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All about Hyperhidrosis: Causes and Treatment Options

Posted on 9th Nov, 2019

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that causes excessive sweating i.e., people with this condition sweat more than usual. In normal people, sweating cools the body to prevent it from overheating. But for people with hyperhidrosis, sweating occurs even when the body does not need cooling.

Many people with hyperhidrosis sweat from one or two body areas. Often, they sweat from

  • Armpits
  • Palms of their hands
  • Soles of their feet
  • Face and Chest
  • Groin areas

Even though hyperhidrosis is not a serious threat, it disrupts daily activities of people suffering from this condition. Episodes of excessive sweating occur often for no clear reason and affect social life, leading to depression and anxiety.

What Causes Hyperhidrosis

The causes of primary hyperhidrosis are not known whereas secondary hyperhidrosis has a long list of known causes.

Primary Hyperhidrosis:
It occurs due to an unknown problem in the nervous system that is responsible for sweating control. In some cases, genes play a role in causing hyperhidrosis, that is likely to be inherited.

Secondary Hyperhidrosis:
Several medical conditions can cause secondary hyperhidrosis. Some of them are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Heart diseases
  • Obesity
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Overactive thyroid gland (Hyperthyroidism)
  • Medications such as antidepressants, propranolol (for high blood pressure), pilocarpine (for glaucoma), and bethanechol
  • Being under substance
  • Infections such as Malaria, Tuberculosis, and HIV
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Disorders of the blood cells or bone marrow, such as Hodgkin lymphoma (a cancer of the white blood cells)

How to Treat Hyperhidrosis

As people with hyperhidrosis visit the dermatologist, he/she might suggest one of the below treatment options based on their condition and its cause.

Antiperspirants: The doctor may prescribe an antiperspirant with Aluminum Chloride that has to be applied to the affected skin before you going to bed. has a high specificity for fungal enzymes dependent on cytochrome P-450. It was found out that Diflucan is more selective for the enzymes of the cytochrome family. Patients on hemodialysis should receive 100% of the recommended dose after each dialysis session. On the day when dialysis is not performed, patients should receive a reduced (depending on creatinine clearance) dose of the drug.

Iontophoresis: In this treatment, the hands and feet are submerged in a bowl of water. A weak electric current is passed through the water or wet pad, blocking the sweat glands from causing excessive sweat.

Botulinum toxin (Botox injections): These injections block the nerves that trigger the sweat glands. People with hyperhidrosis need several injections for better results.

Anticholinergic drugs: These medications restrain the transmission of parasympathetic nerve impulses. People undertaking them feel improvement in about two weeks.

ETS (Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy): This surgical intervention is recommended in severe cases that have not responded to other treatment options. Here, the nerves that carry messages to the sweat glands are cut, preventing excessive sweating. It is used to treat hyperhidrosis of the face, hands or armpits. However, it is not recommended to treat hyperhidrosis of the feet as it might cause permanent sexual dysfunction.

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