Sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself. Everyone sweats, but some do it more than others. This is when your body is kicked into overdrive. This is very embarrassing for us to put it kindly.
Excessive sweating is a real medical condition called hyperhidrosis. The most common type affects an estimated 8 million Americans, or 3 percent of the population. It’s an equal opportunity problem, affecting men and women at about the same rate. People with hyperhidrosis sweat profusely almost all day, every day.
When it comes to our (women) health, the problem can be particularly bad. It could affect your personal relationships, the ability to be productive at work, intimate relationships, leisure activities, and nearly all aspects of life.
What Causes Excessive Sweating? The most common type of excessive sweating is called primary focal hyperhidrosis, the sweating occurs only in specific small areas of the body and is not caused by another medical condition or a medication. The most common areas involved are the armpits, face, palms of the hands, and feet. It often begins in childhood or adolescence and does not usually occur when the person is asleep.
According to statistics, 67 percent of women with excessive sweating seek treatment, while only 32 percent of men with the condition do so. Excessive sweating treatments include:
- Prescription antiperspirants. These formulas contain higher doses of aluminum chloride, which can help you sweat less by plugging sweat ducts. They work under your arms but can also be effective on hands, feet, and the face. Side effects may include skin irritation.
- Injections. When antiperspirants don’t work, botulinium toxin type A (Botox) injections, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), can treat severe underarm sweating. The local injections effectively turn off sweating at the injection site. Botox does not cure excessive sweating; the shots are usually effective for several months and then need to be repeated. Botox is sometimes used to stop sweating in the hands, face, and feet, as well, but side effects like muscle weakness and drooping eyelids have been reported.
- Iontophoresis. This procedure uses a small machine to send a mild electrical current through water and is very effective in treating sweaty palms and feet. It’s believed that the electricity and the minerals in the water work together to slightly thicken the top layer of skin to block the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. Several iontophoresis sessions are needed to help hands and feet sweat less. Eventually, people are put on a maintenance schedule of once a week or once a month, depending on their individual needs.
- Medication. Anticholinergic drugs, like glycopyrrolate (Robinul, Robinul-Forte), help prevent stimulation of the sweat glands. However, doctors are hesitant to prescribe the drugs long-term because of the potential for serious side effects such as confusion, trouble breathing, chest tightness, and memory loss. Beta blockers or benzodiazepines also can help reduce sweating related to stress.
- Surgery. There are two types of surgery. To relieve underarm sweating when other treatments have failed, surgeons sometimes use a surgical procedure to cut out and remove these sweat glands. Another procedure called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy is used to disrupt signals coming from spinal cord nerves to the sweat glands. This is considered a treatment of last resort because of the risk for severe complications.
The FDA has approved a new handheld device to treat severe underarm sweating. It uses electromagnetic energy to break down sweat glands. Called miraDry, it’s available now from trained doctors.
I found a clinical strength deodorant that worked better for me than any other over the counter deodorant. Dove Clinical Protection about $6 at your local pharmacy. Follow the directions and apply it to your underarms at night. This stuff works! I’ve been using it for the past 34 days and my obsessive sweating is no more. This product may not be for everyone, I am merely sharing my experience to let those of you out there know you are not suffering alone. Help is out there if you look for it