Hyperhidrosis: A Comprehensive Guide and Effective Treatments

Hyperhidrosis: A Comprehensive Guide and Effective Treatments

Hyperhidrosis is a condition characterized by overactivity of the body's sweat glands, leading to excessive sweating at times and places where others do not typically sweat. Individuals with this condition often experience discomfort and embarrassment and usually do not seek medical help.

Types of Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is divided into two main types:

1- Primary Hyperhidrosis:

This type occurs in specific areas of the body such as the armpits, hands, feet, and head. It tends to appear at a young age, before the age of 25, and has no apparent medical cause. It may be hereditary and exacerbated by certain smells, foods, stress, and anxiety. It does not occur during sleep.

2- Secondary Hyperhidrosis:

This type affects all parts of the body and is often associated with a specific medical condition such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and thyroid disorders. It may accompany menopause in women or occur as a result of taking certain medications and supplements such as zinc. This type can affect adults and can also occur during sleep.
Excessive Sweating
Excessive sweating is a problem that affects the daily lives of many people. It can cause difficulty holding a pen, wet papers and electronic devices, leading to embarrassment and anxiety. If left untreated, significant skin complications such as recurrent infections, skin irritation, and itching can occur.
Regarding odor, it should be noted that sweat itself does not have a smell. However, it can lead to an unpleasant odor when infections occur and the bacteria present on the skin interact with sweat.
It is difficult to accurately determine the number of people who suffer from excessive sweating, as many individuals do not seek treatment due to extreme embarrassment or unawareness that this is a treatable medical condition. A dermatologist can help patients manage excessive sweating, but it is important to rule out medical causes of this problem through clinical examination and laboratory tests before starting treatment.

Treatment of Hyperhidrosis

Treatment of hyperhidrosis requires an individualized approach, depending on the type of hyperhidrosis, its location, and the individual's overall health. There are several common treatment options for hyperhidrosis, including:
  1. Antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride: These are a common treatment option and are often recommended by dermatologists. These products are applied to dry skin before bed and washed off in the morning. They are highly effective, affordable, and have few side effects.
  2. Glycopyrronium tosylate wipes: These are prescribed by doctors and used for application on the hands, feet, and underarms.
  3. Oral nerve blockers: These are prescribed for severe cases that do not respond to other treatments. These medications work by inhibiting the action of sweat glands throughout the body and have shown effectiveness in some patients but have significant side effects.
  4. Antidepressants: Some medications used to treat depression may reduce excessive sweating.
  5. Iontophoresis: This relies on a home medical device that sends a low-voltage electrical current through water to inhibit sweat glands. It has proven beneficial for many people, but it requires multiple sessions and can be time-consuming. It can only be used on the hands and feet.
  6. Handheld device for sweat gland destruction: This is a newer treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The treatment is performed by dermatologists and uses electromagnetic energy to destroy sweat glands. This device is mainly used in cases of hyperhidrosis in the armpit area only, as there is enough fat in this area to protect surrounding tissues. However, there is still a lack of information regarding the long-term results and side effects.
  7. Botulinum toxin injections (Botox): This is one of the first or second-line options for treating hyperhidrosis, whether in the armpit, palms, feet, or face area. The use of Botox has been approved by the FDA as an effective treatment option. Most people do not feel severe pain during the procedure thanks to the use of local anesthesia. It may take a few days to notice results, and regular sessions approximately every six months maintain the results. However, some potential side effects can occur.
  8. Surgery: Surgery may be considered as an option when other treatments fail. Surgery achieves satisfactory results but may be associated with a higher risk of side effects. Surgical procedures include: 1- Sweat gland removal, which is used in cases of hyperhidrosis in the armpit area. This procedure can be performed in a doctor's office under local anesthesia. 2- Cutting or severing the sympathetic nerve responsible for innervating sweat glands. This procedure is used in cases of hyperhidrosis in the hands. This procedure requires a higher level of complexity and is performed exclusively in the operating room. Common side effects of these surgical procedures include severe and permanent excessive sweating in other areas of the body, known as compensatory sweating.
Important: It is crucial to consult a dermatologist to evaluate the appropriate treatment and determine the most suitable option for each individual's case. The doctor may suggest applying more than one treatment method together to achieve the best results. Therefore, it is recommended to see a dermatologist for an assessment of the condition and to obtain direct guidance.

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