Excessive sweating can cause a lot of trauma and irritation to a person. At Medstar, we treat such conditions with permanent solutions that range from medications to injections to gland removals. Hyperhidrosis is the condition of excessive sweating in either one body part or the whole body. Focal or primary hyperhidrosis happens in a single or a few parts of a body like armpits, hands, feet, genitals, forehead, face etc. Generalized secondary hyperhidrosis affects the whole body, and the person sweats profusely all over. Genetic reasons are the primary cause, but specific diets, stress, anxiety, infections can also be reasons for this. Some drugs can also have side effects that can cause excessive sweating. For some, it is a temporary phenomenon, but for others, it can persist for long and can be permanent.
- Medications like creams, antiperspirants or any other topical medicines can help decrease or eliminate sweating.
- Botox treatment involving injections is used to block the nerve stimulation in a particular area to reduce sweating.
- Microwave therapy uses microwave energy to destroy the sweat glands.
- Nerve surgery cuts or burns the spinal nerves that control sweating.
- If other treatment methodologies are not successful, sweat gland removal surgery is relied on.
Dr. Vimi Ponnamparambath
Is hyperhidrosis harmful?
Hyperhidrosis is not harmful but it can affect the quality of life of the patient negatively. Excess sweating can cause:
- Uncomfortable soaking of the clothes
- Sweat beads on cheeks or forehead
- Damp hair and scalp
- Damp socks
- Slippery hands
- Itching and inflammation due to constant irritation by sweat-drenched clothes
- Body odour due to bacterial growth
- Noticeable white marks on clothes
- Skin discolouration
- Abnormal soft and disintegrating skin of soles of feet
Is excessive sweating treatable?
Excessive sweating can be controlled by:
- Lifestyle changes like using antiperspirants, bathing regularly, avoiding tight clothes and changing clothes daily.
- Medications like antidepressants and nerve blocking agents
- Botulinum toxin injections or botox to paralyse the nerves temporarily
- Microwave therapy is used to destroy sweat glands of the affected area with the help of a hand-held device.
- Surgical removal of sweat glands and cutting & clamping of the nerve responsible for sweating stimulation.
What is the starch-iodine test?
The starch-iodine test is used for locating the overactive sweating glands on the affected area. In this test, the affected area is dried and an iodine solution is applied. After drying, the starch powder is dusted all over the surface. Saturated iodine-starch paper is placed over this area. Sweat moisture changes the colour from brown to the blue of the applied solution marking the location of sweat glands on the affected area.
Which hyperhidrosis treatment is permanent?
Microwave therapy and surgery are the permanent treatment options for hyperhidrosis. Microwave therapy destroys sweat glands permanently with the help of heat. Surgery helps in excessive sweating management by the surgical removal of the sweat glands. Surgery is also used to cut and clamp the sympathetic nerves responsible for the sweat gland stimulation.
What medical conditions can cause excessive sweating?
Certain medical conditions can cause generalised or secondary excessive sweating affecting the whole body and are common in adults. These conditions are:
- Stress and anxiety
- Spinal cord injury
- Dysautonomia (autonomic dysfunction)
- Infections like tuberculosis.
- Cancer of the lymphatic system
- Metabolic disorders like hyperthyroidism, diabetes, gout, pituitary disease etc
- Drugs like antidepressants and insulins
Can botox help with excessive sweating?
Yes, botox or botulinum toxin injections are FDA approved treatment used for excessive sweating. This toxin is used to paralyse the nerves responsible for the stimulation of the sweat glands and the production of sweat. The results are safe without the downtime and can last up to or more than 4 months.
What are the surgical options for hyperhidrosis treatment?
Surgical options for hyperhidrosis are:
- Sympathectomy: In this surgery, the sympathetic nerves responsible for the stimulation of sweat glands are cut and clamped permanently. This results in no sweating of the affected area.
- Sweat gland removal: In this surgery, sweat glands are permanently removed surgically. Sweat glands are removed by the procedure of surgical excision, liposuction, scrapping or the use of lasers.
What are the complications of hyperhidrosis treatment?
Hyperhidrosis treatment is safe but there are some common complications that resolve in a couple of days like mild swelling, pain and redness. Other possible and rare complications requiring medical help include:
- Loss of local sensitivity
- Necrosis and infection
- Loss of hairs
- Recurrence of hyperhidrosis