Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating is one of the most important ways in which the body loses heat; however, people with hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating produce sweat in amounts far greater than needed to control their temperature.
How common is hyperhidrosis?
About 0.5% of the population – or 1 person in 200 – has some form of hyperhidrosis. It usually starts between their teens and twenties.
What can cause hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is caused by over activity of one type of sweat gland, the eccrine gland. These glands are found virtually all over the body surface but they are most frequent on the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet and in the armpits.
Many things can trigger normal sweating and this is also true for hyperhidrosis – it’s just the amount of sweating that is different.
- Heat or cold
- stress, anxiety or strong emotions
- certain times of the day
- Alcohol, coffee or tea, smoking, hot or spicy food
People with hyperhidrosis can produce a large volume of sweat. This means that the armpits may be constantly damp. This can cause embarrassment at work or socially and it may make normal every day activities more difficult to carry out.
What can I do about hyperhidrosis?
Simple self-help measures you can take include:
- Choose clothing that will keep you cool. Natural fibres are cool but they absorb sweat and can remain damp: some synthetic fibres are warm but they sweat away from the body and feel dry. Consider having a change of clothing available in the day.
- Keep your work environment cool and well aired.
- Avoid the food and drinks that trigger sweating; these will be different for everyone and you will probably know what causes problems for you.
- Stress, tension and anxiety are common problems for everyone, though people with hyperhidrosis have the extra difficulties of coping with sweating. Think about how you can reduce stress during the day: plan your activities carefully and make time to relax.
- Odour is normally prevented by frequent washing; although this will not be convenient for people who constantly sweat…
If however you feel that you sweat more than the average person and strong antiperspirants do not suit you, or if your clothing choices or lifestyle becomes restricted, then perhaps a visit to consult with one of our sympathetic nurse specialists might help you explore your treatment options, which may include a simple twice yearly injection, bringing relief from excessive perspiring.
Clients who have had this treatment often comment on what a massive difference it has made to their lives!