Treatment Methods – Hyperhidrosis

Sweating is often uncontrollable, awkward and unpredictable. Most of the time, it is hereditary, and can be found nearly in all population groups. People tend not to get accustomed to living with hyperhidrosis and continue to suffer from it all their lives. 

Hyperhidrosis can have some serious physiological consequences such as: cold moist hands, dehydration, skin inflammations, and more. It could also negatively affect the person suffering from it. People who suffer from hyperhidrosis try to change their lifestyle in order to deal with this problem. It manifests in disturbance to professional, academic and social life, and many daily tasks become impossible. Hyperhidrosis is a severe medical problem with negative psychological repercussions. Unfortunately, friends and relatives of people suffering from hyperhidrosis, and even most doctors, do not usually understand the enormous negative effect this situation can have on one’s life. 

There are some tests by which it’s possible to determine whether hyperhidrosis exists. For example, quantitative measurement of sweat secretion, or marking with ink and dusting with talc. Eventually, though, hyperhidrosis diagnosis, from this or other source, is determined by the medical anamnesis and the level of functionality distress the patient is suffering from.

Fortunately, with advances in the medical field, there is a large variety to hyperhidrosis treatment.

Medication, certain deodorants, botox and surgery have been tested for hyperhidrosis treatment. The removal of the endoscopic thoracic sympathetic nerve (or, in short ETS) has been found as the most effective method for hyperhidrosis treatment.

Which treatment is the most suitable? It really depends on where hyper-sweating occurs. Nevertheless, there are still ways to reduce sweating without treatment. First of all, one must avoid situations which could induce sweat, such as stressful situations or warm places. In addition, it’s possible to wear under the clothes an outfit made of absorbing fabric, and in such reduce wetness and embarrassment. Today, it’s possible to find here special sweat pads called iDry, high effective in sweat absorption; they stick to your shirt and absorb sweat. 

Alternatively, you may use invasive treatment. There are several options here, from invasive to surgical. There’re antiperspirants, medications, botox injections, and other options.

One surgical option is called the removal of the sympathetic nerve, also called the endoscopic thoracic sympathetic nerve (or, in short ETS). What’s done in this procedure is the amputation of the sympathetic chain. This method is significantly risky. With this procedure, it’s only possible to cut the nerve gland responsible for the palm, armpit and facial sweat glands. The procedure is as follows: the patient is under full anesthesia, the surgeon performs several single cuts under the armpit. A tiny camera is inserted, enabling the surgeon to spot the correct nerve. The same procedure is repeated on the other side, and the operation takes around 30 minutes. Potential side effects: hyperhidrosis in other areas of the body (as a way of compensation over signals which do not get sent), inability to increase heart rate during physical activity, inability to control body temperature, substantial dryness in palms and feet. 

Another, more successful, surgical possibility is suction of sweat glands. In this procedure, a small pencil-sized incision is performed, through which a tiny tube is inserted. With the tube, the surgeon scrapes and sucks the tiny glands located in the subcutaneous tissue. 

The procedure takes about 45 minutes, and patients often return to work 3-4 days afterwards. According to a survey done in different clinics in the United States, 96% of patients were satisfied by results. For the most part, there are no significant side effects.

Another popular treatment for hyperhidrosis is Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox). Botox is one of the deadliest known toxins, because it is in fact a poison manufactured by bacteria, but in small doses it helps in minimizing impulse transfers, therefore decreases sweating during activity. The procedure is as follows: small doses of pure botulinum toxin are injected into the armpit, the toxin creates a blockage in the nerve tips, which paralyzes the small muscles adjacent to the sweat glands. This action causes the removal of sweat from the skin surface for about 4-6 months, although some patients may continue enjoying results for 12 months. The treatment must be repeated for the sweat suppression continuation. Common side effects of the injections may include flu-like symptoms, light weakness, and temporary sharp pains. In addition, the treatment is expensive, especially considering the fact it is continuous. Botox is the most common treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis, and is not applicable for large surfaces. Botulinum toxin is hardly used for palms and feet, since it may cause temporary weakness of the hand or the foot muscles, and the procedure itself may be painful.

There are also several medications used for hyperhidrosis treatment.

Anti- Cholinergic Medicine (Glycopyrrolate)
These medications usually have too many side effects and mostly aren’t useful against hyperhidrosis. In some cases, for patients who sweat mostly everywhere except for the limbs, this medicine might relieve symptoms without inducing side effects. In addition, the mediation may minimize sweating in certain areas. This is the best chance for reducing hyperhidrosis of the scalp and forehead. 

Medications like Robinul are dehydrating medications chemically drying the sweat glands, which may threaten to stop anything else in your body based on chemical stimulation. It is possible to first begin with small doses and gradually increase dosage until you start to feel dry. The problem is the side effects; some people experience dry eyes, dry mouth, blurry vision, difficulty urinating, and more.

Another way to treat hyperhidrosis is by usage of an electrical device (Iontophoresissr).

This device treats palm and feet hyperhidrosis. In correct usage, adjusted to single situations, there is a very high success percentage (83% according to the American Academy of Dermatology) for people suffering from palms and feet hyperhidrosis

The method uses water to manage moderate electrical current that is transferred through the skin surface. The electrical current is transferred to the skin in order to distort the sweat gland function, and thus prevent hyperhidrosis.

During the procedure, the patient is sitting while only his hands, feet, or both are submerged in a tray filled with water for a short period of time (20-40 minutes), while the device is transferring a gentle electrical current through the water. The procedure is repeated each day for 5 to 10 days, or until the sweat is reduced to a comfortable level. After achieving the desired dryness level, the patient must maintain this procedure starting from once a week to once every 4 weeks (depends on the patient). There are even home devices that can be purchased for treatment in this method, as well as several clinics using these devices.

This method is NOT recommended for pregnant women, people with pace-makers, implants or metal (joint replacements), or epilepsy. Patient must remove all jewelry before usage. Iontophoresissr is not usually recommended for someone with axillary hyperhidrosis, since the armpit skin might get stimulated during the procedure. Patients are usually wary of this method, because it uses electrical current, but the current is not strong enough to cause damage. The procedure may cause slight discomfort, but nothing more than that.

There are also some alternative treatments for hyperhidrosis:

Hypnosis
People who tried hypnosis for hyperhidrosis of palms reported slight improvement.

Psychotherapy
Psychological issues may develop as a result of hyperhidrosis, not vice versa. Psychiatric treatment may assist the patient to deal with hyperhidrosis, but will definitely not cure the disorder. The effect is limited for most patients. Additional Treatment and Alternative Methods:
Alternative medicine, homeopathy, massage, acupuncture, and more. It is difficult to find documents and patients testifying these methods’ significant efficiency.

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