Understanding Severe Sweating

Severe Sweating: Causes and Treatment

Sweating is a normal process that allows the body to regulate its internal temperature. However, excessive or severe sweating, also referred to as hyperhidrosis, is a medical condition which can result in high levels of discomfort and distress. This article discusses what severe sweating is, its causes, and possible treatment options.

What is excessive sweating? Excessive or severe sweating, medically termed as hyperhidrosis, is characterized by sweating that goes beyond the physiological need of the body to cool down. It can happen without any triggering factors such as heat or physical exertion. The sweating can affect one’s entire body or it could be localized to specific areas like the palms, underarms, face or soles of the feet.

Causes of Severe Sweating

The causes of severe sweating can be classified into two types: primary and secondary hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis does not have a known medical cause and usually affects the palms, feet, underarms, or face. It usually starts at childhood or adolescence and persists through adulthood.

Secondary hyperhidrosis, on the other hand, is caused by a medical condition or is a side effect of certain medications. Conditions that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis include diabetes, menopause, thyroid problems, and certain types of cancer. Some medications and substances such as antidepressants, some blood pressure medications, and substances of abuse could also induce heavy sweating.

Understanding the Affect of Severe Sweating

Severe sweating can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life. It can cause embarrassment, social anxiety, emotional distress, and might even affect one’s professional and personal relationships. Additionally, skin issues such as fungal or bacterial infections can occur due to frequently damp skin.

Treatment Options for Severe Sweating

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for managing severe sweating. Particularly, these treatments are designed to target and block the nerves that trigger your sweat glands.

Antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride may be recommended initially for excessive sweating. If over-the-counter antiperspirants do not provide relief, your doctor might prescribe a stronger antiperspirant. Other topical medications that prevent sweat gland stimulation may also be considered.

Injections of Botox can be beneficial for treatment of severe sweating in certain areas, such as the armpits, hands, feet, and face. Oral medications could help by inhibiting the production of sweat. However, they may have side effects such as dry mouth, blurred vision, and bladder problems.

If conservative treatments aren’t effective, there are more invasive options like iontophoresis, which uses low-level electrical impulses to temporarily disable the sweat glands, or endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS), a surgical procedure to reduce severe sweating. It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of these procedures with your healthcare provider before deciding on a course of treatment.

In conclusion, although severe sweating can be a distressing condition, there are a multitude of treatment options available. Communicating openly with your healthcare provider about your symptoms and treatment goals is crucial in managing this condition successfully.

Understanding Severe Sweating