TALKING ABOUT EXCESSIVE SWEATING BY DR. ADEYEMO OLUSOLA

Hyperhidrosis means excessive sweating which is not related to heat or exercise. It can be localized or generalized (affecting the whole body). It is not a life-threatening condition but it can be embarrassing and cause social anxiety.

 

The part of the body often affected are palms, soles, armpit, the face and the scalp. This is because these parts of the body have relatively high concentration of sweat glands.

 

Causes of hyperhidrosis can be broadly classified into- Primary and Secondary.

 

The primary hyperhidrosis applies when there is no identifiable cause of hyperhidrosis.

 

Secondary hyperhidrosis implies there is an identifiable cause. Some of the causes of hyperhidrosis in people are: diabetes, reduced blood sugar, thyroid gland problem, anxiety, alcohol abuse, some infections like- HIV, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Some medications like- Propranolol, pilocarpine and some antidepressants.

 

In some people, this condition of excessive sweat can impact their romantic relationship, social life, self-image and free time activities.

 

Signs and symptoms of hyperhidrosis include: wet or clammy palms, soles of the feet, noticeable sweat that soaks through the clothes.

 

People with hyperhidrosis might experience the following social impact:

  • Worrying about having stained clothing
  • Social withdrawal
  • Self-conscious
  • Getting worried about body odour
  • Frequent skin irritation or infection

 

DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor will ask you some questions and examine you. He will request for some investigations in order to establish if there is any underlying cause for the hyperhidrosis.

 

TREATMENT OF HYPERHYDROSIS

The treatment of hyperhidrosis requires detailed clinical evaluation and systematic approach in line of management. Many people get significant improvement and are completely cured of this condition.

Treatment options are:

  1. Use of antiperspirant. Antiperspirant with low strength Aluminum chloride is okay for some people. It is important to note that deodorant is different from antiperspirant. Deodorants do not stop sweating. It only gives your body good smell. Though, both of them are often mixed in the same product.

 

 

  1. Use of Astringents: These are substances that make body tissues shrink. Example of such include aluminium acetate solution, aluminium chloride topical and formaldehyde topical. These agents must be used as directed by your physician. There are cautions to their usage.

 

 

  1. Botulinum toxin: This is often reserved for severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis that is inadequately managed by other topical agents.

 

 

  1. Anticholinergic drug eg glycopyrrolate. This drug is not usually prescribed because of its side effects. Side effect includes dry mouth, urinary retention and blurred vison.

 

 

  1. Iontophoresis: In this method, electric current is passed through water into the skin. It is not a painful procedure.

Further reading

Medical News Today

Medscape

WebMD

Image credit: Daily Express

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