Stop Hyperhidrosis - Prevent Excessive Sweating
Hyperhidrosis - What is it?
While sweating is natural, there are instances where people sweat an abnormally large amount. This can be socially debilitating; as such, it has been classified as a disorder--Hyperhidrosis. Any amount of excessive sweat can be classified as Hyperhidrosis, regardless of cause, but the definition only encompasses the general disorder, not the underlying cause. If you've been afflicted with this condition, then it might be some consolation to know that it's not entirely uncommon: some 3% of the population may be suffering from Hyperhidrosis at any given time.
Understanding the varying causes of this condition, its effects on quality of life, and possible treatment avenues is important. I will be discussing all three below.
Social and Physical Effects of Hyperhidrosis
The excessive sweat associated with Hyperhidrosis can have several negative effects on the afflicted person. While many of them will be social, there are some physical issues associated with excessive sweating. Because of this, being able to keep perspiration under control is important.
The most common issue associated with Hyperhidrosis is an aura of social awkwardness that follows the person suffering. Since sweat is usually associated with nervousness, it makes the sufferer look constantly on-edge or nervous. This makes them harder to approach, and is likely to make any encounter awkward. This can also be self perpetuating--the person becomes nervous because they think they look nervous, which in turn actually causes them to sweat more, which exacerbates the situation. Young people are also more likely to be bullied due to this; likewise, older people are less likely to receive promotions.
While social issues are fairly obvious, Hyperhidrosis also causes significant physical issues. The two main ones are increased risk of dehydration and a decrease in dexterity, due to decreased grip. The first issue is often overlooked, but can have very adverse effects on quality of life. Chronic dehydration is associated with constipation, headaches, joint pain, and respiratory illness. These are even more significant than the social effects mentioned above! Excessive sweating can also, as mentioned, affect dexterity due to decreased grip. This is because the sweat acts as a lubricant, which makes it easier to drop things. This can make it difficult to become a surgeon or an athlete, for example.
The causes of hyperhidrosis can vary from individual to indivdual. They can range from heat and stress to tumors and diabetes. It's advisable to get checked out by your doctor if the excessive sweating started at an abnormal time, specifically long after puberty. Hyperhidrosis, as such, can be further broken down into other classifications, which can help you narrow down the cause: namely, how large of an area is afflicted and the location of the sweating. Excessive sweat on the hands, for example, may have a different cause than excessive sweat on the lower back.
Since it's often difficult to find the underlying cause of Hyperhidrosis, there are a range of treatments that can help with just sweating. None of them are perfect; in fact, a lot are expensive, invasive, and not even guaranteed to work. I'll list the major treatments below.
- Botulin injection: This is a moderately invasive and painful procedure that may need to be repeated several times. Botulin is one of the most toxic substances in the world, and can cause local paralysis. It is used to effectively "paralyze" the sweat glands. It is also very expensive.
- Surgery: We all know the dangers and cost of surgery. The procedure involves disabling parts of the nerve associated with sweating. This is only moderately successful - usually about 80-85% of the time. Not only that, but the surgery can actually, on occasion, make the excessive sweating worse.
- Prescription Antiperspirant: Aluminum chloride, which is the active ingredient in antiperspirants is a skin irritant. Since this is prescription-strength, it contains a higher concentration of the active ingredient and is therefore more likely to cause irritation. Many people forego this option because of that, and it's relative impotency.