Excessive sweating is a symptom of hyperhidrosis, which is also known as polyhidrosis or sudorrhea. Sweating can affect a single part of the body or the entire body.
Although it is rarely life threatening, it can be unpleasant and cause shame as well as psychological damage.
We'll look at the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of hyperhidrosis in this post.
Hyperhidrosis in a nutshell
- Hyperhidrosis usually starts in adolescence and lasts till adulthood.
- Hyperhidrosis affects an estimated 7.8 million people in the United States.
- The feet, hands, face, and armpits are the most commonly affected areas.
- There are a lot of treatments that can help to alleviate symptoms.
What is hyperhidrosis?
The sweat glands in your body overreact in hyperhidrosis. This excessive activity causes you to perspire profusely at times and places where others would not.
Excessive sweating can be caused by a physical condition or an emotion (such as nervousness). Controlling symptoms can be a persistent issue for many people with hyperhidrosis.
When excessive sweating is localized, it is called focal hyperhidrosis. Palmoplantar hyperhidrosis, for example, is excessive sweating of the palms and soles.
Excessive sweating involves the entire body in generalised hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis can occur later in life or be present from birth. Excessive sweating, on the other hand, usually begins in a person's adolescent years. The condition could be caused by an underlying health problem, or it could be caused by nothing at all.
Primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis:
"Idiopathic" refers to a condition that has no known cause. The majority of hyperhidrosis instances are localised.
Secondary hyperhidrosis occurs when a person sweats excessively as a result of a medical condition such as obesity, gout, menopause, a tumor, mercury poisoning, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland).
What is the prevalence of hyperhidrosis?
According to estimates, hyperhidrosis affects between 2% and 5% of people in the United States. That number, however, could be higher. Many people who sweat a lot don't talk about their symptoms or inform their doctor about them. As a result, it's difficult to estimate how many people are affected by hyperhidrosis.
What causes excessive sweating?
Sweating is how your body cools down when it gets too hot (for example, when you're exercising, unwell, or stressed). Nerves signal your sweat glands to begin producing perspiration. Certain sweat glands work overtime for no apparent reason in hyperhidrosis, creating sweat that you don't need.
The following are common causes of focal hyperhidrosis:
- Citric acid, coffee, chocolate, peanut butter, and spices are examples of scents and meals.
- Anxiety, in particular, is a form of emotional tension.
- Injury to the spinal cord.
Hyperhidrosis can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Dysautonomia is a term used to describe a condition in which (autonomic dysfunction).
- Heat, humidity, and physical activity are all factors to consider.
- Tuberculosis, for example, is an infection.
- Hodgkin's disease, for example, is a type of malignancy (cancer of the lymphatic system).
- Hyperthyroidism, diabetes, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), pheochromocytoma (a benign tumour in the adrenal glands), gout, and pituitary illness are all metabolic diseases and disorders.
- Psychologically, you're in a lot of trouble.
- Certain antidepressants (bupropion or Wellbutrin) and insulins (Humulin R) are examples of prescription medications.
Secondary hyperhidrosis occurs when you sweat more than usual due to a medical condition or medicine. In focal hyperhidrosis, medical specialists haven't figured out why the body produces so much sweat.
Is hyperhidrosis a trait that can be passed down across generations?
Focal hyperhidrosis appears to run in families, implying a genetic basis. While it's typical for numerous family members to experience hyperhidrosis, you might not be aware of it. This is because many people with hyperhidrosis are uncomfortable discussing their symptoms.
What are the signs and symptoms of hyperhidrosis?
The intensity of hyperhidrosis symptoms and their influence on your life can vary greatly. Minor symptoms can fluctuate for a long time. Excessive perspiration may also be a daily struggle, a source of irritation and uncertainty.
Different people are affected by hyperhidrosis in different ways. Sweat has the potential to:
- Under your arms or around your back, create a pool.
- Soak your shirt to the point where you need to change into something more comfortable.
- Make a bead on the inside of your cheekbones or the top of your head.
- Soak your socks or let water drip down your hands.
Sweating excessively can also cause:
- When perspiration irritates the affected area, it causes itching and inflammation.
- When bacteria on the skin interacts with sweat particles, body odour develops.
