We all love the arrival of summer and the chance to shed some winter layers and feel a bit of warmth & sunshine on the skin, but for some it can bring on a tidal wave of insecurities.
When it’s warm or when we’re nervous a bit of excess sweating is normal but for some of us it can mean hours wasted changing clothes, wiping our hands and hiding away from situations where we might have to shake someone’s hand. If you feel that sweating is holding you back there are a number of solutions you can try which will make you feel more confident.
Hyperhidrosis / Excess sweating – The Facts
While sweating is one of the most important ways in which the body loses heat, people who suffer from excess sweating (hyperhidrosis), have sweat glands that overreact to stimuli, produce more sweat than is needed. It is a common disorder that is estimated to effect 3% of the population but because of a lack of awareness and understanding, more than half of these people are never diagnosed or treated for their symptoms. It can affect certain parts of the body such as hands, feet or face or it can even affect the entire body, which is known as generalised hyperhidrosis.
Cause – Why Some of Us Sweat Too Much
There is no one known cause for hyperhidrosis but many professionals believe it is caused by problems with the sympathetic nervous system. It can also be a side effect of medication or caused by another condition such as an overactive thyroid gland or an infection. This is also referred to as secondary hyperhidrosis.
For more information, take a look at the NHS website for the different causes and types of hyperhidrosis.
If you feel like hyperhidrosis is affecting you, don’t be afraid to see your doctor. There are a number of solutions available and your doctor will help you find the right treatment or combinations of treatments that will help with your type of hyperhidrosis. They’ll ask you about triggers, location and other factors, asking questions like:
- does it happen at night?
- Where does the excess sweating occur?
- Or do you have any other symptoms like lack of appetite or fever etc?
Try to keep a diary before going to the doctors, so you have a record of your symptoms and at what times and situations your symptoms appear to be more prominent.. They may also do a starch-iodine test or paper test.
Iontophoresis has proved to be effective in 80% to 90% of cases. The area which is effected by excess sweating is placed in water, then a weak electric current is passed through the water. The current is thought to help block the sweat glands resulting in symptoms improving after a week or two. This treatment can be provided by your dermatologist or hospital dermatology clinic and you will need to go back at regular intervals for further treatment depending on the severity of the symptoms.
One treatment is an aluminium chloride based antiperspirant, prescribed for use at night before going to sleep, and then washed off in the morning. A common side effect when starting this form of treatment can be mild irritation or itching which should subside with continual use.
A type of medication may be prescribed if the sweating it too widespread. Depending on the type of medication, they will normally work by blocking the chemical signal between the nerves and the sweat glands. There can be some side effects which your doctor will talk through with you before starting treatment. If all other types of treatments have not worked, surgery may be an option for preventing sweating, particularly in the palms and armpits.
This particular toxin is a preparation of protein that is injected in small doses to block the nerves that supply the eccrine glands, stopping them from producing sweat. It isn’t an effective treatment for treating widespread hyperhidrosis but is a good solution for treating small areas like under the arms. A medical practitioner will administer the injectable and subsequent treatments may be needed every three to six months.
This kind of treatment is commonly available without a prescription and can be a great solution if you have hyperhidrosis that isn’t severe or wide spread enough for hospital treatment.
There are also some lifestyle changes and alternative therapies that you may want to consider depending on your type and severity of symptoms. Always check with your doctor if you’re unsure about any of the above treatments.
At Destination Skin, we are licensed to administer injectables like the ones mentioned above, as a solution for excess sweating. It will cost £450 per treatment and if you would like to talk to one of our medical practitioners about the treatment or options please get in touch and we’ll help in any way that we can.