Excessive sweating affects millions of people worldwide and can be very embarrassing. Aside from embarrassment and discomfort, it can also stain clothes, ruin your romantic life and even limit your day to day social interaction. In some severe cases it can even make people quit their jobs. There are several unknown causes of excessive sweating, so treatment is not always successful. However there are several ways to help control and manage excessive sweating and live a more comfortable life. We’ll try to suggest some options on how to not sweat.
Medical term for excessive sweating is called as hyperhidrosis. Excessive sweating of the underarms is called axillary hyperhidrosis and those of palm and soles is called palmoplantar hyperhidrosis. Palm and soles sweating can start as early as 12 (on average) while underarms sweating occur later during late adolescence, both may continue throughout life.
Get checked for systemic disease
Most cases of hyperhidrosis starts during early life, however when it starts after thirties, it might be due to systemic cause. Make no mistake to consult a dermatologist and exclude all possible systemic cause for excessive sweating. When your dermatologist gives you green light then you can proceed with other symptomatic treatment.
Loose fitting clothes and breathable shoes: Try to wear clothes with a loose weave, such as clothes made of linen. Wear shoes that have absorbent insoles and holes in the soles so your feet can breathe easily.
Lose weight: Obesity is one of the causes of excessive sweating; losing weight might help decrease excessive sweating.
Regular bath: Bathing twice daily with cool water might help reduce excessive sweating and odor associated with it.
Avoid alcohol: If you drink alcohol, avoid it. Chronic alcoholic tends to sweat much more than normal people.
There are several over the counter antiperspirants available in the market which might be helpful for some people with mild cases of sweating. When these regular OTC antiperspirants fail, you may use prescription antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride. For best result it must be applied every night for at-least 10 days then may be decreased gradually to 2-3 times to once a week maintenance dose. This might work wonder for underarm sweating but not effective for palm and soles sweating.
Glutaraldehyde solution is another option for excessive sweating. It can be used in concentration of 2% as Cidex every night for 2-3 weeks. For palm and feet, concentration can be increased to 5-10% for effective result. Glutaraldehyde solution is not as effective but is less staining than other solution.
Oral anticholinergic medications may also be prescribed by your doctor. Individuals who work outdoors and athletes should avoid such medications as your body needs to sweat to maintain body temperature. Unable to sweat means your body is unable to rapid cool.
Botulinum toxin (Botox), has also been used as a temporarily remedy for excessive underarms sweating and palmoplantar sweating. Results are good but its expensive therapy and might last 4-6 months, which means it has to be repeated every 4-6 months.
Iontophoresis has also been used widely with mixed results. This involves a device which passes low direct electricity across the skin. It is more effective for excessive sweating on palms and soles. In some cases it can be so effective that single session iontophoresis might reduce more than 80% of the sweating. In most cases several session are required. Please consult your dermatologist before you go for iontophoresis machines.
One may also try acupuncture, hypnosis and yoga. This can also help with excessive sweating especially those due to stress and anxiety.
Subcutaneous liposuction is another method for removing the sweat glands that are responsible for axillary hyperhidrosis. Compared with sympathectomy, this option has fewer side effects.
When nothing is working, the last resort is to go for surgery. A procedure called thoracic sympathectomy can be performed as a permanent cure for excessive sweating. It involves destruction of sympathetic nerves responsible for sweating. Although it is very effective methods it has some risks too.
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