Hyperhidrosis (or, more commonly, excessive perspiration) describes a condition of abnormally excessive sweating, which can affect the entire body or only specific areas. Most commonly these are the axilla (armpits) or palms. Severe localized hyperhidrosis can impact the quality of your life, requiring frequent clothing changes and causing significant stress and/or impairment in social or work situations. In most cases, the cause is not known.
What are the treatment options for hyperhidrosis?
Options for treatment of localized hyperhidrosis vary depending on the area to be treated. Our doctors will discuss options in order to determine which is best for you. These may include medication, surgery or Botox.
- Medications: Aluminum Chloride (Drysol®) liquid is effective for some people. It is available by prescription and is applied topically from one to several times per day.
- Botox: Although temporary, BOTOX® has been used successfully in the control of excessive sweating of the underarms. Results can last anywhere from four to eight months after a single session, after which “top up” injections are required. BOTOX® works by blocking the nervous system stimulation of the sweat glands. It is directly injected into the skin in the area that is sweating excessively. After a few days, significant and often dramatic reduction in sweating is seen in many patients. The duration of effect lasts on average four to eight months, but some patients get up to a year of reduced sweating from an injection.
- Surgery: Surgery, another option in the long term control of hyperhidrosis, reportedly varies in its effectiveness. These procedures are appropriate if other less invasive options have not been effective and include surgical destruction of skin and or nerves that supply the sweat glands in the axillae (armpits). Our physicians will discuss whether this surgery is appropriate and likely to be helpful to you.
Who Gets Hyperhidrosis?
It is estimated that approximately 1% of adults suffer from hyperhidrosis. Typically excessive sweating begins in childhood or early adolescence and increases in severity through puberty and into adulthood, affecting men and women in equal numbers. In many patients, the symptoms are mild, and not socially disabling. Only rarely does hyperhidrosis disappear on its own.
What are common kinds of Hyperhidrosis?
Palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty palms) is the most common form of the condition, and the most socially disturbing. Sufferers often begin to fear situations requiring hand contact, which impacts their ability to interact effectively in the work place and can have devastating effects on social interaction.
Plantar hyperhidrosis (soles of feet), axillary (armpits) hyperhidrosis or facial blushing can occur separately, or along with other forms of the disease. The different combinations of symptoms can vary among individuals.