How to treat Hyperhidrosis with general measures.
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What is HYPERHIDROSIS?
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. The problem may be limited to the armpits, but
often the palms and soles sweat excessively also. Excessive sweating becomes noticeable
after puberty. Stressful situations such as examinations, job interviews, or an important
date will aggravate the sweating. Most over-the-counter antiperspirants do not control
Hyperhidrosis. Perspiration is the body's way of naturally regulating heat. But in some
individuals, it can be excessive. Physicians have found that nerves, involuntary
controlled by the Sympathetic Nervous System, can become overactive and cause extreme
sweating. Excess sweat serves no purpose and often creates social embarrassment because of
odor or stained clothes. Both sexes and all ages, except young children are effected.
Different Hyperhidrosis Conditions
| Axillary Hyperhidrosis
| Palmary Hyperhidrosis
| Pedal Hyperhidrosis
Facial Blush And Facial Hyperhidrosis
In non-medical terms, it is a condition that causes severe localized sweating in specific areas of the body. It causes unexpected,
uncontrollable and embarrassing sweating of the face, scalp, hands, underarms or the feet. A bright and glowing facial blush may also occur by itself or with any combination of sweating in other areas. Facial blushing is usually associated with hand sweating.
Invariably, the patient's family, friends or strangers may make embarrassing comments
about his or her condition. After all, It's only sweating, right? or You're just nervous, that's all. It is difficult for others to understand that
undue anxiety or nervousness does not necessarily cause the condition. It is a genetic
condition that is totally uncontrollable. Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis may develop during any
stage in a person's life. Doctors have seen patients as young as 6 to 74 years old.
The sites of Hyperhidrosis may be in only one specific location or on all the classic locations which include the face with
sweat, face with blush, hands, underarms or the feet. Any combination may occur, the most
common being the hands and feet. One may dry off the sweat, only for it to recur within a
minute or two. The hands or feet become cold, clammy and wet. The face usually has a
greasy appearance and the underarms may develop a chronic and foul odor. The face may also
develop a bright and attention-getting red color, perhaps eliciting responses such as
Are you OK? You must be ill, or Why are so nervous? You don't have to
be, or worse, Are you sure that you can handle this job?
As adolescence is a critical time for individuals to build their self-esteem, individuals afflicted with Hyperhidrosis at
this life stage are especially at risk for developing inappropriate coping mechanisms. A
student afflicted with this syndrome, while in middle school or high school, usually finds
that peers frequently misunderstand what the condition means to them. A teenager may
resort to withdrawing and distancing himself/herself from potentially embarrassing
situations. Furthermore, they may lose confidence in their ability to interact with
others. It is not unusual to hear of a teenager quitting band, cheerleading, sports, or
even dating because of the embarrassment brought on by his/her Hyperhidrosis. The longer
the teenager has this syndrome, the greater the emotional fallout. He/she may start to
withdraw from close friends. As the sufferer approaches graduation from high school, the
thought of leaving an understanding home environment to go to college may be unbearable.
This insecurity can lead to avoidance behavior problems that may become more ingrained and
complex with time
Every day, the human body perspires to maintain constant internal body temperature. Perspiration is regulated by the
Sympathetic Nervous System, which controls about five million sweat glands in the body,
with about half of these being located in the hands. Sweating in the right hand is
controlled by branches of the right sympathetic chain that is located within the right
chest cavity. Sweating in the left hand is controlled by branches of the left sympathetic
chain that is located in the left chest. Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that causes
perspiration far greater than the physiological needs of the body. The most common areas
where Hyperhidrosis occurs are the hands, feet and face, primarily in adolescents, and its
cause is unknown.
This condition causes severe dripping sweat from the armpits. Sweat may drip down the arms and down the sides of the
chest wall to the waist. Patients with this condition cannot wear certain types of fabrics
(nylon) or colors. Clothes become stained, fabrics are ruined and colors may run. The
sweating and odor is constant and resistant to all deodorants. It may even be resistant to
the first line of therapy called Drysol®
. In many ways, it is just as embarrassing and
disabling as hand sweat. Axillary sweat may occur independently or in combination with
sweating of the hands, face and scalp, or feet. Facial blush may also be present. The
condition is caused by over-stimulation of the sweat glands by the sympathetic nervous
system. As with hand Hyperhidrosis, the mechanism is involuntary and cannot be consciously
controlled. Anxiety may aggravate it, but the sweating will occur with or without stress
or anxiety. In short, the patients were born with a tendency to sweat excessively.
Treatment of primary underarm Hyperhidrosis with ETS is reserved
only for patients with the most severe forms of underarm Hyperhidrosis or Axillary
Hyperhidrosis that is in combination with severe hand sweat, face and scalp sweat, foot
sweat or severe facial blush. A memorable patient was a woman from Taiwan who had severe
underarm, hand and foot Hyperhidrosis. She was 34 years old and a partner in a well-known
accounting firm. During a follow-up visit one week after her operation, she was sitting on
the examining table and quietly crying. She wore a beautiful floral silk dress. When asked
why she was crying, she revealed that this was the first time that she had been able wear
that dress. The excessive sweating had prevented her from wearing any silk fabrics. The
dress had been a treasured wedding gift that had been given to her 10 years ago by her
mother who was still living in Taiwan.
