Sweating is a normal way of balancing body homeostasis but when it is becoming excessive, it calls for concern. Excessive sweating is also known as hyperhidrosis. It can cause discomfort, affects self-image because of frequent stained clothes, impaired social interaction. People who suffer from this often have difficulty shaking hands, griping steering wheel and holding a pen. There are two types, which are;
- Focal hyperhidrosis: this localized, it can occur in the armpit(axillary) or the palms and soles of the feet(palmoplantar)
- Generalized hyperhidrosis: affects the entire body.
CAUSES: They can be classified into two;
- Primary Cause: they are of unknown cause but gene has said to be significant in this cause i.e. it can be inherited. Most of focal hyperhidrosis are of the primary cause
- Secondary cause: hyperhidrosis is caused by an underlying condition such as obesity, gout, malaria, menopause, hyperthyroidism, alcohol abuse, anxiety and ,many more.
- Clammy or wet palms of the hand and soles of the feet
- Frequent sweating
- Noticeable sweating that soaks through clothing. Other symptoms include:
- Socially withdrawn, sometimes leading to depression.
- Fungal and bacterial skin infections.
- Bothered about body odor.
SELF MANAGEMENT OF EXCESSIVE SWEATING
- Anti-perspirants: they plug sweat glands especially the ones with aluminum chloride.
- Clothing: loose clothing is the best to wear, nylon and fiber materials may worsen symptoms
- Shoes: Synthetic materials not good for the feet when having excessive sweating, leather materials are better
- Socks: thick socks absorbs moisture more.
A dermatologist may recommend:
- Iontophoresis – the hands and feet are submerged in a bowl of water. A painless electric current is passed through the water. Most patients need two to four 20-30 minute treatments.
- Botulinum toxin (Botox injections) – Botox injections block the nerves that trigger the sweat glands. Patients with hyperhidrosis may need several injections for effective results.
- Anticholinergic drugs – these medications inhibit the transmission of parasympathetic nerve impulses. Patients generally notice an improvement in symptoms within about 2 weeks.
- ETS (Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy) – this surgical intervention is only recommended in severe cases which have not responded to other treatments. The nerves that carry messages to the sweat glands are cut.
ETS may be used to treat hyperhidrosis of the face, hands or armpits. ETS is not recommended for treating hyperhidrosis of the feet because of the risk of permanent sexual dysfunction.