As much as it gets a bad rep, sweating is an essential and normal process for humans. Its function is to control your body’s temperature during a hot day or exercise session. Sweat does this by releasing water from millions of glands. When this water evaporates, it cools your body. Just like any human function, however, too much or even too little sweat can signal that there’s something wrong with your body.
If you sweat excessively even if the temperature doesn’t call for it or you’re not doing anything physically demanding, you may have hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis exceeds normal sweating, causing you to soak your clothes and hands. The main problem this creates is discomfort and possible embarrassment when you’re in public. Excessive sweating intensifies body odor. Sweat contains protein, which the bacteria on your skin breaks down and excretes easily. It can also lead to serious complications, like:
- Skin infections – Excessive sweat can cause the skin to break down slightly, making it easy for bacteria to enter and infect it. Conditions related to this include warts and sweat rashes.
- Fungal infections – Sweat can also be a breeding ground for fungus, causing a variety of infections. These include jock itch, which occurs on the groin and athlete’s foot, which often starts in the middle of the toes.;
The Two Types of Hyperhidrosis
There are two types of hyperhidrosis. The most common one is primary focal hyperhidrosis. This happens when your excessive sweating isn’t caused by another medical condition. It happens to specific areas of your body. Both the left and right sides of your body are often affected by this type. The most common points of your body for primary focal hyperhidrosis to occur are your feet, underarms, hands, face and head. People can experience this in more than one area of their body.
People get episodes of primary focal hyperhidrosis at least once every week. Its main cause still hasn’t been fully determined. However, researchers have found that this condition may be inherited. Around 30% of people who have hyperhidrosis have a family history of it.
The second main type of hyperhidrosis is secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. This means it’s caused by other medical conditions or a side-effect of medicine. Unlike primary focal hyperhidrosis, this type causes people to sweat in various, generalized parts of the body.
When it comes to diagnosis, your physician will review your medical history and family medical history. They’ll also do lab tests and swab tests to determine if you have this condition.
How to Deal With Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis is a condition that has a variety of mild to serious complications. It can even be a sign of a more significant medical condition. Here are possible prescriptions and recommendations your doctor may give you to deal with it.
- Antiperspirant – If you aren’t using antiperspirants yet, your doctor may recommend you use it. You can get it from your local drugstore or online shops, likeAmazon. If standard ones aren’t doing the trick, your doctor may recommend prescription antiperspirant. This is stronger because it has aluminum chloride. This is used before bed and must be washed off after you wake up. It’s so strong that it can irritate your skin and eyes if you’re not careful. If your hyperhidrosis occurs mostly on your face and head, your doctor may recommend creams like glycopyrrolate instead.
- Medication – Your physician may also prescribe you nerve-blocking medications. This medicine keeps specific nerves related to sweating from communicating with each other. However, it may come with side-effects like blurred vision and dry mouth. If anxiety triggers your hyperhidrosis, your doctor may also recommend antidepressants to help calm you down and ultimately prevent you from sweating excessively.
- Procedures – If your hyperhidrosis is severe, you may need to undergo procedures like:
1.Botox Injection – Doctors that offer Botox don’t just provide them to keep the face young, they can also administer Botox to temporarily block nerves that lead to sweating. The effect can last up to a year.
2. Nerve surgery – This procedure involves cutting, clamping, or even burning spinal nerves that control sweating in various parts of your body. However, this may trigger excessive sweating in other areas if the surgery goes wrong.
3. Sweat gland removal – This is reserved for people who have excessive sweating in the underarms. This can be done through a traditional surgical procedure, which is invasive. You can also get a minimally-invasive procedure called “suction curettage.” This is an altered version of liposuction.
Hyperhidrosis can affect your social life and your overall health. If you can’t solve it with regular antiperspirants, you need to get help from your doctor. Know your options and weigh them out to see which one is best for your health.