What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition in which a person sweats excessively and unpredictably. People with hyperhidrosis may sweat even when the temperature is cool or when they are at rest.
Where does Hyperhidrosis cause sweating?
Anywhere on the body with sweat glands, which basically means your entire body. Did you know you even have sweat glands in your ear canal?
What problems does Hyperhidrosis cause?
For me, it causes social awkwardness in situations where you are trying to get to know people. Imagine trying to talk to everyone, wanting to join in activities or even talk to someone that peaks your interests and you start sweating like crazy for no reason. This link is pretty accurate in describing the issues I’ve experienced and I’m sure you have as well, http://www.sweathelp.org/en/home/diagnosing-hyperhidrosis.html
What kinds of Hyperhidrosis are there? What do you have?
I have primary focal hyperhidrosis. This basically means my sweating isn’t caused by medication or another medical condition (weight, thyroid, etc) which is what secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is. Focal is caused by anxiety, nervousness, a certain smell, familiar setting or even nothing at all. I know it sounds odd, but I can be sitting down, minding my own business, then start sweating out of nowhere. On the other hand, I can be in the hot sun walking around and not a single bead of sweat will appear.
How long have you had Hyperhidrosis?
I first noticed excessive sweating at about 8 years old. It could have been younger than that, but it was definitely around that age. I was outside, at school on the playground, and it was cold, but yet I was sweating profusely from my head and body. To this day, I still have hyperhidrosis 22 years later.
Where do you sweat?
I sweat from my back, chest, head and face and once in awhile, armpits. When I sweat badly, my shirt is soaked and my face looks like I just did crossfit for an hour. It comes when it wants and goes when it wants.
How has hyperhidrosis affected your life?
I’ve always been a laid back, funny type of person. I have a ton of friends and family and am like any other person out there. However, because of the sweating I’ve always steered away from hanging out with people at certain events that I knew I would sweat badly. For example, at a party where theres a ton of people, I would sometimes seclude myself to a certain section of the party and not interact. I could be at a restaurant with expectations I’ll be eating there and enjoying myself, but I have to get it to go or completely leave because I start sweating and can’t stop. Another example could be I’m out with friends, and the mood is ruined because I’m angry or sad that I’m sweating and feel like just leaving. I think overall it’s really been detrimental with my social interactions with others and overall has stopped me from doing certain things in life.
How do you know you have hyperhidrosis, did you get medical advice?
Yes, I’ve spoken to multiple doctors in person and also talked to doctors online in other states describing my symptoms. They all provided me with advice and the same treatments for my issue. Sweating may not sound like an issue for most, but for people who suffer from it severely like myself, it can really mold your life and limit what you can and can’t do. You should also seek medical advice and opinions from your friends and family. I also knew that I had it when finding out my father had it during his kid/teen years. His symptoms subsided in his mid 20s however.
Have you ever spoken to an endocrinologist?
I have never seen an endocrinologist. I have done very little research on this but have been recommended to do so. I felt personally that this route would not work for me and opted for other alternatives as I know what tends to work for me and what doesn’t.
What websites would you recommend to help me figure out what I need to do?
Honestly, sweathelp.org covers pretty much all the bases and is why I’ve religiously linked most of my answers to their site. There are many other sites you can visit, but collectively sweathelp is it. I have no affiliation with them by the way, I’m just a guy who is trying to help others.
What are some studies done on Hyperhidrosis?
There are actually a lot of studies done on the illness itself. If you’re looking for more information on treatments, studies, solutions, causes and things of those sorts in general, visit http://www.sweathelp.org/en/home/scientific-literature2.html. There are many articles there that talk about tests done with electro-therapy, botox injections, placebo, surgery and what not. However, here are some select ones I liked to help you streamline that massive amounts of articles directly focused on primary focal hyperhidrosis and the disease/illness itself. Also, please be aware this is very “dry” material and is rather dated looking, but if you can bare it, it’s worth your time. Links here http://www.sweathelp.org/pdf/Hill%20(2012)%20-%20A%20Review_Primary_Management.pdf. http://www.sweathelp.org/pdf/Haider%20study%20(2%E2%80%A6perhidrosis.pdf.
I would also recommend seeing a dermatologist after your primary physician. Your primary doctor isn’t an expert in this specific field, and you’re probably not going to get lucky that he or she happens to fiddle with hyperhidrosis specifically in their off time. It can be rather draining seeking multiple opinions from doctors, but seeking the right solution for you is worth it, isn’t it?
Should I see my primary doctor or a specialist?
You should see your primary doctor to discuss your symptoms. Before coming to your doctor, evaluate your symptoms, events that have occurred where you remember sweating and your first memory of it happening. You want to ensure that you’re not providing the wrong information to your doctor. You are also helping yourself understanding “why” you sweat or what causes you to sweat. This will help your doctor understand what you’re going through and how important it is to you.
Can I use sprays for Hyperhidrosis?
