Hyperhidrosis is a condition of excessive sweating that affects the quality of life of nearly 1 million Canadians.
Excessive sweating can occur in any part of the body but is most common in the underarms, hands and feet; less commonly in the groin, scalp, and back, to name a few. While it is normal to sweat to evaporate heat, excessive sweating is not normal. Although the exact cause is unknown, it appears that the nerves that control sweating become overactive. People are often surprised to learn that you can reduce sweating without harming the body. There are two main kinds of sweating: thermogenic and neurogenic. Thermogenic sweating exists to evaporate heat from the body so it doesn’t overheat. Neurogenic sweating occurs because of stimulation of the nerves.
There are also two main types of hyperhidrosis: Primary and Secondary.
Primary hyperhidrosis usually occurs at a younger age and is more related to your genetic makeup (it’s just the way you were made), unlike secondary hyperhidrosis which usually occurs later on and can be caused by such things as diabetes, hormone disturbance or medication use.
The two subtypes of hyperhidrosis, focal and generalized. Focal sweating usually affects one or two areas, while generalized can occur all over the body, from the head down to the feet.
There are multiple treatment options for hyperhidrosis and the best choice depends upon the type and severity of sweating. If the sweating started when you were young, it is likely that you have primary hyperhidrosis. If it started later in life, it could be secondary. Simple things like reducing caffeine intake and achieving ideal body weight can improve symptoms. If one has secondary hyperhidrosis, then fixing the underlying cause will cure the sweating. On the other hand, primary hyperhidrosis is part of your biological make up, so medical intervention is usually needed. One can start with simple topical antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride and this can be effective in mild cases. Iontophoresis uses a low intensity electrical current to reduce sweating which I find most useful for hands and feet. Oral medication can be effective especially for generalized primary hyperhidrosis, but can have unpleasant side effects including weight gain, dry mouth and unsteadiness. Thankfully most insurance plans cover the cost of treatment. Surgery is the last treatment option and is reserved nowadays for the most severe cases that don’t respond to any of the other treatments.
Contact our office at 905-790-6644 to book a consultation to assess your needs and create an effective treatment plan.