Too Much Sweating Can Be Treated and Stopped
Summer is the season when we sweat the most – high temps and humidity will do that – but there are many people who face problems with perspiration that has nothing to do with the weather.
“It more widespread than most people realize,” said Heidi Furth, CNP, advanced practice provider with Avera Medical Group Dermatology. “Several people come in each week for help, and they range from 14 year-old girls to 60-year-old men.”
Finding the root cause of excessive sweating – also called hyperhidrosis – can be baffling. If you have it, you may experience overly moist hands, feet or underarms. If it’s causing you to avoid wearing certain color clothes (because they'll show perspiration), pack spare shirts or avoid handshakes – Furth said it’s time to get evaluated.
“The exam is straightforward and focuses on your interview,” she said. “We may look at the skin for inflammation or infection. In most cases, the treatment will focus directly on the sweat glands that are causing the problems.”
The unpleasant nature of clammy, wet hands or damp socks can make many people shutter themselves away because of how it looks for feels.
“Excessive sweating is usually not a secondary symptom of any overarching condition. There is some evidence to support that sweating and thyroid conditions are related, but typically this condition isn’t driven by what you eat, drink or do,” Furth said.
One effective treatment is Botox injections.
Once you meet with your provider and excessive sweating is diagnosed, this approach involves a grid of small injections where sweating occurs. Furth said the procedure is brief — in the case of underarms the treatment can be completed in less than ten minutes.
“We have found that many insurance plans will cover this approach, which makes a difference,” she said. “The injections work best in the underarm area, and they greatly reduce sweating for about six months before the effectiveness subsides.”
Prescription-strength antiperspirants and medications also are effective tools your dermatology team can employ if Botox doesn’t appeal to you. Botox is the brand name of botulinum toxin, bacteria that in other forms can cause food poisoning. Highly refined and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it’s now used in a wide range of medical scenarios.
Furth said when all other options are exhausted there are surgical remedies that directly address the over-achieving sweat glands that may make simple tasks like reading a book or writing with a pen on paper difficult.
“We have great success with a number of our treatments and really hope people who have endured this will seek out help,” she said. “If excessive sweating is altering the way you live your life, we can help you find a solution.”