Treatments for Excessive Sweating/Hyperhidrosis

For most people sweating occurs very naturally and even though the aftermath seems unappealing, it is perfectly normal. While sweating is a normal process, social norms dictate that visible sweating is unsightly and undesirable. Since the primary function of sweating is the body's way of cooling itself and to remove waste, you would be in big trouble if you didn't sweat. However, with millions of sweat glands covering the human body excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, can become an annoying and often embarrassing medical condition.

Overview

With the hot and humid climate in Central Florida, sweating is a pretty normal thing. Sweat is made up of different elements with the most common being water and salt. Since our body is two-thirds water, we lose a lot of this every day through the natural process of sweating. By sitting on the skin's surface, sweat forms a cooling film as the moisture evaporates and helps keep the body functioning at its normal temperature. Fact is, we even perspire on colder days and at times when our exertion level is low.

Signs and Symptoms

As uncomfortable and smelly as sweat can be, sweating is your system's way of maintaining its normal body temperature, as mentioned earlier. However, people with overactive sweat glands will sweat at levels that are disproportionate to their body's need to maintain a healthy temperature. Patients suffering from this condition called hyperhidrosis most often complain of sweating of the underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis), hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), feet (plantar hyperhidrosis), facial or scalp hyperhidrosis or a combination of excessive axillary, palmar, facial or plantar sweating.

There are two different types of sweat glands. The eccrine glands are the most common sweat glands and are found in parts of the body such as the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Overactive aprocrine glands found in the armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis) are the most common reason that people seek treatment because of the embarrassing underarm staining that occurs to their clothes. Underarm problems tend to start around puberty, while excessive sweating of the hands and feet may begin earlier (often during childhood). Untreated, adult problems related to overactive sweat glands may continue to persist throughout one's lifetime.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The amount of sweating that it takes to be diagnosed with hyperhidrosis varies and depends a lot on what you are doing, e.g. - sweating due to manual labor in a hot climate is quite normal whereas sweat-stained clothes while working in a climate-controlled office is not. When milder treatments with antiperspirants, topical solutions or over-the-counter medications have failed to produce satisfactory results, it may be time to schedule a consultation at our Orlando dermatology practice. Our health care provider can determine if the amount of sweat is excessive and what medical attention you may need to control your symptoms.

There are various ways to treat hyperhidrosis. For some, medications are given to treat the problem. Prescription strength antiperspirants also are used to treat this condition. If all these treatment options fail, your provider may recommend to treat hyperhidrosis with Botox® injections.

Men or women diagnosed with underarm (axillary), hand (palmar), feet (plantar), or a combination of excessive axillary, palmar or plantar sweating/ hyperhidrosis may be good candidates for treatment with Botox®. The procedure typically takes about thirty minutes to complete the treatment and does not require anesthesia. During the procedure, injections of Botox® (FDA-approved neurotoxin) are performed in the area(s) that are overly productive to temporarily block the nerve signals responsible for triggering the sweating response.

NOTE: This treatment is normally covered by insurance, so you should not have to pay anything but the co-pay or deductible. Your insurance carrier’s approval for the procedure may require us to do a precertification prior to administering treatments.

Follow up and Outcomes

Hyperhidrosis treatments with Botox® injections are generally tolerated well. Results are normally noticed within the next few days after injection. You should notice a significant reduction of sweating. Since there is no downtime or specified recovery period, most patients are able to immediately resume their normal activities. Although every patient is different, Botox® injections for the treatment of excessive axillary, palmar or plantar sweating generally last four to six months. Once the effects of the temporary block subside, injections can be repeated with expectations of similar results.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided by this site is intended solely for educational purposes. This information is not to be used for medical diagnostic purposes and is not intended to serve as a recommendation for treatment and/or management of any medical/surgical condition. Most of all, this information should not be used in place of a physician or other qualified health provider. If you believe you have a medical condition, please contact your physician immediately.