Do you experience excessive sweating especially when running? Then you could be suffering from hyperhidrosis. Although sweating helps cool your body and regulate your body’s temperature, it can make you feel miserable when it becomes excessive.
Other than staining your clothes, excessive sweating can lower your self-esteem, and affect the way you work or interact with people. If you’re suffering from hyperhidrosis, you might want to look at this guide to get an insight of how to deal with it.
What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is simply a condition where individuals experience excessive sweating on certain areas or the entire body. Areas with large numbers of sweat glands such as armpits, groin, feet and hands are especially susceptible to hyperhidrosis.
Studies have shown that approximately 2% -3% or 7.8 million Americans suffer from either of the two types of hyperhidrosis. The severity of the condition varies from one person to another and might be worsened by intense activities such as running.
In its worst case scenario, hyperhidrosis impacts negatively on individuals. Apart from staining clothes, it is associated with psychological trauma, low self-esteem and embarrassment. Individuals suffering from hyperhidrosis might also experience problems in interactions, relationships and the way they do their work.
When you have sweaty hands, you might find it a challenge to hold a pen or the steering wheel of your car.
Types of Hyperhidrosis
Generally hyperhidrosis can be categorised into two forms-Primary focal hyperhidrosis and the secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. It’s important to understand the difference between the two so as to embark on the correct treatment measures.
Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis
Focal hyperhidrosis occurs in entirely healthy people. It does not result from other medical conditions or medications. It is usually localised in areas with large numbers of sweat glands such as armpits, feet, palms, head, groin and face.
Focal hyperhidrosis affects people of all ages starting from as early as 5 years. However, it is more intense from the age of 25 years to 64 years. Family history has also been linked to focal hyperhidrosis. Perhaps this understanding can be a good basis for researchers to understand why it occurs in some people and maybe find a cure for it.
Another notable understanding regarding focal hyperhidrosis is that it does not occur when the affected person is asleep. Thus, it possible to known whether you’re suffering from focal or generalised hyperhidrosis.
Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis
This type of hyperhidrosis affects the entire body and may result from medical conditions or side effects of medications. Unlike focal hyperhidrosis, it occurs on any part of the body, hence the term generalized.
Notably, generalized hyperhidrosis begins in adulthood and may be experienced even during sleep. The best way to treat generalized hyperhidrosis is to first identify the medical condition or the medication side effects causing excessive sweating.
Causes of Hyperhidrosis
Fitness workouts such as running and cross training can result in excessive sweating in some people. Overweight people are especially very likely to suffer from excessive sweating during high-energy activities.
The amount of sweating will depend on the intensity of the activity.
Some illnesses especially high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, tuberculosis, malaria, fever and so on are usually associated with excessive sweating. During illness, your body tends to sweat to help fight germs.
3. High Temperatures
Everyone is prone to sweating when temperatures raise to certain levels. Sweating at high temperatures, provides a means for cooling the body – drink distilled water. The temperature at which sweating begins varies from one person to another. On a humid day some people will start sweating from as low as 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety raises your body temperature to levels that may cause excessive sweating. When you’re in panic, distress or cornered in a difficult situation, your body temperature tends to raise due to tension. This in turn leads to profuse sweating.
Heavy sweating during pregnancy isn’t a thing to worry about. Once you give birth, sweating will gradually subside. The reason for excessive sweating during pregnancy is the load you’re carrying. That’s why sweating increases as the pregnancy progresses to the late stages.
Women in their menopause often report to by experiencing intervals of heavy sweating especially at night. Researchers attribute this to the low levels of estrogen.
Treatment for Hyperhidrosis
With proper diagnosis and accurate determination of the root cause, hyperhidrosis can easily be defeated. Different remedies are utilized to treat hyperhidrosis. The method used will depend on cause and the severity of the sweating. Most often, you should expect to achieve complete sweat control or a reduction in the amount of sweating.
Below is a guide for treating hyperhidrosis:
Antiperspirants provide a means for blocking sweat glands to limit their ability to produce sweat. The most effective antiperspirants are those that contain aluminum such as aluminum chloride.
Deodorants should not be confused with antiperspirants. Deodorants are meant for preventing body odor or bromhidrosis.
When administered, these oral medications obstruct the parasympathetic nerves and inhibit their transmission. It takes about two weeks to start seeing sweat reduction.
Iontophoresis is a procedure where the skin especially hands and feet are treated using an electric current. In this process the electric current is delivered to the skin through water in bowl. The treatment takes 20 to 30 minutes and you may require 2-4 treatments.
4. Botox Injections (Botox)
These are neurotoxic proteins which when injected into the skin, affect the nerves that cause sweat glands to produce sweat. Several injections are required to achieve effective results.
In case the hyperhidrosis does not respond to any of the above remedies, a surgical procedure known as Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy or ETC maybe be administered. The purpose of this is to prevent sweat production by cutting nerves that communicate with sweat glands.
Sweating is a natural and normal functioning of the body. However, when you’re sweating excessively, that could be hyperhidrosis. In this guide you will learn more about hyperhidrosis including tips for managing it.