Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) September 17, 2012
Humans have 2 million to 5 million sweat glands, with an average density of 150 to 340 per square centimeter of skin, a space about one-third the area of a dime.
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition in which a person sweats excessively and unpredictably. People with hyperhidrosis may sweat even when the temperature is cool or when they are at rest. This condition is often embarrassing and with today's treatment choices, virtually unnecessary.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
Sweating helps the body stay cool. In most cases, it is perfectly natural. People sweat more in warm temperatures, when they exercise, or in response to situations that make them nervous, angry, embarrassed, or afraid. There are areas in the country where it's nearly impossible to sweat, such as in the mountains or desert where the air is so dry the perspiration evaporates before it's an issue. But if you live in Miami, there's just no quick solution. Until now.
However, some excessive sweating occurs without such triggers. Those with hyperhidrosis appear to have overactive sweat glands. The uncontrollable sweating can lead to significant discomfort, both physical and emotional.
When excessive sweating affects the hands, feet, and armpits, it's called primary or focal hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis affects 2 - 3% of the population, yet less than 40% of patients with this condition seek medical advice. In the majority of primary hyperhidrosis cases, no cause can be found. It does seem to run in families.
"Medications and prescription antiperspirants like CertainDri can have positive effects," said Dr. Rueckl of Lakes Dermatology in Las Vegas.
Antiperspirants also work. Excessive sweating may be controlled with strong anti-perspirants, which plug the sweat ducts. Products containing 10% to 20% aluminum chloride hexahydrate are the first line of treatment for underarm sweating. Some patients may be prescribed a product containing a higher dose of aluminum chloride, which is applied nightly onto the affected areas. Antiperspirants can cause skin irritation, and large doses of aluminum chloride can damage clothing. Note: Deodorants do not prevent sweating, but are helpful in reducing body odor.
Rueckl continued, "Botox can be used in the scalp for excessive sweating (usually about 75 units or $750) and underarms (usually about 100 units or $1000). I do injections in a grid-like pattern across the area. And a Chiller is used to reduce the pain of the injections along with a topical numbing cream. This treatment is effective within just a day or so, and will last up to a year for most people."
Botox. Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) is FDA approved for the treatment of severe underarm sweating, a condition called primary axillary hyperhidrosis. Small doses of purified botulinum toxin injected into the underarm temporarily block the nerves that stimulate sweating. Side effects include injection-site pain and flu-like symptoms. If you are considering Botox for other areas of excessive sweating talk to your doctor in detail. Botox used for sweating of the palms can cause mild, but temporary weakness and intense pain.
"Botox is really good for people who do several things: 1. lots of work presentations and meetings, where sweating is just plain embarrassing, 2. people who exercise a lot, and 3. people who are on stage - we have some patients who are performers who swear it is the best thing they've done," said Katie Rueckl, office manager for Lakes Dermatology in Las Vegas.
Iontophoresis. This FDA-approved procedure uses electricity to temporarily turn off the sweat gland. It is most effective for sweating of the hands and feet. The hands or feet are placed into water, and then a gentle current of electricity is passed through it. The electricity is gradually increased until the patient feels a light tingling sensation. The therapy lasts about 10-20 minutes and requires several sessions. Side effects include skin cracking and blisters, although rare.
Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS). In severe cases, a minimally-invasive surgical procedure called sympathectomy may be recommended when other treatments fail. The procedure turns off the signal that tells the body to sweat excessively. It is usually done on patients whose palms sweat much more heavily than normal. It may also be used to treat extreme sweating of the face. ETS does not work as well for those with excessive armpit sweating.
Medication. Anticholinergics drugs, such as glycopyrrolate (Robinul, Robinul-Forte), help to prevent the stimulation of sweat glands. Although effective for some patients, these drugs have not been studied as well as other treatments. Side effects include dry mouth, dizziness, and problems with urination. Beta-blockers or benzodiazepines may help reduce stress-related sweating.
If the sweating occurs as a result of another medical condition, it is called secondary hyperhidrosis. The sweating may be all over the body, or it may be in one area. Conditions that cause second hyperhidrosis include:
Certain medications and substances of abuse
Glucose control disorders
Spinal cord injury
Tuberculosis or other infections
International Hyperhidrosis Society, http://www.sweathelp.org
Call your health care provider if you have:
Prolonged, excessive, and unexplained sweating
Sweating with or followed by chest pain or pressure
Sweating with weight loss
Sweating that most often occurs during sleep
Sweating with fever, weight loss, chest pain, shortness of breath, or a rapid, pounding heartbeat - these symptoms may be a sign of an underlying disease, such as hyperthyroidism