First off, here is a matrix to what you can do for your specific type of sweating http://www.sweathelp.org/en/hyperhidrosis-treatments/treatment-overview.html. For people with underarm and facial/head sweating you can use topical sprays such as Hydrosol or Odaban. I tried using Odaban knowing I have sensitive head/face skin and the results were burning and thrown into a trashcan. I have not tried any other sprays or roll-ons, but my experience shouldn’t deter others to give it a shot. From what I understand, topical treatments need to have 15% - 30% or more of aluminum chloride hexahydrate to be effective and last on average 1-3 weeks. The easiest way to apply this is right after you shower at night. I suggest using a blanket on your pillow to protect it from the medicine, apply it when dry and have a fan in your room to keep you cool while you sleep. If you want to try it, go on Amazon and type “sweat stop” and you’ll be presented with many options. You could also try Googling either product online, then search for promo/discount codes to see if it’s cheaper than Amazon.
How about Laser treatments?
Lasers can be used to basically kill your sweat glands if you’re into the idea of that. I mean, it’s a solution but obviously I would still like my body to sweat when it needs to.. Link here http://www.sweathelp.org/pdf/Maletic(2011)-Laser.pdf.
How about microwave technology?
You can also opt for microwave technology for people with armpit sweat. This seems safer and less detrimental than the laser option, however microwaving my skin is not something I would opt for. In any case, it would not help the kind of sweating I experience anyways. Links here http://www.sweathelp.org/pdf/Jacob_Microwave_Technology.pdf and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23713761.
Does iontophoresis work for treating hyperhidrosis?
Iontophoresis is a low-level conduction of electricity via water and can be used for feet and hand sweat. Since my symptoms do not affect these regions, I have never tried it. I have seen many kits sold online, primarily from UK companies. The research I’ve done on iontophoresis seem to be promising and effective. However, the effects are short lived and if you have extreme symptoms it’s really not worth it. Link here http://www.healthline.com/health/iontophoresis#Overview1.
Can I use Botox to treat my sweating?
Botox is also used to treat sweating but this doesn’t work in all places of the body. Personally, I feel that there are better alternatives like topical creams that are better options.
What about other alternative surgeries?
From what I undertstand, the other types of surgeries will kill your sweat glands by slicing/scraping them dead. Some also use a form of liposuction with lasers and other tools. If you’re sweating is under the arms then this may be an option, but if you suffer from all around sweating, skip it. Link here http://excessivesweatingbreakthroughs.org/superficial-liposuction/
As a last resort, can I opt for ETS surgery?
ETS Surgery is an extreme, last resort solution which actually doesn’t work. It also ends up with people experiencing compensatory sweating, so you may stop sweating where you wanted, but end up sweating somewhere else. I’m not providing any more information on this because it’s plain stupid.
What about beta blockers for hyperhidrosis caused by anxiety?
Anticholinergics are usually pills or liquids that are used to treat diarrhea, asthma, various stomach issues and such. They block the transmission of a chemical to your glands that say, let’s sweat. The cool thing about these types of medicine for people like myself with focal sweating is that they affect the body as a whole. They can’t be used for spot sweating or specific areas but will help reduce overall sweating. This is the safer of the medicines to take as the side effects and risk factors are much lower than any other alternative pill solution.
Are there any other pills that I can use to treat my symptoms?
Benzodiazepines, better known as Benzos/Benzies (slang) or brand names like Xanax, Valium, and Ambien, are beta blockers. As you probably already know, they are used to treat depression, anxiety and things of those sort. These can be used to treat sweat caused by anxiety which is what I believe is one of the key factors in my personal situation. However, there are a long list of side effects including heart issues, brain damage, severe onsets of depression and such that steered me away from it. If you have a history of mental/cardiovascular issues in your family and are showing no symptoms right now, why risk taking medication that may alter that? Also, they are highly addictive which is why I guess people without these symptoms get hooked on it.
What's your deal with pills and hyperhidrosis?
The bottom line for me in regards to the pills is the fear of it causing a mental illness that I don’t have. I also had a medicine complication for a knee issue around this time, and that further deterred me from going down the pill route. In all honesty, if I didn’t already have my solution I may have opted now to try anticholinergics as it seemed to be the safer of the bunch. In the end, you are really relying that the side effects of some of these drugs to treat your sweating and for them to occur out of chance. You are also taking a chance that you may experience the other harsh side effects of these drugs or that perhaps setting yourself up for another illness. The other problem is that you need to take some of these drugs on a daily basis to get the effects of the drugs which I wasn’t to keen on. Pills may be for you, it all depends on your circumstances and personal preference, as for me I opted for medicinal cannabis.
What are some studies done on cannabis and hyperhidrosis?
There are a few studies but not a whole lot at this time that I could find. A reader had sent a nice email in regards to the site and informed me there was at least one study on this that was done to investigate THC effects on body temperature. It can be found here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1667176