Sweating one of the natural ways in which our bodies respond when we feel too hot. The evaporation of the sweat removes heat from our skin and provides a cooling effect. Like any other natural process the amount we sweat varies significantly between individuals.
Some individuals experience sweating to the extent that it causes embarrassment and practical problems such as when exercising or when shaking hands with another person. Under these circumstances there are treatment options available to control these symptoms.
The vast majority of cases of excessive sweating do not have any underlying medical cause. When there is no underlying medical cause, doctors term this condition primary hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis is when there is an underlying medical cause. Prior to any treatment being prescribed, our experienced medical team at Circle Health will always request appropriate diagnostic tests to exclude any underlying medical cause:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Imaging techniques (if indicated after blood and urine tests)
These will help to exclude any of the more common underlying causes of excessive sweating including:
- Thyroid disorders
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) due to diabetes
- Autoimmune problems
If an underlying medical cause is suspected, treatment will be directed at modifying the disease activity. Thyroid disorders can normally be well controlled with medication to reduce the thyroid activity and with appropriate lifestyle management changes and medication, blood sugar levels can be stabilised in cases of diabetes.
Generalised anxiety disorders may also contribute to excessive sweating and where this is the case medicines and psychological support can be offered to help alleviate symptoms.
In mild cases of primary hyperhidrosis, clinical forms of antiperspirants and sometimes applied creams may be of use to offset symptoms. Medications may be prescribed in cases which are not controlled adequately by clinical antiperspirants. These medications limit the production of sweat by blocking the nerves which stimulate the sweat glands. The most widely used form of medications are known as anti-cholinergics.
Injection therapy can sometimes be recommended to treat excessive sweating working in a very similar manner to oral medications. It also works to block the nerves which stimulate the sweat glands. Normally, the effect of an injection lasts for six months.
A more invasive treatment option for severe cases of excessive sweating is surgery. With advances in technology experienced surgeons are sometimes able to use laser technique rather than open excisions of the sweat glands to provide the desired results.