If you find yourself excessively sweating, even when you’re not exercising or lounging in the summer heat, you may have hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that causes excessive sweating, which can be frustrating, embarrassing, and interfere with daily life. Fortunately, there are lots of treatments for hyperhidrosis, including MiraDry, which we offer here in our office in Atlanta.
Sweating is your body’s natural response to heat, allowing the body to cool itself when conditions such as outside temperature or exertion threaten to raise body temperature. It’s also completely normal to sweat at times when you’re nervous or anxious, such as experiencing sweaty palms before a job interview. When the physical exertion, heat, or nervousness has passed, the nervous system tells the sweat glands that they are no longer needed, and sweating ceases.
However, in patients with hyperhidrosis, the nervous system overstimulates the sweating response, either due to genetics, certain medications, or an underlying condition. This causes a sweat response that is far out of proportion with the trigger. Excessive sweating may not be triggered by anything external at all. Sometimes patients with hyperhidrosis can begin to sweat with no apparent cause, often in the middle of the night.
Types of Hyperhidrosis
There are many types of hyperhidrosis, but the two most common types are:
- axillary hyperhidrosis, which is the excessive sweating of the underarms and usually begins in late adolescence
- palmoplantar hyperhidrosis, which is the excessive sweating of the palms and the soles of the feet and could begin in patients as young as 13.
Hyperhidrosis can also be primary or secondary.
Primary Hyperhidrosis – In this type of hyperhidrosis, the nerves that trigger the body’s sweat response become overactive. They signal the sweat glands to activate even in the absence of heat or exercise, and the problem can get even worse when the person is stressed or nervous.
Primary hyperhidrosis most often affects only parts of the body. People with primary hyperhidrosis typically will experience excessive sweating of the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, the face, and underarms.
Secondary hyperhidrosis – Secondary hyperhidrosis is caused by a secondary medical condition that triggers excessive sweating. Secondary hyperhidrosis is more likely to affect the entire body at once rather than only the hands or feet. It also more commonly causes excessive sweating during sleep. Some medical conditions that may cause secondary hyperhidrosis to include:
- Thyroid conditions
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Heart attacks
- Conditions of the nervous system
- Low blood sugar
There are also certain drugs that can cause night sweats, such as medications for Alzheimer’s Disease, antidepressants, and certain medications for glaucoma and diabetes.
Excessive sweating is the main symptom of hyperhidrosis
So what’s the difference between normal sweating and hyperhidrosis? Typically, patients with hyperhidrosis sweat more than others and in situations when others would not sweat at all.
Symptoms of hyperhidrosis include:
- Sweating so profusely that your clothes become soaked
- Having an excessive sweating experience at least once per week
- Excessive sweating that occurs on both sides of the body
- Intense sweating that affects your normal daily routine
Fortunately, there is a wide variety of hyperhidrosis treatments available both from your doctor and over the counter. Not all treatments work for all people suffering from this condition, so it’s a good idea to try different treatments to find one or a combination of hyperhidrosis treatments that work for you.
- Prescription antiperspirants – Deodorants and antiperspirants that you can purchase over the counter at your favorite drugstore may not be enough to keep excessive sweating at bay. Visit your doctor and ask for a prescription-strength antiperspirant. These prescription-strength versions are packed with potent ingredients to stop excessive sweating. Antiperspirants can be used on the hands and feet as well as the hairline to control excessive sweating. Prescription antiperspirants are generally the first line of defense against hyperhidrosis.
- Iontophoresis – Iontophoresis is a treatment that involves sitting with your hands and/or feet in water with a low-level electrical current. It is believed that iontophoresis works by blocking sweat from reaching the skin’s surface. This treatment is usually done in a doctor’s office, but you can buy a machine to do your own treatments at home.
- Botox – The same botulism toxin that’s loved worldwide for smoothing wrinkles is also used to curb excessive sweating. Botox works by blocking nerve signals that trigger the sweat glands to activate. Treatment results with Botox can last up to a year.
- MiraDry – MiraDry is a safe, effective, non-invasive treatment for people who suffer from excessive underarm sweating. The MiraDry procedure uses microwave energy to destroy the sweat glands that cause underarm sweating. MiraDry reduces sweating and odor by more than 80% in most patients. Its effects are long-lasting, as once the sweat glands are destroyed, they cannot regenerate in adults. MiraDry is a pain-free procedure with only minor soreness in the area afterward, which dissipates quickly. In most patients, only a single two-hour treatment is required to see life-changing results.
- Anticholinergic medications – Oral anticholinergic medications stop the activation of sweat glands. However, these medications are often the last resort for treating hyperhidrosis, as they can cause a host of unpleasant side effects such as blurry vision, dry mouth, heart palpitations, and difficulty urinating.
- Surgery – Surgery may be the right option for hyperhidrosis sufferers that can’t find relief from less invasive means. With surgery, the surgeon removes the sweat glands from the excessively sweating areas, either by severing the nerves that signal the sweat glands or removing the sweat glands altogether.
Sweating is important, but you don’t have to suffer
Sweating is a normal and healthy part of being human. Your sweat glands keep you healthy. But you don’t have to let them run your life. If you seek treatment for hyperhidrosis and temporarily or permanently deactivate the sweat glands on your palms, feet, or underarms, there are still millions of other sweat glands on your body to take care of its sweating needs while still relieving your excessive sweating.
Ready to finally get treatment for your hyperhidrosis?
WIFH in Atlanta offers MiraDry to hyperhidrosis patients who are ready to leave their excessive sweating in the past. Give us a call today to schedule your free MiraDry consultation.