There are a number of treatments available for hyperhidrosis, from lifestyle changes or treatments through to surgical procedures.
The following is a summary of the options available to sufferers...
1) Lifestyle changes
It is critical that sufferers pay close attention to personal hygiene. This includes:
- taking a shower or a bath every day and drying affected areas carefully (this ensures there is no build up of bacteria)
- avoiding any food or drink or other factors (eg smoking/nicotine) that may trigger excessive sweating
- using antiperspirants AND deodorant to reduce sweating and control odour
- if the hyperhidrosis affects the feet, remove shoes and socks where possible, change socks frequently and rotate pairs of shoes so that you do not wear the same pair two days in a row
- if the hyperhidrosis affects the hands, wear gloves wherever possible
- use absorbent pads to control excess sweat
- choose natural fibre clothing
- avoid the dehydration associated with the condition by drinking water regularly
Help with dealing with possible causes
If hyperhidrosis is brought on by nervousness and/or panic attacks or similar conditions, there has been some (but unfortunately somewhat limited) success from treatments such as psychotherapy, hypnosis and behavioural therapy.
2) Non-invasive medical treatment
Botox (Botulinum toxin type A )injections can be effective for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis (underarm) and plantar hyperhidrosis (feet) and generally are effective for between four and twelve months.
Iontophoresis involves a mild electric current being passed through water in a container. Hands (or feet) are placed into the water for between 20-40 minutes and the treatment temporarily blocks the sweat glands. The technique has been in use since the 1940s and can decrease sweat production considerably. Generally three treatments are required in the first seven days and thereafter once a week.
These medicines, also known as antichlorinergic drugs, block nerve signals and so can be used to treat 'generalised hyperhidrosis'.
3) Surgical intervention
Surgical removal of sweat glands in the armpit
Removal can be via liposuction or 'subcutaneous curettage' or by laser treatment.
Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS)
This surgical procedure involves the blocking or cutting of a set of nerves called the 'spinal sympathetic nerves' which control sweat glands under the arm and on the palms.This option is generally an option of last resort, where the patient has not responded to other treatment. It is not used for plantar hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the feet).