Hyperhidrosis is another term for excessive sweating. Sweating is a normal response from the human body when it is hot. However, hyperhidrosis is when an individual sweats when there is no physical need to do so. It is usually apparent in the underarms, face, feet, and hands and can sometimes interfere with everyday activities. This is when treatment is most important.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis: focal and secondary. Focal hyperhidrosis occurs when sweating is localized to a few body parts and happens with no apparent cause. It typically happens more than once per week and begins during adolescence. Secondary hyperhidrosis means that the sweating is actually a symptom of another problem. The sweating will be less localized, happening all over the body, and often while sleeping. Root causes range from diabetes to gout, hyperthyroidism to menopause, and many more.
Complications from hyperhidrosis tend to be mild if treated effectively but can lead to unpleasant situations. Body odor and maceration (soft, mushy appearance or texture) are two of the most common problems associated with this disorder. However, more serious problems such as athlete’s foot, bacterial or fungal infections, and warts can become issues if an individual with severe hyperhidrosis is not properly treated.
One of the most effective treatments dermatologists utilize is Botox® injections in the affected areas. These injections block the nerves which stimulate sweat production in the treated areas. In more sensitive areas, dermatologists may start with a topical anesthetic to reduce pain at the injection site. These treatments are not permanent and patients will see results for anywhere from 6-12 months before needing additional treatments.