What do you know about hyperhidrosis? How can this skin disorder be treated? Hyperhidrosis is a skin disorder characterized by excessive sweating that usually begins during puberty. These conditions can be effectively managed by non-invasive and invasive treatments. 15.3 million people in the United States, or about 4.8 percent of the US population, suffer from hyperhidrosis. In this article from the section of diseases and Beauty Hello, Dr. Salam, we are investigating hyperhidrosis.
What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a disease that leads to excessive sweating caused by stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. People with hyperhidrosis usually sweat in such a way that the sweat drips from their hands and their clothes get wet, and it interferes with their daily activities and affects them. Hyperhidrosis can affect a person’s life beyond the physical symptoms. Many people with this disorder suffer from social anxiety and embarrassment due to excessive sweating.
What causes hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is caused by overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system, which leads to overstimulation of the sweat glands.
What are the symptoms of the disease?
Sweating when exposed to hot air, sensation anxiety, tension or exercise, is common. Excessive sweating in cold weather or during normal daily tasks is not normal. Each person’s sweating rate is different, but when sweating interferes with normal activities, you may have hyperhidrosis.
Symptoms of hyperhidrosis include:
- Excessive sweating shortly after waking up
- Wet clothes from sweat
- Sweat drips from the soles of the feet, palms or armpits
Hyperhidrosis can occur as a result of the following factors:
Irritated and sometimes painful skin
Fungal and bacterial skin infections
Social anxiety and embarrassment, which sometimes leads to depression or social withdrawal
Reluctance to wear light colored clothes because they cannot hide sweat stains.
Changing clothes regularly and showering more than 2 times a day
Your hyperhidrosis condition will be different, but for many people, it can affect their quality of life and general well-being.
Types of this skin disorder
Doctors recognize two types of hyperhidrosis:
People with primary hyperhidrosis have experienced excessive sweating since childhood or adolescence. According to the prevalence of hyperhidrosis in 2016, about 2.8% of the United States population suffers from primary hyperhidrosis, and among those with primary hyperhidrosis, almost 50% of their family members suffer from excessive sweating. This is because primary hyperhidrosis is a specific genetic trait.
Areas of the body that are affected by primary hyperhidrosis include the following areas:
- the face
Secondary hyperhidrosis appears in adulthood and can be caused by a medical condition or side effects of medications you may be taking. Sweating with secondary hyperhidrosis may be concentrated all over your body or in one area.
Medical causes of secondary hyperhidrosis include:
- cancer (night sweats)
- heart attack
- Drug addiction
- Brain or spinal cord injuries
- Parkinson’s disease
- lung disease
As with any health concern, it is important to be examined by a medical professional and determine the type of illness before making a decision and taking treatment.
Prescribed medications that cause secondary hyperhidrosis include:
- Painkillers (sedatives)
- Antimicrobial drugs (antiviral and antibiotic)
- Cardiovascular drugs (heart and blood pressure)
- Chemotherapy drugs (tumor or cancer)
- Dermatological medicines (skin and topical)
- Endocrine drugs (hormones)
- Gastrointestinal drugs
- Nerve drugs
- Medicines related to hematological, immunological, immune system
What are the treatments for hyperhidrosis?
There are several approaches and methods for hyperhidrosis, all of which seek to control or completely eliminate the condition.
Dermatologists usually advise patients to try an over-the-counter antiperspirant first. This is the simplest and cheapest solution, and if used correctly, it can be effective.
Doctors suggest that patients look for a drug that contains at least 20% aluminum hexahydrate as an active ingredient and provide recommendations for its use:
Unlike other antiperspirants, this medicine should be applied to dry skin in the evening for several nights in a row and then used twice a week.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends Drysol as the best prescription antiperspirant for hyperhidrosis.
Unfortunately, strong drugs are not always strong enough and effective. This is especially true for parts of the body that have thicker skin, such as the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. When antiperspirants are ineffective, your doctor may recommend injections of botulinum toxin type A, also known as Botox.
This method is usually used to treat sweating hands and feet. It is also able to treat underarm sweating, although it is difficult to treat this part of the body due to its shape.
Iontophoresis works by immersing part of the body in water. A small electric current passes through the water and temporarily disables the person’s sweat glands.
botulinum toxin (botox)
Botox is probably the best cosmetic drug in the world, widely used for smoothing wrinkle I see, Frowning lines and crow’s feet or increasing the volume of the lips, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved Botox for the treatment of hyperhidrosis.
Using botulinum toxin and injecting it into the armpits, hands or feet prevents the activity of a chemical substance in the body that stimulates the sweat glands.
Most patients achieve significant results after four or five days, and these effects can last up to 6 months or even longer.
Recent studies emphasize the extent to which injections can be effective. In a study published by the American Journal of Dermatology (JAAD), 94% of people had significant improvement after four weeks. The response rate to this treatment was high after 16 weeks. Almost 98% of people who were treated with this method recommended it to others.
However, there are some downsides to botulinum injections. Aside from the potential side effects, some of them may be dangerous or at least a little unpleasant. For example, a weak pressure after manual injection requires constant clinical examination and repeated treatment. For those who do not want to spend time and money on this type of treatment, there is a more durable solution that is more attractive.
MiraDry was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 and is now widely used to treat hyperhidrosis. Doctors use a hand-held device to emit electromagnetic energy into the patient’s armpit. This definitely destroys the sweat glands and results in a significant reduction in sweat. It is a relatively quick procedure with minimal discomfort, and most patients can resume their normal, daily activities directly afterward.
In this method, patients usually experience an 80% or more reduction in sweating. Many people feel satisfied after a course of miraDry treatment, but some other people may need several treatment sessions to achieve the desired result.
Scalprush laser device
The Scalprush laser device is another non-invasive technology for the treatment of hyperhidrosis, which has also been registered and is practically painless. In this method and using a laser, the armpit sweat glands are crushed and reduced. The results of this method last up to a year and are a longer and more durable option than Botox, although it requires frequent visits.
Like the miraDry method, this method also has side effects such as local pain or burning and a bit of disability, but it gives long-term results to the patient in two short-term treatment periods.
There are several treatment options you can try at home. Here are some suggestions:
- Wear TheBreathable shoes
- Regular and quick change of clothes and socks
- Showering or bathing several times a day
- Use of talcum powder in armpits and legs
What is hyperhidrosis surgery?
Sweat glands can be surgically removed from the patient’s armpit under local anesthesia or general anesthesia during an operation called subcutaneous curettage or sympathectomy. Although these methods provide permanent results with a success rate of over 90%, they are not popular among doctors today. This is because surgery can cause wounds or the formation of sweat glands in other parts of the body.
Fortunately, now, technical advances and the use of non-invasive methods offer long-term results.
Choosing the best treatment method
There are several advances in the treatment of hyperhidrosis, and doctors will recommend a course of treatment based on the patient’s preferences and examinations.
Hyperhidrosis can be permanently treated through local surgery, but experts recommend non-invasive treatments such as Botox, miraDry or the Scalpsure laser device. All these methods have shown to be quick methods with minimal side effects and excellent results. Botox and the Scalprush laser device require repeated examinations for lasting results, while miraDry provides very long-lasting results with just one examination.