Iontophoresis devices like the MD-1 and MD-2 use an electric current to deliver the minerals naturally found in tap water into your sweat pores, plugging them up to create a long-lasting dryness barrier. However, tap water in certain areas may lack the mineral concentration for the treatment to have an effect. These are referred to as “soft” water geographic locations.
Under the direction of a physician or dermatologist, some patients have added prescription medications or baking soda to the bath trays to see better results. This article answers the question: should you add anything to the water during iontophoresis?
Adding Prescription Medications
Today, there are a number of prescription medications available to hyperhidrosis patients. While these medications often come with their own challenges and side-effects, using them in combination with iontophoresis has yielded results.
We went to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health and found this study they published online:
“To determine the comparative efficacy of tap water iontophoresis to iontophoresis with the anticholinergic glycopyrrolate, we undertook a single-blinded right-left comparison study in 20 patients with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis. Most patients had their palms treated and one patient had the soles treated. We compared the duration of symptom relief following iontophoresis with glycopyrrolate unilaterally to iontophoresis with glycopyrrolate bilaterally.”
“Following treatment with unilateral tap water iontophoresis, unilateral glycopyrrolate and bilateral glycopyrrolate, patients reported hand dryness for a median of 3, 5 and 11 days, respectively. We conclude that glycopyrrolate iontophoresis is more effective than tap water iontophoresis in the treatment of palmoplantar hyperhidrosis and that glycopyrrolate iontophoresis has both local and systemic effects on perspiration.”
Adding Baking Soda
Adding a teaspoon of baking soda to each water bath tray during iontophoresis can also help compensate for “soft” tap water. Baking soda not only helps increase capillary flow, but it also regulates the pH level of the water to ensure that the proper milliamperes are achieved.
“If the mineral content of tap water is low, insufficient current flow may occur. This situation can be corrected by adding 5 g (1 teaspoon) of baking soda to each tray,” writes Dr. David M. Pariser in Hyperhidrosis: An Issue of Dermatologic Clinics.
So Should You Add Anything To Your Water?
Unless you live in a “soft” water area, the naturally-occurring minerals in tap water should be sufficient for hyperhidrosis patients to see a noticeable reduction in sweating after 2-weeks of treatment. Most patients start iontophoresis every-other-day for 20-minutes until dryness is achieved, and then slowly reduce the frequency, settling into what we call a “maintenance schedule.” Everyone’s body reacts differently to the treatment, but on average patients use our devices once every 3-4 weeks to maintain dryness.
If you’re still not satisfied with your progress or results after 2-weeks of iontophoresis treatments, that’s when you want to talk to your doctor about adding a prescription medication or baking soda to the water.
TIP: Not sure if you live in a “soft” water area? Check out this map courtesy of Hyrdo-Flow USA.
If you or someone you know is struggling with excessive sweating from hyperhidrosis, give our Treatment Specialists a call at (800) 525-3467. Or, fill out this form and we can look into your insurance benefits and eligibility.