Hand sweat may occur independently or in combination with sweating of the armpits, face and scalp, or feet.
Facial blush may also be present. The most common combination is for the hands and the
feet to be involved at the same time. The condition is caused by over-stimulation of the
sweat glands by the sympathetic nervous system. Hand sweating can be severe. Many patients
sweat so profusely that the sweat actually drips onto the floor. One patient demonstrated
the ability to fill a cup with sweat from her hands. These symptoms may occur in even the
coldest of conditions. Other patients may not drip sweat, but their hands are usually
discolored, cold and clammy. Newspaper print stains their hands and books will have curled
edges from the constant moisture on their hands. Prior to the onset of sweating, many
patients report a tingling in their fingers or report that "my skin pores are opening
up". The mechanism is involuntary and cannot be consciously controlled. There is a
usually an interrelationship between anxiety and sweating that develops to a greater or
lesser degree in nearly all patients with severe Hyperhidrosis. The condition is often
aggravated by anxiety and the onset of symptoms is in itself anxiety provoking, thus a
vicious cycle is created. Many individuals try to escape by withdrawing or avoiding
stressful situations. This repetitive pattern only serves to create more emotional injury.
During conversations with others, those with Hyperhidrosis may hide their hands under their arms, behind their backs or
placed under their thighs. Many patients have reported that, during a party or some social
gathering, holding a cold drink in their hands makes shaking hands with others socially
acceptable. People would assume that the hand they just shook was cold and clammy because
of the cold drink and not because the afflicted was nervous. One young professional woman
mentioned that, before a job interview, she would park her car and rub her hands on the
tire. She would then tell the interviewer that she had had a flat tire and she shouldn't
shake his hand because her hands were dirty.
Excessive sweating of the feet is the result of over-stimulation of the sweat glands in the feet by the sympathetic nervous
system. Unlike Hyperhidrosis involving the hands, face and scalp, and armpits, the
sympathetic nerve fibers that stimulate sweating of the feet arise from both the thoracic
and lumbar sympathetic nerve chains. Approximately 30% to 60% of patients who undergo ETS for upper body Hyperhidrosis will have the additional benefit of developing dryness of the feet after the operation. However, to ensure complete
elimination of pedal sweating, it is necessary that the lumbar nerves also be
disconnected. This is NOT recommended on males because it will cause impotence or lead to
retrograde (reverse) ejaculation. If a lumbar sympathectomy is done in conjunction with
ETS, it may lead to postural hypertension, i.e. the blood pressure may drop when the
patient stands, and the patient may faint. Again, men should NOT have this performed, and
women should be forewarned of the potential side effect of postural hypertension.
Facial Blush And Facial Hyperhidrosis:
Facial blush is a physiologic normal) response to a variety of emotional stimuli. Facial blush is caused by
over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. The mechanism is involuntary and
anxiety may aggravate it, but the facial blush may also occur with or without stress or
anxiety. Patients with this condition were born to blush excessively.
Physiologic blush occurs more frequently in some individuals than others but generally occurs only in special
situations, coming on quickly and fading rapidly. Individuals with facial blush, with or
without facial Hyperhidrosis, characteristically experience a glowing red face that occurs
more frequently than physiologic blush. The blush is intense, constant and lasts for a
prolonged period of time. Prior to onset, patients usually feel facial heat. The face and
neck will usually glow a bright red color. The glow may start over the cheeks, radiate
onto the forehead and neck, and also cover the ears. Individuals with facial blush may
respond with exaggerated blushing to a multitude of stimuli. A triggering stimulus may be
internal or external and often is exceedingly subtle. A person with this condition may
even be alone at home, reading a book or watching a movie, and the facial blush may come
on un expectantly with no apparent stimulus. The person with facial blush often stands out
in a crowd. A constantly blushing and glowing red face attracts attention. It is often
misinterpreted by Others frequently misinterpret the blushing to mean that the afflicted
is sick or embarrassed.
Facial blush may occur independently or in combination with sweating of the hands, face and scalp, armpits, or
feet. The most common symptom occurring in combination with facial blush is hand sweat.
Patients with severe facial blush often have some degree of Hyperhidrosis involving their
hands. It is common for the patient to focus on their facial blush, leaving them unaware
of how much their hands actually sweat. Many patients who undergo surgery for severe
facial blush realize, only after the operation, that for years they had also been
modifying their behavior because of cold, clammy and discolored hands.
Facial sweat may occur by itself or in combination with blushing. The aggravating stimuli are the same as with blushing.
The facial sweating usually involves the scalp, back of the neck, forehead and into the
eyes, cheeks and over the upper lip. Either blushing or sweating causes severe
embarrassment and frustration to anyone who has this syndrome.
A new effective treatment is now available to patients with severe intractable
Hyperhidrosis. Endoscopic transthoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is an option for most patients
who have reached a point in their life that they no longer want to "just live
with" this disease.
More information on E.T.S.
More information on Excessive Sweating
More information on Anti-Perspirants
The information on this web page is courtesy of Dr. Garza at Hyperhidrosis Clinic USA