- Sweat, microbes, and chemicals (deodorants) leave residue on clothing that leaves visible marks.
- Paleness or other discoloration of the skin, as well as fissures or wrinkles, are all signs of ageing.
- The soles of your feet have maceration (unusually soft or dissolving skin).
The type of hyperhidrosis you have may be determined by your symptoms. Focal hyperhidrosis causes excessive sweating on both sides of the body (both hands or feet). Night sweats are not a symptom of focal hyperhidrosis, and they do not go away without therapy. Sweating can occur when asleep in those with generalised hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis affects which regions of the body?
If you have generalised hyperhidrosis, you will sweat all over. The following areas are commonly affected by focal hyperhidrosis:
- Armpits are a part of human anatomy (axillary hyperhidrosis).
- The soles (bottoms) of the feet (plantar hyperhidrosis).
- The cheeks and forehead are included in the face.
- Back of the neck
- The palms (undersides) of the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis).
Why does perspiration stink?
Sweat has no odour and is largely made up of water. When bacteria on the skin come into contact with sweat droplets, sweat can generate a distinct body odour. The chemicals that make up sweat are broken down by bacteria. The bacteria at work gives off a strong odour. There are no sweat sprays that can help with moderate situations.
How is hyperhidrosis diagnosed?
Initially, a doctor may run blood and urine tests to rule out any underlying disorders, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Patients will be questioned about their sweating patterns, including which portions of their bodies are affected, how frequently sweating episodes occur, and whether sweating happens when sleeping.
The patient may be asked a series of questions or be required to complete a questionnaire regarding the effects of excessive sweating; questions could include:
- Do you have any supplies on hand to deal with sweaty episodes, such as napkins, antiperspirants, towels?
- When you're out in public, does hyperhidrosis affect your conduct or mental state?
- Has your hyperhidrosis had any impact on your job?
- Have you ever had to say goodbye to a buddy because of hyperhidrosis?
- How frequently do you change your outfit?
- How often do you wash your clothes or take a bath or shower?
- How frequently do you consider excessive sweating?
Do I need to get tested to see if I have hyperhidrosis?
One or more tests may be required to determine what is causing your body to sweat excessively. A blood or urine test can either confirm or rule out a medical issue.
Your doctor may also suggest a test to determine how much sweat your body produces. These tests include the following:
- Starch-iodine test: Your doctor will apply an iodine solution to the sweating region and then sprinkle starch on top of the iodine solution. The solution turns dark blue when there is excessive perspiration.
- Paper test: A specific paper is placed on the affected area to absorb perspiration in a paper test. Your supplier will then weigh the paper to see how much you sweated.
Is hyperhidrosis curable?
Focal hyperhidrosis has no known treatment. The goal of treatment is to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
The underlying condition will determine how your healthcare practitioner treats secondary hyperhidrosis. Excessive sweating usually stops after the source of excessive sweating is identified and treated.
If left untreated, hyperhidrosis can lead to complications.
- Nail infections, particularly toenail infections, are common.
- Warts are skin growths produced by the human papillomavirus (HPV) (human papillomavirus).
- Bacterial infections are particularly common near hair follicles and between the toes.
- Heat rash (miliaria, prickly heat): An itchy, red skin rash with a stinging or prickling feeling. Sweat ducts get blocked and perspiration is trapped beneath the skin, resulting in heat rash.
- Excessive sweating can have a psychological influence on a patient's self-esteem, career, and relationships. Anxiety, mental stress, social withdrawal, and even depression may occur in some people.
What is the treatment for hyperhidrosis?
For hyperhidrosis treatment, your health care provider may send you to a dermatologist (skin expert). Your doctor will inquire about your symptoms (such as where and how often you sweat) as well as your overall health. The doctor may begin by advising you to make lifestyle modifications or use drugs.
Natural treatments for excessive sweating
Changes in everyday activity and lifestyle may assist in alleviating symptoms:
Changes in your lifestyle(such as showering more frequently or wearing breathable textiles) may help to alleviate minor hyperhidrosis symptoms. Your doctor will go through all of your treatment options with you and help you decide which is best for you.
