Causes of Excessive Sweating & How to Treat It
Everybody sweats. Sweating is a normal bodily function with a healthy purpose: to keep you cool when temperatures are high. Whether you’ve been sitting in the sun or you’ve exhausted yourself from a strenuous workout, sweating is your body’s way of preventing you from overheating. When your brain senses rising heat levels, it sends signals to stimulate your sweat glands. As perspiration seeps from your pores and evaporates on the surface of your skin, it brings down your core body temperature to a safe degree.
But what if it’s cold outside, you haven’t been exercising, and you’re still sweating buckets? If this happens a lot, you might have a condition called hyperhidrosis.
What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating – “excessive” meaning you still sweat even when your body isn’t in need of a cool-down. Excessive sweating can occur in any part of the body, but the most commonly affected areas are the palms, feet, underarms, and head.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, hyperhidrosis affects up to 3% of the population. These estimates are hard to confirm, though, because many people who suffer from hyperhidrosis never see a doctor for a formal diagnosis. Embarrassment over their condition often prevents people from seeking out treatment. However, if you’re experiencing excessive, unexplained sweating, it’s important to speak to a doctor to rule out the possibility of a more serious medical condition.
What are the causes of excessive sweating?
Sometimes, hyperhidrosis can be a sign of a more serious illness. Diseases such as gout, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism may cause bouts of excessive sweating. It can also be triggered by a hormonal imbalance or an infection. However, most people suffering from hyperhidrosis are otherwise completely healthy and don’t have an underlying medical cause for their condition. In this case, it’s called primary hyperhidrosis.
While doctors don’t know exactly what causes primary hyperhidrosis, they do know that certain people are more likely to get it than others. For example, studies have shown a genetic component to excessive sweating, so if you have family members with the condition, you’re more likely to develop it yourself.
Treatment options for excessive sweating & hyperhidrosis
Fortunately, dermatologists have been very successful in helping people control their hyperhidrosis. Some available treatment options include:
Antiperspirants to treat excessive sweating
Over-the-counter antiperspirants can be applied to affected areas beyond the underarms, such as the hands, feet, or hairline. If over-the-counter antiperspirants aren’t working for you, your doctor can write a prescription for something stronger.
Iontophoresis is a treatment for hyperhidrosis
For excessive sweating on your hands or feet, this treatment involves soaking your skin in a shallow basin of water, through which a painless electrical current is passed. Sessions take about a half-hour and result in temporarily turning off your sweat glands.
Anticholinergics can help stop excessive sweating
If other treatment methods are unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend an oral anticholinergic drug. Anticholinergics prevent your sweat glands from working by basically “turning them off.” However, these drugs can carry with them some unwelcome side effects.
Botox is a treatment for hyperhidrosis
The same injections that are used to smooth wrinkles are also effective in deactivating your sweat glands. One round of Botox injections in your underarms can reap months of reduced perspiration.
Get relief from hyperhidrosis with clinical research trials at CDCRI in San Diego
At California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute, we can help you find the best method of controlling your hyperhidrosis. Through clinical research trials and individualized care, you’ll be granted access to the latest therapies and medications, even before they’re available to the general public.
To stop excessive sweating from interfering with your daily life, call us at (760) 203-3839 and make an appointment to speak to a dermatologist today.