Normally, sweating helps cool the body to prevent overheating. When sweating is so excessive that it disrupts normal daily life and causes anxiety, it is likely hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that causes abnormal excessive sweating unrelated to external heat or exercise. It can affect the palms, feet, underarms, groin and/or head. Most people sweat in only one or two areas, but the sweating is so intense that it may soak through clothing and drip off your hands. People affected with hyperhidrosis may sweat even when they are cold.
Excessive sweating can cause a person to lose confidence, become self-conscious, create performance anxiety, panic, depression, social avoidance, and low self-esteem.
People with these symptoms may suggest you have primary focal hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis suggests the problem is caused by an underlying medical condition. If you have sweating and weight loss, sweating during sleep or with rapid heartbeat or chest pain, it is time to call a doctor.
The cause of primary hyperhidrosis is unclear but heredity plays a role. A family history of hyperhidrosis is an important fact to tell Dr. Pantea Hashemi during your consultation.
Secondary hyperhidrosis can be caused by many conditions including:
Dr. Hashemi will review your medical history and conduct a physical examination. She will ask specific questions about your circumstances to attempt to understand the cause. Medical tests may be ordered to identify any underlying causes.
Prescription strength Antiperspirants are considered the first line of treatment for excessive sweating of the underarms, hands, and feet. They are the least invasive treatment option for hyperhidrosis and Dr. Hashemi often recommends that they be tried first before other more invasive treatments.
Qbrexza is a new topical medication that can be used for excess armpit sweating in patients 9 years of age and older. The medication is supplied on a cloth that is wiped under each arm once daily. Qbrexza works on the sweat glands directly to decrease sweating. Dry mouth, skin redness in the treated area, burning and stinging are potential side effects. However, this drug is contraindicated in some patients with specific medical conditions. Dr. Hashemi will assess whether this treatment is appropriate on an individual basis.
Botox and Dysport are two excellent methods for controlling hyperhidrosis in the underarms. Additionally, studies suggest it may be effective for other areas where excessive sweating is a problem. They work by temporarily blocking the chemical signals from the nerves that tell sweat glands to produce sweat. Treatment effects appear in four or five days and lasts up to six to eight months. Retreatment is safe, but temporary muscle weakness may be experienced when used to treat the hands.
This is an option for excessive sweating of the hands or feet. It involves the use of a special medical device that delivers a low-voltage electric current into water and soaking the hands of feet in the water to turn off the sweat glands. It is used several times a week and provides relief. It does have side effects so discuss this option with Dr. Hashemi.
Hyperhidrosis effects all ethnicities and ages. For many people, hyperhidrosis begins during puberty. It makes no difference whether you live in a cold climate or a warm, you can still experience hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis doesn’t need to negatively impact your life. Dr. Pantea Hashemi looks forward to discussing treatment options with you at her office at the University Skin Institute in Sacramento, CA.