Excessive sweating, or Hyperhidrosis, affects 8.8 million people worldwide. Aside from causing uncontrollable sweating from various parts of the body, hyperhidrosis can really put a damper on things-quite literally. Bad puns aside, if you believe you are suffering from hyperhidrosis, it might be time to have a conversation with your doctor.
We put together a few essential questions about hyperhidrosis to help you start the conversation.
1) What are the different types of hyperhidrosis?
There are two major types of hyperhidrosis. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that is not caused by another medical condition nor is a side effect of medications. The excessive sweating is specific to only individual areas of the body and is characterized as being symmetrical, meaning that it affects both sides of your body in the same way (both feet, both hands, both underarms, etc.).
The second type of hyperhidrosis is called Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis. This type of excessive sweating is caused by another medical condition or is a side effect of an existing medical condition. People with secondary hyperhidrosis experience sweating on larger areas of the body and may affect people while sleeping. Symptoms typically begin during adulthood, after beginning a new medication or after the onset of a different medical condition. In cases of secondary hyperhidrosis, additional testing may be needed to find the root cause of your excessive sweating.
2) What are the symptoms of hyperhidrosis?
Both primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis manifest in similar ways. The most common signs of hyperhidrosis are sweaty hands and sweaty feet. Some people may experience the excessive sweating on multiple focal areas such as both hands and feet. In some cases, people also experience excessive sweating around the head and in underarm area. In more severe cases, sweating along the trunk and even in the pubic region were reported.
3) How can I find out if I have it?
Your doctor can use a variety of tests to determine if you have hyperhidrosis. The most popular tests include the Starch-Iodine test, paper testing, and of course, laboratory testing.
4) What are some treatment options?
Treatments for hyperhidrosis include oral medications, topical ointments, Botox injections and surgery. Some also believe that certain lifestyle changes in diet can help to alleviate the symptoms of hyperhidrosis. As an alternative, many are turning to a method known as Ionotophoresis, a noninvasive treatment that has been backed by scientific study. Tap Water Iontophoresis uses a gentle current and the minerals found in tap water to create a plug in the pores of the skin. Tap Water Iontophoresis is especially effective for the treatment of sweaty hands, sweaty feet, and excessive sweating in the axilla (underarm area).
5) Where can I find more resources for hyperhidrosis?
Both the Hyperhidrosis Network (HHN) and the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHHS) provide valuable resources to those with Hyperhidrosis and their families. Their websites contain a wealth of information on hyperhidrosis, treatment options, and the newest science on hyperhidrosis. IHHS offers information on treatment costs and getting insurance coverage for treatments. HHN has a forum where people can share their stories and information about support groups around the country.