Excessive sweating usually occurs in people who are otherwise healthy. The problem commonly starts during childhood or adolescence and is a life-long condition. Heat, nervousness and anxiety can trigger or aggravate sweating and it can also appear without any trigger or reason.
Excessive sweating causes awkward social situations as one may be dripping with sweat and have difficulty holding a pen or even gripping a steering wheel. Sweating also stains clothes and ruins dresses. Sufferers in extreme cases may even avoid shaking hands to avoid embarrassing situations. Treating hyperhidrosis normalizes the patient’s quality of life and minimizes many of this social awkwardness.
Commonly available treatments include over-the-counter antiperspirants (commercial or medical), oral medications, tap water iontophoresis, Botox injection and surgery.
Iontophoresis uses tap water to conduct a mild electrical current through the skin’s surface. It’s not entirely understood how or why iontophoresis works but it works for a fair number of patients. When it works, one has to continue with the treatment 2-3 times weekly to maintain its effectiveness.
The most commonly used oral medications is a type of medication that works by blocking nerve signalling. Although the majority of patients will respond to it, there are minor tolerable side effects that may develop, which include dry mouth, blurred vision, urinary retention and constipation. Hence, the patient needs to be aware and notified.
Botulinum toxin stops the sweat production by blocking the nervous system from reaching the sweat glands. A very effective midterm solution to sufferers, Botulinum toxin treatment for excessive sweating is an outpatient treatment that can be completed in less than an hour. This treatment can be done on palms, underarm, forehead, cheeks, nose or any part of the body. Each treatment can provide relief for about 6-10 months and it is carried out painlessly by Dr Wong under numbing cream or local anaesthesia. For some patients, the improvement can even last longer than a year.
Can Hyperhidrosis be cured?
A special type of surgery can be carried out that will provide long term solution to the problem of excessive sweating, only in armpits and hands. It involves cutting or clipping a specific nerve near the neck area that controls the sweating. However, a side effect is that other parts of the body may sweat in excess and this is known as compensatory sweating.
Body odour is determined largely by secretion from the apocrine gland in the skin. Odour also arises from dried sweat on clothes or may originate from metabolic disorders, ingestion of foods or drugs. There are marked individual and racial variations in body odour and excessive sweating or poor hygiene often aggravates it. Medical and dermatological conditions associated with excessive sweating or overgrowth of bacteria (eg, obesity, diabetes mellitus, fungal infections) may be contributory causes of body odour as well.
Good hygiene and use of commercial antiperspirants may help. Botulinum toxin is also able to provide relief from this embarrassing condition because it stops excessive sweating, reduces the moisture, bacteria activity and hence, the bad odour.
Dr Wong Soon Tee is a MOH accredited Dermatologist for more than 20 years. Consult Dr Wong for effective non-surgical treatments of your sweaty palms and underarms now. Call Assurance Skin Clinic at +65 6694 1121 for an appointment.