What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. It’s a common issue which can affect the entire body, or just specific areas such as the underarms, hands, or face. There are two types of hyperhidrosis: primary hyperhidrosis and secondary generalised hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis is the most common form.
What causes hyperhidrosis?
There is no known cause for primary hyperhidrosis, which most commonly affects specific parts of the body, such as the underarms, hands, feet or face. It usually begins in childhood or adolescence, but it is not known why.
Secondary generalised hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating linked to a medical condition, such as hyperthyroidism or the menopause - or as a side-effect of medication. This type of hyperhidrosis usually affects the whole body.
How can I prevent hyperhidrosis?
As there is no known cause for primary hyperhidrosis, it’s not possible to completely prevent its onset. The effects of hyperhidrosis can be alleviated though by wearing loose-fitting, breathable clothes (such as cotton or linen) and leather shoes with cotton socks. Avoiding spicy foods and alcohol can also help minimise the problem.
Natural remedies for hyperhidrosis
Herbal supplements: for excess sweating caused by the menopause, some people choose to take herbal supplements such as black cohosh. Other herbal remedies purported to help hyperhidrosis include St John’s wort, chamomile and sage. Always speak to a doctor before taking herbal supplements if you have a known medical condition.
Acupuncture: there is no scientific evidence to support the efficacy of acupuncture on treating hyperhidrosis, but anecdotal evidence suggests it is effective for some sufferers.
Relaxation techniques: some people find their hyperhidrosis is worsened when in stressful situations, so adopting relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or breathing exercises may be useful.
Treatments for hyperhidrosis
BOTOX® injections for hyperhidrosis
A doctor may prescribe BOTOX® injections in the sweat glands to alleviate your excess sweating. The treatment works by blocking the nerve impulses which play a major role in producing sweat. You will notice a major reduction in sweating for a period of up to three months, after which you may choose to have further treatment. The treatment can be administered to the underarms, hands, feets and forehead, and is available at some sk:n clinics.
Other treatments for hyperhidrosis include:
- Iontophoresis (a treatment involving the use of electrical currents on the affected areas)