Are you suffering from excessive sweating? Read on to find out ...
Sweating is a normal response to heat and your body’s mechanism to cool itself. Your nervous system automatically triggers your sweat glands when your body temperature rises. But, did you know that some people sweat excessively even when the body is not exposed to a warm environment? This excessive sweating is called Hyperhidrosis. This excessive sweating can interfere with everyday activities. Hands can be so sweaty that it becomes difficult to turn a doorknob or use a computer. Because the skin is often wet, skin infections can develop. Read on to find out more about Hyperhidrosis...
Types of Hyperhidrosis:
Often there is no underlying cause of heavy sweating; this condition is called Primary Hyperhidrosis. This type usually affects your palms and soles and sometimes your face. If the sweating is attributed to an underlying medical condition, it is called Secondary Hyperhidrosis. This kind is more likely to cause sweating all over your body.
Hormonal changes: Anything that toys with your endocrine system (your body’s collection of hormone-producing glands) can leave you feeling sweatier than usual. Of course, there is the dreaded hot flash, which as many as 85 per cent of women have in the years right around menopause. Also during pregnancy, women experience excessive sweating. In both the conditions, hormonal changes seem to mess with the brain’s thermostat. This can mistakenly make you think that you are overheating, which triggers the naturally cooling sweat response even if you are right in front of the AC.
Stress worsens the situation: In Hyperhidrosis the nerves responsible for triggering your sweat glands become overactive and call for more perspiration even when it is not needed. The sweat we produce when we feel hot is made by eccrine glands all over the body and contains mostly water and salt. But when we are stressed, sweat is produced by apocrine glands, found only in certain areas like the armpits. This type of sweat contains fat and protein which when mixed with the bacteria on our skin produces a stench. Basically, with stress or nervousness, the problem worsens.
Lymphoma alert: Hyperhidrosis can also be a side effect of a number of health conditions such as gout, hyperthyroidism, and Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, it can be a symptom of Lymphoma, or cancer of the lymph cells. According to various researches, it is not completely understood why Lymphoma can cause drenching sweat; it could be something about it or how the body responds to it. Perhaps it is a reaction to another symptom, fever, as the body tries to cool itself down. Also, it could be caused by hormones and proteins produced by cancer cell themselves.
Runs in the blood: If a doctor is unable to find an explanation for your excessive sweating, you may have this condition in your genes. Experts are not entirely sure why it happens, but they do know that Hyperhidrosis runs in families and is a result of too much stimulation from the nerves that trigger the sweat glands.
Medications: Use of medications may affect one or more components of human thermoregulation and hence result in Hyperhidrosis. Agents such as propranolol, physostigmine, pilocarpine, tricyclic anti depressants, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been described to induce excessive nocturnal sweating.
How to treat it?
The treatment of Hyperhidrosis varies and only a qualified doctor can recommend a specific treatment after considering all the symptoms and causes. Here are a few ways that can help treat this disorder:
Prescription antiperspirant: Your doctor may prescribe an antiperspirant with aluminum chloride (Drysol, Xerac Ac) as the first line of treatment. It is usually applied to the affected area before going to bed and the product should be washed off after waking up. Be careful not to get any in your eyes.
Nerve-blocking medications: Some oral medications block the chemicals that permit certain nerves to communicate with each other. This can reduce sweating in some people.
Antidepressants: Some medications used for depression can also decrease sweating. In addition, they may help decrease the anxiety that worsens this condition.
Botulinum toxin injections: Although best known for helping smooth facial wrinkles, botulinum toxin (Botox, Myobloc etc) injections can also block the nerves that trigger sweat glands. Each affected area of your body will need several injections. The effects last six to 12 months, and then the treatment needs to be repeated.
Surgery: If you only have sweating in your armpits, surgery might be able to treat your condition. One procedure involves removing the sweat glands in your armpits. Another option is to have an endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. This involves severing the nerves that carry messages to your sweat glands.