Hyperhidrosis refers to the excessive production of sweat that’s not related to heat or exercising. Hyperhidrosis is a severe condition because it disrupts daily activities, causes embarrassment and social anxiety. Sometimes, if you have hyperhidrosis, your clothes may soak, or your hands drip off with sweat.
If you have hyperhidrosis, the first step of treatment is antiperspirants prescription. These medications reduce perspiration to reduce sweating. If antiperspirants do not work, other medications, including therapy, are recommended. However, in severe cases, the doctor might recommend surgery to disconnect the nerve that overproduces sweat or remove the sweat gland.
Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis
Typically, most people sweat when they exercise, are anxious, under stress, or in a hot environment. However, if you have hyperhidrosis, you will experience excess sweating, making you uncomfortable. Usually, hyperhidrosis affects the hands, face, feet, and underarm. This type of hyperhidrosis occurs at least once a week when one is waking up. Although hyperhidrosis may seem normal to some people, it is crucial to seek medical attention.
Seek medical attention if:
- Hyperhidrosis is accompanied by chest pains, lightheadedness, or nausea.
- Heavy sweating affects your daily activities.
- You experience emotional distress or social withdrawal from hyperhidrosis.
- You are experiencing night sweats regularly.
- You start sweating more than usual. This could mean you have an underlying serious medical condition.
Causes of Hyperhidrosis
Primary focal or essential hyperhidrosis is the regular type of hyperhidrosis. If you have essential hyperhidrosis, the nerves that trigger overactivity of your sweat even though they have not been triggered by any activity, nervousness, anxiety, or temperature changes. Primary focal hyperhidrosis affects your soles, palms, and sometimes your face. Although a medical complication does not cause this type of hyperhidrosis, it might be hereditary. Recent studies have shown that most of the patients with primary hyperhidrosis have a sibling or parent with a similar condition.
An underlying medical condition causes secondary hyperhidrosis. With secondary hyperhidrosis, sweating occurs all over the body, making it hard for you to concentrate or carry out daily activities.
Here are some of the conditions that lead to secondary hyperhidrosis:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Respiratory failure
- Heart attack
- Infections such as malaria, HIV, and Tuberculosis
- Thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism)
- Nervous system disorders
- Low blood sugar
- Alcohol abuse
- Spinal cord injuries
- Some cancers, for example, Hodgkin’s disease
- Menopause – hot flashes
In some cases, certain medications can cause secondary hyperhidrosis. Some of these medications include:
- Opioid withdrawal
- Propranolol – for high blood pressure treatment
- Anticholinesterases – treats Alzheimer’s disease
- Pilocarpine – treats glaucoma
If hyperhidrosis is not treated, it can cause complications such as:
- Warts – these are skin growths caused by Human papillomavirus (HPV)Bacterial infections between the toes and around hair follicles
- Nail infections
- Heat rash – a heat rash is caused by blocked sweat glands. Therefore, perspiration is trapped under the skin leading to an itchy, red skin rash that has a prickling sensation
- Psychological effects – depending on the severity of the condition, some people may become withdrawn, depressed, anxious, and stressed
- Skin infections
Natural Remedies to Hyperhidrosis
If you experience excess sweating, you can try some natural remedies before seeing a doctor. You may have to change your lifestyle or daily activities to alleviate the symptoms.
The remedies include:
- Clothing – start wearing loose clothing because synthetic fibers, for example, nylon, makes the condition worse.
- Antiperspirants – stop using deodorants because they do not stop excess sweating. However, if you invest in antiperspirants prescriptions such as Aluminum Chloride, you might get some relief. See our guide on different antiperspirants.
- Armpit shields – the pads are worn in the armpit to absorb excess sweat, thus reducing perspiration.
- Socks – buy thick socks made of natural fibers to absorb sweat.
- Shoes – instead of buying shoes made of synthetic material, choose natural material like leather.
- Regular bathing and dry yourself well under the armpits and between the toenails.
- Relaxation techniques – try meditation, biofeedback, or yoga to calm down and control stress.
Some drugs used to treat hyperhidrosis include:
- Prescription antiperspirant – antiperspirants are made of aluminum chloride. Common examples include Xerac Ac or Drysol.
- Prescription creams – if your hyperhidrosis affects the face and head, a cream that contains glycopyrrolate is recommended.
- Antidepressants – some medications can reduce sweating and decrease anxiety which can worsen hyperhidrosis. If you experience excessive sweating, it is prudent to seek medical attention fast. It is advisable to try the natural remedies but if they do not work, consider seeking help from a primary care provider.