. This limits blood flow to the hands, making them cold and clammy.
Why do we sweat?
We often get sweaty palms in stressful situations, when we’re scared or excited. This is because Eccrine sweat glands are highly concentrated in the hands, forehead, and feet. They’re connected to our sympathetic nervous system, which kicks in when we’re stressed.
Some people who have hyperhidrosis, find they only sweat heavily on the palms of their hands. This condition is called palmar hyperhidrosis. It may be present at birth but mostly starts to occur in adolescence. For some people, the problem goes away, while others experience it all their lives.
To know if what we experience is normal or not, it is always best to consult a doctor and ask for professional advice.
Normal sweating Vs Hyperhidrosis
One of the main differences involves the cause of sweating. Under normal conditions, factors like emotional distress, heat, and exercise can lead to regular sweating. On the other hand, excessive perspiration that comes with hyperhidrosis can just happen without any triggers.
There are actually two types of hyperhidrosis: primary and secondary.
Primary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that can’t be chalked up to anything else, such as another health condition or a medication. While the exact cause of primary hyperhidrosis is unknown, there is recent research that suggests the cause could be genetic.
If you experience the following symptoms, you may be suffering from primary hyperhidrosis.
- You sweat in just a few areas of the body, like your forehead, underarms, or palms of your hands and soles of your feet (this is known as palmoplantar hyperhidrosis).
- You sweat on both sides of your body.
- You don’t typically sweat excessively while sleeping.
- You experience an episode of excessive sweating at least once a week.
- You first experienced this level of sweating in childhood or adolescence.
Available treatments for sweaty hands and feet
Before ever trying any treatment for excessive sweating, always make it a point to consult a licensed doctor. It is imperative to determine the root cause of your problem to be able to properly treat it.
- Topical products Certain Dri and Maxim (OTC) or Drysol (Rx)
- Anticholinergic pills Robinul 1 or 2 mg tablets (two to three times x per day)
- Iontophoresis two to three times per week in the office for ~ 10 treatments
- Anti Wrinkle Injection injection in the office
One of the most recent treatments is an injection of botulinum toxin (Anti Wrinkle Injection®) into the area of excessive sweating. It is a toxin that affects nerve endings and decreases the transmission of the nerve impulses to the sweat glands.
This results in decreased sweating. It generally requires several injections in the palms or underarms and it remains effective from one to six months. Repeated injections are nearly always required to maintain an adequate level of dryness.
Hyperhidrosis in the hands can be severely debilitating, especially in social situations. In the feet, it can be dangerous during activities such as driving and walking.
At Skin Club, we always want to provide you with the best treatment possible! In order to do this, we highly encourage our clients to have initial consultations with our doctors to get to what causes the problem. This is how we align our procedures to your needs and even your aesthetic goals. In addition, this is also how we make sure to deliver your expectations and make you happy with your desired results.