Excessive sweating, properly diagnosed as hyperhidrosis, is a real condition that affects a good number of people. It can lead to embarrassment, and while many people put on a large amount of antiperspirant, they may find those common over-the-counter products just aren’t enough to cut it.
You may need to meet with one of your local dermatologists to get officially diagnosed with hyperhidrosis. Once you do, you may find that your insurance will cover some treatment options.
If you deal with excessive sweating, here are a few things you can do to deal with it until you can see a dermatologist for help.
What Is Hyperhidrosis?
If you sweat a lot while you work out or after doing something strenuous, that’s normal. However, if you find yourself excessively sweating every day, when at rest, or so much that your clothing becomes soaked or you can see moisture dripping from your hands, you likely have hyperhidrosis.
This condition causes patients to sweat at any time, regardless of the temperature, the activity the person is doing, or any other outside factor. Typically, the excess sweat comes from the hands, underarms, face, or feet, although any part of the body can produce excessive sweat.
There are a few excessive sweating causes. Sometimes, these causes indicate an underlying condition that needs to be treated, though it is possible for your hyperhidrosis to simply occur on its own. In that case, it can be more difficult to treat since doctors can typically only control the symptoms.
However, it’s important to always work with a medical expert because there may be a number of different treatment options for your particular situation.
Some of the underlying conditions that can cause hyperhidrosis include heart attack, infection, thyroid conditions, menopause, and some specific types of cancer.
Get the Underlying Cause Under Control
If you are dealing with secondary hyperhidrosis that is caused by something such as infection, thyroid conditions, or other health issues, getting that underlying cause under control should reduce or even eliminate your hyperhidrosis.
This could take some time, of course, so you may need to look at using other methods to control your sweating while you work with a doctor on the underlying condition.
The First Step Is to Try Antiperspirants
While, as mentioned earlier, you may find that antiperspirants aren’t enough or can’t be used where you need them to be (such as on your hands), it is a good place to begin your treatment. Typical deodorants may claim to function as an antiperspirant, and they can usually help with normal sweating.
However, with hyperhidrosis, you need to look for a pure antiperspirant designed for excessive sweat. Look for products marked as clinical strength.
Put the antiperspirant on at night instead of in the morning, although you can use it again along with your deodorant. The reason why you should try it at night is that’s when your sweat glands aren’t as active. They will absorb the aluminum chloride or other active ingredient in the product better because there isn’t as much sweat pushing out of the glands.
Prescription Medications May Also Help
There are prescription medications, typically either high-powered antiperspirants or creams, that can also help control hyperhidrosis. These creams usually feature glycopyrrolate as the active ingredient. They are a good option for those who have excessive sweating on their head or face and want to get it under control.
There is another type of medication that may work for you depending on what is behind your excessive sweating. These medications actually block the signals that specific nerves send to communicate.
By blocking these, the nerves do not convey the signals that cause sweat glands to release sweat. However, like with most medications, there can be some side effects from this option.
You will want to discuss these side effects with a medical expert before you begin using this treatment. Some medications designed to treat depression may also help with sweating, especially for those who also deal with anxiety and sweat when put in specific situations.
Look for Moisture-Wicking Clothing
If you deal with excessive underarm sweating, you may want to add some moisture-wicking undershirts to your wardrobe. These shirts are made out of special fabrics that are able to wick away the sweat from your body. Buy them in dark colors, too, to avoid any stains.
Fabrics to look for include polypropylene, nylon, and polyester. Avoid cotton, which is not a breathable fabric, and any overly heavy or warm fabrics.
Consider Shaving Your Armpits
While women may not have any issue with this, some men may hesitate at this excessive sweating treatment. However, removing the hair from under your arms can help decrease the symptoms of hyperhidrosis. Hair holds in the moisture, causing more of it to accumulate. It can also hold in odor.
If you are dealing with body odor as well as heavy moisture, you should seriously consider shaving this hair off. Doing so will also help improve the amount of antiperspirant that reaches your skin.
Let Your Body Fully Dry After a Shower
If you notice that you start sweating as soon as you get dressed after you shower, you may need to wait a few minutes before getting dressed so your body can completely dry off. Take about five minutes or until your body feels fully dry before you get dressed. This is especially important if you live in a warm or humid area or if you take fairly hot showers.
Watch What You Eat
While there may not be a direct connection between primary hyperhidrosis and food, there is a connection between regular sweating and certain food. You don’t want to add any extra sweating to what you’re already dealing with, so you should aim to avoid eating foods that will cause the body to sweat.
This includes anything spicy like hot peppers. Your body will recognize the heat in these foods and add extra sweat to try to help cool you down.
You also want to avoid caffeine because it can stimulate the adrenal glands, which, in turn, stimulate the production of sweat. On the other hand, do drink a good amount of water. This is important for two reasons.
First, it will cool down your body so it will not feel the need to release additional sweat. Second, excessive sweating does mean your body is losing a good amount of moisture. It is very easy to become dehydrated, which can lead to a number of health issues.
Most people know Botox as a treatment for reducing wrinkles and other signs of aging. However, Botox can also be used to treat excessive sweating. It is FDA-approved for this use and has been studied extensively for safety.
During this procedure, Botox is injected into the pores of your underarms. It can also be injected into the bottoms of your feet or your palms if you deal with excessive sweating in those areas.
Botox helps with hyperhidrosis by preventing nerves from releasing signals that tell the glands to sweat. Over time, however, the injected Botox does break down. Those who use this method to control their excessive sweating may need to have several injections annually.
Iontophoresis is Another Treatment Option
Another type of treatment is called iontophoresis. This treatment uses water and a very low electrical current. You submerge your hands or feet in the water—this treatment is only an option for those with excessive sweating on these two body parts.
The current is so low that you will not feel shocked. However, once you have gone through several iontophoresis treatments, you may find that your skin no longer sweats as much.
Medical experts are actually not certain why iontophoresis has this effect. One leading theory is that the current makes it difficult for the sweat to reach the surface of the skin. However, while there may not be a full explanation of how it works, it has been fully studied.
There are some individuals who should not make use of this treatment: pregnant women, those with metal implants such as replacement joints or pacemakers, and those who have epilepsy cannot make use of iontophoresis.
Typically considered the last resort, there are actually a few surgical options for those who suffer from excessive sweating. The first involves scraping, draining, or even cutting into the sweat glands.
The second option is an endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. Here, the nerves in the armpit that control the sweat glands are cut. This surgery cannot be reversed, though, so it is rarely used. It also usually causes the body to begin sweating in other areas to keep cool. This means you may continue to excessively sweat in other parts of the body.
These are just a few different options that may help you deal with your excessive sweating. Whether it’s caused by an underlying condition or is a stand-alone issue, it’s not hopeless. There are many different ways of treating excessive sweating.
You can begin with using over-the-counter options while you make an appointment with a medical expert.