The Facts About Excessive Sweating
Excessive sweating seriously affects the quality of life. Hyperhidrosis affects approximately 3% of the population—some 950,000 Canadians.
Many sufferers report embarrassment when sweating in the hands, underarms, and feet, and they believe this can give the wrong impression in business and personal situations.
It can also have an emotional, social, and physical impact on sufferers. Fortunately, our skilled family physicians, Shehla Ebrahim and Dr. Christopher Pavlou, offer many effective treatments that can help to mitigate the negative and psychosocial impact of hyperhidrosis.
For more information about hyperhidrosis and excessive sweating treatments, or to schedule a complimentary consultation with our physicians, please contact us today.
- Application of an aluminum chloride, commonly called Drysol, has been shown in clinical studies to reduce sweating by approximately 50% for mild hyperhidrosis sufferers. Most people use antiperspirants and deodorants, however, not all antiperspirants are equally effective. The ones containing aluminum chloride and alcohol seem to be the most effective.
- This treatment is appropriate for people with hyperhidrosis of the hands or feet. With iontophoresis, each hand or foot is immersed in a shallow container of water. A medical device with a low intensity electric current is then passed through the liquid. The currents are sent to the skin to disrupt the function of the sweat glands. In the beginning, the treatment will be repeated several times, but once control is achieved a single treatment can be effective for several weeks. There is potential for skin irritation, therefore this application is not usually recommended for underarm or facial hyperhidrosis.
Botulinum Toxin Type A
- Also known as BOTOX® Cosmetic, this treatment may be right for moderate to severe hyperhidrosis suffers. This injection interrupts the signal from the nerve to the sweat glands, reducing sweating in the affected area.
- The injection is done with a very fine needle for treatment of less sensitive areas like the underarms, face, and head. For treatment of the hands and feet, local anaesthesia is used to help minimize discomfort. The percentage reduction in sweating in the clinical study was 83% in 95% of participants.
- Results may occur immediately or take up to a week , with benefits typically lasting up to seven months after a single treatment. Furthermore, 30% of patients have effects lasting longer than a year. Typically, side effects will be minimal and temporary. However, one reported side effect is the perception of increased sweating in other areas.
- Some newer treatments, including Miradry, use non-invasive microwave technology, which was approved to treat hyperhidrosis by the FDA in 2011. The treatment, though often expensive, has been used successfully for the permanent treatment of hyperhidrosis for the axilla (underarms), palms and soles.
- Surgery typically will be the last resort for people whose lifestyle is seriously affected by hyperhidrosis, and for whom all other more conventional therapies have failed.
- For hyperhidrosis of the hands, endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, or ETS, can be used to disconnect the nerves that cause abnormal sweating. This type of surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis as an excision of the axillary (underarm) glands. In this operation, the sweat glands are entirely removed.
- Like all surgeries, there are risks. These include the possibility of infection and/or damage to nerves in the chest area where the incision is made. In addition, some patients’ bodies make up for the decreased sweating in the treated area by producing more sweat in other areas of the body; this is known as compensatory sweating.
- The cost of hyperhidrosis treatments may be covered by private or public insurance. This will depend on the individual health plan and annual treatment options.
If you have additional questions about treatment for hyperhidrosis, or if you wish to schedule a consultation with our doctors, please contact us today.