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Hyperhidrosis The Problem of Excessive Sweating

Suraj Anjaana

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Hyperhidrosis is a condition which causes excessive sweating. According to research nearly 4 percent of the world's population suffers from symptoms of hyperhidrosis. Sweaty palms, hands, arms, face and feet can cause embarrassment and social issues. Day-to-day life may become difficult and mingling closely with others an uphill battle. However, hyperhidrosis is a treatable condition and does not have to end in social isolation.

Causes of Hyperhidrosis

Although hyperhidrosis might sound like a joke or something that will go away if you just ignore it, it's a serious medical condition which needs proper handling.

In the brain lies the hypothalamus. This part of the brain is in charge of the sweat-related functions. The hypothalamus sends signals to nerves, which send signals to the sweat glands. These glands then produce sweat. A normal person will only sweat in conditions of activity or warmth. A person suffering from hyperhidrosis, however, sweats all the time. The sweat glands produce a surplus of sweat.

Types of Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis can be divided into two main categories, namely focal hyperhidrosis or primary hyperhidrosis and generalized hyperhidrosis or secondary hyperhidrosis:

  • Focal Hyperhidrosis or Primary Hyperhidrosis. This type of hyperhidrosis causes excessive sweating in the arm area (including underarms), hands, feet and face. Focal hyperhidrosis is a result of a glitch in the nervous system. The sweat glands are stimulated to produce an excess of sweat.
  • Generalized Hyperhidrosis or Secondary Hyperhidrosis. Generalized hyperhidrosis causes the entire body to break out in excessive sweating. It's the result of certain health conditions such as metabolic disorders, neurological disorders and menopause.

Treatment for hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a treatable condition. Mild case of hyperhidrosis can be controlled by using antiperspirants regularly, wearing loose clothes, avoiding lycra and nylon as well as spicy foods. Also note that antiperspirants are not the same as deodorants, as antiperspirants stop the secretion of sweat whereas deodorants only mask foul odors. Moreover, if you suffer from sweaty feet, consider changing socks regularly and using baby powder to absorb sweat.

However, if you suffer from severe excessive sweating you may want to consider seeking professional help. Iontophoresis, for instance, is a treatment which involves electrical stimulation. The treatment consists of about four sessions per week with maintenance every four weeks. However, iontophoresis is time consuming. Also note that it is not advised to use this treatment if you are pregnant or if you have a pacemaker.

Another option is botox injections. This treatment is successful in reducing armpit sweating. Botox stops the sweat glands form producing sweat. However, Botox does have the risk of freezing muscles in the injected area. Also, botox wears off after a few hours, which means that this is a repetitive treatment.

Botox and Iontophoresis are two of the main treatments for hyperhidrosis. Surgery and medication are also options. Consider seeing a doctor to see which treatment fits you best.

Suraj Anjaana is the webmaster of , helping you to diagnose and cope with the problem of excessive sweating, properly called hyperhidrosis


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