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Excessive Sweating

Learn about hyperhidrosis

Everyone sweats, but for about 1 in every 20 people, sweating is profuse and often embarrassing. Excessive sweating, technically referred to as hyperhidrosis (also hyperhydrosis), most commonly affects the face or forehead, the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Some people also suffer from excessive underarm sweating.

At its worst, excessive sweating can impair a person's ability to perform certain tasks and may even hinder their job performance. Even at best, however, excessive sweating is embarrassing and can be detrimental to one's self-esteem, drastically diminishing their quality of life.

Causes of Excessive Sweating

Excessive sweating can be caused by a number of medical conditions, including diabetes and adrenal disorders. Obesity may also be factor, particularly in excessive armpit sweating. Anxiety is rarely the underlying cause of excessive sweating, but it can be a trigger. This poses a real problem for sufferers of hyperhidrosis – they get nervous because they are sweating, and the nervousness causes them to sweat even more.

Complications of Excessive Sweating

Aside from the social and emotional ramifications of excessive sweating, it can also have a negative impact on one's physical health. Excessive foot sweating can lead to blisters, rashes and athlete's foot, not to mention strong foot odor. Excessive facial sweating can contribute to problems with acne. While not serious, these additional physical ailments can be painful and may compound the embarrassment sufferers feel in social situations.

Treatment for Excessive Sweating

There are treatments available for excessive sweating, which range from medication to extensive surgical procedures. Traditional treatments for excessive sweating include topical application of clinical-strength antiperspirants, use of electric currents to minimize sweating or removal of the sweat glands through a surgical procedure. These methods can cause side effects such as swelling within the body and rebound sweating (sweating in other areas of the body that have not been treated).

Medications such as anticholinergenics can aid in the treatment of hyperhidrosis, blocking the neural transmitters that control sweating in the body. However, these medications are associated with negative side effects, such as: bloating, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation and other digestive side effects. For this reason, many people choose to discontinue the medication in search of an alternate treatment.

Recent developments have shown the benefits of Botox for treating excessive sweating, as it blocks the sweat glands and completely stops sweating in the area that has been treated.

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