Do you have a closet filled with black clothes to hide the sweat stains? Maybe you’re embarrassed to shake hands or give someone a hug because of your excessive sweating problem. Perhaps you’ve even suffered through a very hot day wearing a blazer or jacket even though it was incredibly uncomfortable just because you didn’t want people to see that you have a sweating problem.
Whether you suffer from sweaty feet, sweaty palms, sweaty underarms, facial sweating or even profuse sweating from your neck, thighs or other body part, excessive sweating is an embarassing, life-limiting condition. Excessive sweating is more than just a pain to deal with. It can cause teasing, fear of socializing, discomfort, ruined clothing, body odor, and so many more problems. Whether you are a teen and have started sweating excessively at the onset of puberty or whether you are an grown adult and suddently find yourself sweating excessively, it is equally embarrassing for all.
The good news is that you are not alone with your sweating problem. Many, many people suffer from excessive sweating, and fortunately, many people have been able to successfully treat their excessive sweating and lead normal, carefree lives.
Causes of Excessive Sweating
Medical Cause of Excessive Sweating
Excessive sweating is known by the medical name “hyperhidrosis”. There are two different types of hyperhidrosis – primary hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis.
In primary hyperhidrosis, the excessive sweating is the medical condition, while in secondary hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating is caused by a medical condition or medication. There are many different conditions and medications that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis, so you should always talk to your doctor to rule out any of those before attempting to treat your excessive sweating on your own.
Typically with primary hyperhidrosis (which is just excessive sweating by itself without an associated medical condition), the sweating is very localized…such as in the armpits, on the palms, on the feet, etc.
When sweating is related to another medical condition in secondary hyperhidrosis, the sweating usually is less localized, meaning that your whole body sweats excessively rather than just a specific part of your body. Additionally, sweating that is related to a different medical condition often happens only at night, which is less common with primary hyperhidrosis.
Keep in mind that these are just general rules of thumb, and again, if you are at all concerned about whether your exessive sweating may be related to an underlying medical condition you should always see your doctor. Some medical conditions that may cause secondary hyperhidrosis are:
- low blood sugar
- drugs and medication
- heart failure
- Parkinson’s disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- chronic arsenic intoxification
- withdrawl from a chemical substance
This is not a complete list by any means, so be sure to check with a doctor to rule out any other medical conditions.
If you believe your excessive sweating is not caused by an underlying medical condition (which is often the case) read on to learn more about primary hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating.
Primary Hyperhydrosis – Excessive Sweating
Sweating That is Not Caused by Another Medical Condition
Everybody sweats. It’s normal for sweating to increase when it is warm out, during stressful situations or from exercise. Our bodies use sweating as a natural way to regulate temperature, which helps keep us from getting overheated. Most people are fortunate enough to be able to control their sweating by using deodorants or anti-perpirants.
For many people, however, sweating is a big problem because they don’t sweat normally. People who suffer from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) usually find that the sweating in concentrated in specific parts of the body. The places where sweating is most common with hyperhidrosis are:
the underarms or armpits
Excessive sweating is a problem that you may have suffered from for a long time, or it may just suddenly appear from out of nowhere. Those of us who suffer from excessive sweating can’t just pick up an antiperspirant or deodorant from the local drugstore and have it work. Over the counter treatments for sweating just don’t seem to have any effect on people suffering from excessive sweating.
Most people consider sweating a minor nusance. If you have excessive sweating, though, it is practically intolerable. Excessive sweating can stain and ruin your cloting and bedding, it is embarrassing, and it can cause people who suffer from it to be self concious and afraid to socialize or participate in activities that may cause sweating.
The good news is that there are a variety of treatments that can work to help control the sweating and help you to get your life back. I’ve outlined some of the treatment options below including the pros and cons of each that you can use as a guide for your research.
Treatment Options & Remedies for Excessive Sweating
There are a variety of treatment options available for excessive sweating. These treatments range from easy to fairly invasive, and also vary greatly in cost. Here’s a list of some of the options available including what worked for me:
Perscription antiperspirants with a 20-25% content of aluminum chloride hexahydrate can sometimes help with excessive sweating. There are, however, some downsides to perscription antiperspirants as well. Probably the biggest downside is that they don’t work for everyone, and many people who use them find them to be irritating.
The cost of the perscriptions antiperspirants themselves isn’t too outrageous, but keep in mind that you also have to pay for the cost of a visit to your dermatologist or doctor to get the perscription. If you find success using these antiperspirants, that’s a very worthwhile cost. However, if you are one of the people who don’t get relief from them you’ll be left still sweating and out the money for the doctor’s visit and perscription.
Another thing to think about with perscriptions antiperspirants is that while they may be easy to use in your underarms, if it is your palms, feed, face or some other body part that is sweating excessively, antiperspirants may not be the best answer since they would be difficult to apply or wear without feeling self concious or accidentally wiping them off.
Iontophoresis is another option for treating excessive sweating. With this treatment your doctor uses a battery operated device to shoot mild electronic currents and “plug” the sweat ducts. The treatment is temporary and must be repeated daily or every other day for the first few weeks.
After that you’ll need to get treatments as needed to control the sweating – usually every 2-4 weeks. Once you have received your treatments from the dermatologist you can purchase the equipment to give yourself treatments at home from that point on. The cost of the equipment is not covered by insurance and typically runs around $600.00.
Needless to say, there are also downsides to this option, the most obvious of which is the cost. Whether you continue to pay for treatments from the dermatologist or your buy the equipment to use yourself, you’ll be investing a good chunk of change into controlling your excessive sweating.
The frequent treatments can also be a hassle for many people. In one study about 85% of people experienced an improvement in their sweating, which means it doesn’t work for everyone. Again, if you are one of the unlucky 15% or so, you’ll be out a whole bunch of money with nothing to show for it.
The most recent buzz to hit the sweating circuit is botox injections to help control excessive sweating. With this treatment, a series of small injections of botox are applied to the site where you have excessive sweating.
The success rate of treating sweating with botox is very high, however it is quite expensive. Typically, you’ll be charged between $200-$300 for each site that is injected, which can really add up if you need to get both your armpits and your hands done, for example. The treatment last for up to 9 months and then needs to be repeated to continue controlling the sweating.
Again, the biggest downside to this treatment option is the cost – especially when you factor in the cost over a lifetime of injections. Additionally, many people are afraid of needles and getting injections may a traumatic experience for them.
Surgery is almost always a last resort for treating excessive sweating since it is the most invasive method of treatment. During the surgery a portion of the main sympathetic nerve is destroyed or removed along with the possible removal of several ganglia which control sweating in the armpits and hands. How much and what is removed depends upon the needs of each particulat patient.
All other options should be expolored before having surgery since there are always risks associated with any type of surgery. With surgery to control excessive sweating, most patients leave the hospital within about a day and have a fairly short recovery time if there are no complications during surgery. There is pain associated with the surgery, however, and most patients require pain medication during recovery.
This is the treatment choice I made to control my excessive sweating, and guess what? I don’t have a problem with sweating anymore!