Hyperhidrosis Treatment Questions and Answers for New Patients
We all get unpleasantly clammy from time to time. Working out at the gym or spending long days out in the sun can leave us swimming in pools of our own uncomfortable sweat.
If you're suffering from chronic excess sweating, don't be afraid to ask for help. Read on for answers to some of the most common hyperhidrosis treatment questions to get you started.
What Is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is an excessive sweating disorder. People with this condition sweat almost constantly in large amounts, regardless of their environment or activity level. This can lead to serious embarrassment and anxiety over small things like shaking hands and wearing clothes that could show sweat stains.
Estimates suggest that at least 1% of the population is affected by one of the two types of hyperhidrosis. These estimates may be low, though, because of misdiagnosis and underreporting.
What Are the Types of Hyperhidrosis?
Primary hyperhidrosis begins at an early age. It isn't related to any other condition and can appear in otherwise healthy children and teens. While the symptoms can be made worse by stress, heat, and activity, they persist with or without these things.
Sweating in this type is often worse in specific areas, like the hands, feet, or armpits.
Primary hyperhidrosis often begins along with or shortly after puberty. This is due to apocrine gland development at that age, especially in the axillary (armpit) region. It seems to present in men and women equally, though women are more likely to seek help for the condition.
If you develop hyperhidrosis later in life, especially if it affects your whole body in equal measure, you may have secondary hyperhidrosis. This is excess sweating due to another health condition. Illnesses that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis include:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Head trauma
- Endocrine imbalances
This isn't an exhaustive list of causes, nor does it mean that you're certain to develop hyperhidrosis as a result of these conditions. Even so, if you start to show signs of hyperhidrosis as you age, see your GP to rule out any more serious issues.
How Do I Know If I Have Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition, and as such can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Your physician may run a series of blood tests to rule out related conditions. Even so, the diagnosis itself is clinical, meaning it's based on your reporting of symptoms.
Your doctor may have you fill out a questionnaire to determine how much sweating impacts your life. From there, they'll decide if it's severe enough to need treatment.
Is Hyperhidrosis Genetic?
Scientists aren't yet aware of a specific gene for hyperhidrosis. Despite that, having a family member with the condition does increase your chances of developing it as well. The lack of a known genetic link may be due in part to the social stigma attached to sweating, leading people to hide the condition instead of seeking help.
Does Hyperhidrosis Go Away on Its Own?
Some people do seem to grow out of their excess sweating. At the same time, others find that it worsens as they age. If you are still experiencing symptoms that interfere with your life as you enter adulthood, it's time to start treatment.
How Does Hyperhydrosis Treatment Work?
There are quite a few different approaches to treating hyperhidrosis, but not all provide equal results.
Some people's symptoms are mild enough that they can manage them by keeping cool and wearing absorbent or wicking clothing. A clinical strength antiperspirant may also help reduce axillary sweating. Others find some relief by avoiding spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks.
If you need more intervention, your GP may prescribe an oral or topical medication. Other treatments involve lasers, microwaves, and electrical stimulation. These methods may work well for some, but their results aren't consistent across the board.
The most effective non-invasive treatment for primary hyperhidrosis is Botox injections. A licensed clinician will numb the skin before injecting small amounts of Botox into your underarms, hands, or other areas of concern.
The chemicals in Botox interact with those in your glands, blocking them from making as much sweat. You'll see significant results in as few as 1-2 weeks following the treatment.
The downside to Botox is that it isn't a permanent solution. You'll need injections every 6-8 months to maintain their effect. Thankfully, the treatment is fast, carries minimal risk, and doesn't require any recovery time.
Can You Stop Underarm Sweating Permanently?
For severe cases of hyperhidrosis that don't respond to other forms of treatment, a surgical procedure may be the only option. Know as a sympathectomy, it involves cutting the sympathetic nerve to stop the overstimulation of sweat glands.
Like any surgery, it comes with more risks than noninvasive treatments. It's also non-reversible, so you're stuck with the results. As such, a patient should only undergo this procedure if they've tried other remedies to no avail.
What Is the Average Hyperhidrosis Treatment Cost?
The cost of treatment will vary greatly depending on the remedies you choose and the physicians you see. The NHS doesn't consider hyperhidrosis a high-priority treatment, so you may be responsible for the full cost yourself. If you're concerned about being able to afford treatment, talk with your physician in advance about their repayment options.
If You Still Have Hyperhidrosis Treatment Questions, Talk to Your Doctor Today
Hyperhidrosis can be an embarrassing condition, but you shouldn't be ashamed to seek help for it. Talking with your GP or a specialist about your hyperhidrosis treatment questions can help you get started on the road to a life free of excessive sweating.
If you're interested in trying Botox for hyperhidrosis, Dr. Aesthetica Cosmetic Beauty Clinic can help. Our experienced clinicians can help you reduce your sweating with no recovery or downtime. Book an appointment at our Birmingham location to get started.