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Hyperhidrosis Q & A

Posted on: 17th November 2016

Q: I seem to sweat a lot and find it terribly embarrassing and I can’t wear certain tops because of it. What is this condition called and is there any treatment I take have/take to help?

A: Excessive sweating or medically known as Hyperhidrosis is a common condition in which a person sweats excessively.

The sweating may affect the whole of your body or only affect certain areas.Commonly affected areas are armpits,palms of your hands, sole of feet and your face.

Both sides of the body are usually affected and can be embarrassing and distressing.

Causes for this condition are thought to be a result of a problem with a part of the nervous system that controls sweating.  This is known as primary hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis that does have an identifiable cause is known as secondary hyperhidrosis. This can have many different triggers including pregnancy,anxiety,certain medications and low blood sugar  and an over active thyroid gland.

It can be treated in a number of different ways. Powerful antiperspirants can help. Antiperspirants containing aluminium chloride is often used to treat hyperhidrosis. This works by plugging the sweat glands. It is normally applied at night and washes off in the morning.

Lifestyle changes include wearing loose and light clothes,avoiding triggers like spicy foods and alcohol that could make sweating worse. Wearing white or black clothing can also help minimise the signs of sweating.

There are other treatments that are available to treat this condition. These include Anticholinergics. These work by blocking the affects of a chemical called acetylcholine,which the nervous system uses to activate the sweat glands.

Iontophoresis may help if you have excessive sweating that affects your hands and feet. It can also be used to treat the armpits although this is usually less effective. It involves treating affected areas of skin with a weak electric current passed through water or a wet pad. This is thought to help block the sweat glands.

There are other treatments out there that also include Botulinum Toxin injections into the armpits which have been proven to be successful though the effects are short lived and require re treatment. The results can last upto 6 months. It involves marking out the armpit areas that require treatment and then injecting small doses of Botulinum toxin in a grid like pattern  into the armpits.

This blocks the transmission of nerves that supply the sweat glands. Perspiration normally diminishes with 48 hours and effects last for approximately 6 months. The treatment is then repeated at this stage.

There are a number of treatments that are also available that include severing/clipping the nerves that control sweating. This is normally performed under General Anaesthetic though it carries a higher risk of complications.

Hyperhidrosis is common. It is estimated to affect between 1-3 people every 100 in the UK.

It can develop at any age although primary hyperhidrosis typically starts during childhood or soon after puberty. Though embarrassing, there are a number of treatments available to help sufferers of this condition.

Skin SouthWest Mediclinic offer Botulinum Toxin injections to help with this condition. Prices are £400.

Contact 01392 426285 for an appointment.

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