WE ALL sweat…. it is an essential process through which our body regulates temperature, but in certain genetically predisposed individuals (1-5% of population) perspiration can get so excessive that it cannot be controlled by even the strongest antiperspirants. In such cases that are sweating bullets constantly the drenched armpits exhibit the tell tale and embarrassing hallmark of “focal excessive sweating”. The prospect of ugly sweat patches appearing on clothes all the time can make any person very self-conscious and constantly battling with such a condition can eventually affect work as well as other social aspects of life. Today we’ll get you comfortable with the condition and introduce you to remedies that are available to function sweat free.
Hyperhidrosis is the medical name for such abnormally excessive sweating. It mostly affects the armpits, hands and feet.
Why I Sweat All The Time? It is thought that the nerves that trigger sweating malfunction causing the sweat glands to produce much more than required. What causes them to malfunction is not clear but up to two thirds of patients have a family history of the disorder suggesting, it may have a genetic cause and the trait usually appears after adolescence.
Secondary hyperhidrosis can also be triggered by some medications such as the antidepressant venlafaxine, the breast cancer treatment tamoxifen, and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone antagonists, a class of drugs used to treat fertility problems and prostate cancer.
Fighting Excessive Sweating
Standard Treatments include strong “prescription-only antiperspirants” and drugs such as propantheline or oxybutynin that work by blocking messages from the nerves that control the sweat glands. Unfortunately side effects of these medications can include a dry mouth, blurred vision, and problems with urination, hence they are not very popular for regular and long term use.
Iontophoresis works by sending low electronic waves through the skin passed through water or a wet pad, which helps to block the sweat glands. Mostly hands and feet are ideally treated by iontophoresis. Treating underarm hyperhidrosis with iontophoresis is not as common (although some people can have success with it) because the skin in the armpits is likely to be irritated by the process and because the physical structure of the underarms makes iontophoresis difficult to accomplish.
Sympathectomy Patients suffering from extreme sweating in some cases undergo an operation known as “Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy”, which involves cutting into both armpits and collapsing the patient’s lung in the process to destroy the nerves activating the sweat glands in the armpit region. This is no doubt a risky surgical procedure and that’s why a very few number of patients opt for such an extreme measure to zap sweating.
Botox Injections have transformed excessive sweat treatment options since the past few years. The procedure works and is quiet safe the only catch here is that the injections have to be repeated two to three times a year and the cost of the procedure is on the expensive side.
Laser Dry is a minimally invasive and relatively quick procedure, which has become quiet popular among hyperhydrosis patients since the past 3-5 years. It takes less than an hour or so to perform, a solution containing a local anesthetic is infused into the fat layer of the skin in the axillary (armpit) area where the sweat glands are located. This fluid numbs the area locally. Next, a laser cannula measuring 2mm in diameter is inserted under the skin. The laser heats and melts the sweat glands and the surrounding fat, permanently reducing the ability of the sweat glands to produce sweat. The recovery from this procedure is quick and post-operative pain minimal. After the procedure patient has to wear a compression garment for 3-4 weeks and exercise is off limited for one week.
MiraDry is a new and quick procedure (1 – 1.5 hours) performed in a medical clinics, and it doesn't involve any surgical incisions or cuts. MiraDry works by delivering precisely controlled electromagnetic energy to the underarm area, eliminating the underarm sweat glands. Following local anaesthetic cream, the glands are suctioned to the surface and then eliminated after being blasted with electromagnetic waves. Patients need one or a maximum of two sessions for sweating to be stopped almost completely for ever. Done under expert hands side effects from Miradry are limited but those undergoing treatment are likely to experience swelling for several days. Patients are advised to put ice packs under their arms and take ibuprofen for 2-3 days.