What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a condition of excessive sweating. This sweating can happen at any time, be it in temperate weather conditions or without any incitement at all. Excessive sweating can also be caused by health conditions such as cancer, infectious diseases, menopause, or hyperthyroidism.
Hyperhidrosis can make one so uncomfortable. However, there are numerous treatment options and management that help provide relief.
Types of Hyperhidrosis
Sweating is a natural stimulus to some conditions such as warm weather, physical activities, stress, and several feelings such as fear, anxiety, or anger. In the case of hyperhidrosis, one tends to sweat more than usual for no reason at all. The underlying cause of why you sweat depends on the type of hyperhidrosis you have.
Types of Hyperhidrosis include:
Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis:
Sweating majorly happens on the feet, hands, face, head, and underarms. It begins right from childhood. A rough estimate of 30-50% of people with this type of hyperhidrosis condition has a family history of sweating more than usual.
Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis:
This condition type is caused by an underlying medical condition or a side effect of some kind of medication. It generally begins during the adulthood stage. This type tends to make one sweat all over the body, not just in a particular area. One also sweats even while asleep.
Conditions that could cause this type of hyperhidrosis include:
- Lung disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Spinal cord injuries
- Infectious diseases like tuberculosis and Genital Herpes
Other causes include:
Different kinds of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can as well cause hyperhidrosis. Most times, sweating is an uncommon side effect that many people don’t have.
Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis
Symptoms of excessive sweating include:
- excessive sweating that started when one was much below the age of 25.
- Not sweating during sleep.
- Sweat that happens on both sides of the body.
- Family history or record of hyperhidrosis condition.
- Sweating that disturbs one’s daily activities.
- Occurrences of excessive sweating at least once a week.
These factors could point to you having primary focal hyperhidrosis. A visit to the clinic could be helpful for a more precise diagnosis.
Sweating all over the body or intensely in one area could be an indication of secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. It’s very vital one visits the doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Diagnosis of Hyperhidrosis
Certain questions could be asked about your sweating, such as:
- When it usually happens
- Where it normally occurs (affected area(s)).
A good number of tests such as blood and urine tests will also be carried out on you to determine if you have hyperhidrosis. Most doctors diagnose primary hyperhidrosis based on one’s family history and physical examination.
There are several other tests that can prove if the diagnosis is accurate, but they’re not routinely given on a daily basis.
Other tests that can be conducted include:
A starch-iodine test: This test involves putting iodine on the sweaty part of the body. Afterward, starch is then sprinkled on the area when the iodine dries up. You have excess sweating when the starch turns dark blue.
A paper test: This involves putting a special type of paper on the sweaty area. The paper is then weighed after your sweat is absorbed. A heavier weight indicates you have sweated more than usual.
Thermoregulatory test: This is similar to the starch-iodine test; it uses a special powder that’s very sensitive to moisture. The special powder changes color in areas or regions where there’s intense sweating.
Treatment Options for Hyperhidrosis
An antiperspirant might be prescribed by your doctor that contains Aluminum Chloride. This antiperspirant is way much stronger than those over the counter antiperspirants and is mostly used to treat mild cases of hyperhidrosis.
This treatment uses a device that transmits electrical currents at a low-level while immersed in water. The currents are most times sent to the hands, feet, or armpits to temporarily obstruct the sweat glands from proper functioning.
Anticholinergic drugs help give relief for the type of sweating that affects all body parts. . Acetylcholine is a chemical the body produces that helps induce the sweat glands.
These drugs take up to two weeks before it takes effect and may lead to side effects like constipation and dizziness.
Botox (Botulinum Toxin):
Botox injections can also be used in the treatment of severe cases of hyperhidrosis. They function by blocking the nerves that help stimulate the sweat glands. One needs to take as many injections as possible before this treatment becomes effective.
If you only sweat in your armpit region, surgery could be an option in the treatment of your condition. It requires the removal of the sweat glands located in the armpits.
Excessive sweating can be taken care of at home by:
· Changing socks worn as often as possible
· Bathing more than once daily to eliminate micro-organisms.
· Application of antiperspirants on the affected area(s).
· Allowing air on the feet most times.
· Wearing shoes and socks taken and made from natural materials.
When to See a Doctor:
Excessive sweating can be a symptom of very severe complications.
Visit the clinic to consult a doctor if you experience:
· Prolonged sweating
· Sweating while asleep most times
· Sweating accompanied with loss of weight
· Sweating that happens alongside fever, chest pain, shortness of breath, and a fast heartbeat
· Sweating with a feeling of pressure at the chest region.
Note that primary focal hyperhidrosis is a condition that can be treated. Managing the symptoms will be much easier if you consult a doctor to help with a treatment plan.
Treatments for secondary generalized hyperhidrosis hugely depend on the underlying health condition that causes sweating. Ensure you talk to your doctor if you think why you sweat excessively is a side effect of a medication you take. Your doctor will determine the possibility of you switching medications or decreasing your dosage use.
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