AntiperspirantsDeodorants do not prevent perspiration, but some of the best antiperspirants for excessive sweating do. Aluminum chloride, which blocks sweat glands, is found in certain prescription antiperspirants.
Armpit shieldsThese are pads worn in the armpit to keep perspiration out of a garment.
ClothingSynthetic fabrics, such as nylon, might exacerbate symptoms. It is preferable to wear loose clothing.
ShoesSynthetic materials in shoes are more likely to aggravate symptoms. Leather and other natural materials are recommended.
SocksSome socks, such as thick, soft ones made of natural fibres, are better at absorbing moisture.
Oral MedicationAnticholinergic medicines (glycopyrrolate and oxybutynin) can improve the effectiveness of aluminum-based antiperspirants. Blurred eyesight and difficulty peeing are two possible side effects. Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant to help you stop sweating while also relaxing your nerves. Your healthcare provider may also recommend beta blockers.
If these steps do not work, medical therapy may be necessary.
Products for hyperhidrosis and armpit shields can be purchased on the internet.
What happens if my symptoms aren't improved by medications or lifestyle changes?
A Few Amazing Sweat-Stopper Ideas
It an assist women going through menopause find relief from day and night sweats, general sweating, and sleep difficulties, according to the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The results were visible after just 15 minutes of acupuncture per week for 3 to 6 weeks. While the BMJ study only looked at menopausal women, research published in the journal Autonomic Neuroscience indicated that acupuncture can help people with stress-induced perspiration.
A surprise benefit of having ink is that many people notice a significant reduction in sweating at the site of their tattoo. Tattooed skin produces around half as much perspiration as non-tattooed skin, according to a small study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. For most individuals, it's not feasible for everyday sweat alleviation, but it's still interesting. Theories about why tattoos can cause site-specific perspiration reduction are related to today's third surprise sweat-stopper, which is discussed further down. (By the way, if you're thinking of getting a tattoo for any reason, consult a dermatologist first and take these crucial dangers and precautions into account.)
which ranges from shaving to lasers, has been shown to make skin feel drier. Sweat has a higher volume and odour, and it tends to linger around longer where there is hair. Shaving can help perspiration dry faster and make antiperspirant application easier. Sweat glands and hair follicles can both be zapped by laser hair removal. Similarly, miraDry, a thermal energy device, kills both sweat glands and hair follicles.
Antiperspirants have found their way into morning routines. However, using antiperspirants before bed will have the biggest sweat-stopping effect. People sweat the least at night, giving an antiperspirant's active components time to develop superficial plugs. in your sweat ducts overnight. When perspiration resumes in the morning, these plugs are ready to stop sweating. When an antiperspirant is applied to sweaty skin in the morning, sweat simply washes the product away before it can begin to act. Antiperspirants applied to moist or wet skin might cause irritation and itching. Antiperspirants can also reduce sweating in other parts of the body. Simply test your product on a tiny area first to ensure that it does not irritate – especially on delicate areas.
Caffeine addicts, apologies, but your habits aren't assisting you in your search for dryness. The same can be said about spicy foods. Caffeine (hot or cold) and spices can activate the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which stimulates sweating. To test if it makes a difference, try altering your intake and keeping track of your perspiration.
More specialist therapies may be recommended by your doctor.
It is a technique that involves immersing your hands or feet in a shallow tank of tap water. A little electrical current is passed through the water via a specific gadget, which blocks sweat glands over time. It takes 10 to 20 minutes for each treatment. It's possible that you'll require more than one therapy session. The equipment may be covered by insurance, allowing you to complete the therapy at home.
Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections
Injecting botulinum toxin (Botox) injections into an overactive nerve will temporarily reduce sweat production. Treatments are pricey and must be repeated.
A high-tech device (named MiraDry®) is placed against the afflicted area by your practitioner. The device produces thermal energy (heat), which permanently damages sweat glands. This one-hour procedure is done in the provider's office. It has the ability to permanently minimise underarm sweating.
After 9 years of suffering from hyperhidrosis, the average person seeks medical care. It's critical to get the word out that excessive perspiration can be efficiently managed.
Sweating is a natural process that has a purpose. If you feel the necessity, there are ways to lessen sweating or hide its effects. Consult your doctor if you notice you're sweating excessively.