When Excessive Sweating Becomes a Medical Condition: about Hyperhidrosis
Sweating. It is a normal condition as everybody sweats. We sweat when we feel hot, angry, nervous, or anxious, do exercises, and other activities. So why do we speak about sweating as a medical condition for hyperhidrosis? When we say hyperhidrosis, we mean excessive sweating, unusual, and although it is not dangerous for health, there are a lot of objective reasons why it becomes an obstacle for an active and full life for so many people around the globe when just in the USA 2,8% of the whole population suffers from excessive sweating. So, let us figure it out when sweating can be called a medical condition, its possible causes, and how you can fight it. Let’s start!
What is hyperhidrosis?
Excessive sweating associated with hyperhidrosis is a condition when a person gets wet even without understandable reasons such as heat, physical activity, stress, and so on. The abundance of perspiration is so high that it becomes visible to other people due to wet clothes, etc.
This condition does not create any danger to health but causes a lot of discomfort in social life, making patients lose confidence when communicating with other people, traveling in public transport, while job interviews, dates, and many different situations. Moreover, in separate cases, this can be a consequence and indicator of some severe disease, so excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) is a condition you should ignore in no way.
What causes excessive sweating?
We will begin by saying that there are two types of this condition – primary and secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis also has the name idiopathic, meaning ‘of unknown cause’. Unfortunately, until present times, medical specialists cannot identify the reasons that cause excessive sweating. There was a hypothesis that emotional conditions and anxiety contribute to primary hyperhidrosis, but the later studies rejected it.
Secondary hyperhidrosis can be caused by a number of health issues:
- heart disease
- adrenal gland disorders
- spinal cord injuries
- lung disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis or HIV
That is why when you notice that sweating goes beyond your understanding of a norm (even if you do not think it is a problem, and it does not cause you any inconveniences), do not ignore it and go to the doctor as it may signal about severe issues with your health.
An interesting fact is that hyperhidrosis can develop at any age, but the most common time is adolescence. It also can be general and local, affecting separate parts of the body:
- face, etc.
How to stop excessive sweating?
Hyperhidrosis happens due to extra activity of sweat glands, and although you cannot limit or control it, there are some adjustments to your daily care and lifestyle that could help at least to minimize the symptoms.
- Antiperspirants. Of course, they do not cure the disease, but they can help to reduce the sweating a little bit and the odor, and a person will feel more confident and comfortable. Moreover, there are special antiperspirant sprays with aluminum chloride that considerably reduce the level of sweating.
- Armpit shields. These are special pads worn under the clothes to absorb sweat and prevent your shirt, T-Shirt, blouse, or whatever you are wearing from getting wet.
- Clothing – any type of synthetic materials like nylon or polyester increase the temperature of the body much faster and can make you sweat even when you do not have a sweating disorder. Prefer natural clothing like cotton and models of loose cut to make your body feel more comfortable.
- Shoes – in the same way as with your garment, the material of shoes can improve or worsen the situation with sweating. Natural leather helps the skin to breathe, so it sweats less.
The above-described methods are just ways to decrease the symptoms and help you feel more comfortable and perhaps a little bit more confident. Now, we will talk about excessive sweating treatments that actually help to cure this medical condition. If you have got secondary hyperhidrosis, then naturally, you will have to treat its cause – the initial disease. Here, we will dwell on the primary hyperhidrosis.
Iontophoresis – a method for treating feet and hands hyperhidrosis, when these parts of the body are placed into the bowl with water, and an electric current is run through it.
Botox for excessive sweating – this is an innovative method that implies introducing the botulinum toxin into the area with excessive sweating. The toxin blocks the sweat glands, paralyzing the nerve ending, and excessive sweating temporarily stops. The effect of the injection lasts approximately for 4-6 months, and to preserve the result, you will have to do the reinjection.
Anticholinergic drugs - they suppress the parasympathetic nerve impulses transmission.
ETS (Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy) – this is a surgery, which implies removing the nerves. The procedure is recommended exclusively in severe cases.
Is sweating a medical condition – no. Is excessive sweating a medical condition – definitely! How to distinguish between these two concepts? If you sweat even without reasons (high temperature or intense physical activity) to such an extent that your clothes get wet, you can assume you have hyperhidrosis. What should you do in this case? The first step is to visit a doctor and have a general examination of your health to check whether you do not have some primary disease, and excessive sweating is its result. If you were diagnosed with primary hyperhidrosis, you might choose among one of the effective ways to treat the condition and, of course, do not forget about natural treatments to help your organism tolerate the situation and feel more comfortable.