Unless you’re hitting it hard at the gym, or experiencing a particularly hot summer’s day, underarm wet patches or sweaty palms can be the source of constant embarrassment.
Although it’s not widely known, about 3% of the population suffer from an underlying condition which produces excessive sweating. Caused by someone other than heat or physical activity, hyperhidrosis commonly affects the armpits, hands, feet or face.
While hyperhidrosis has no adverse physical health implications, excessive sweating generally impacts a person’s wellbeing and quality of life. In fact, 90% of hyperhidrosis patients report that the condition affects their emotional state. The majority of patients feel less confident and embarrassed by the way their sweating interferes with their daily life. For example, the vast majority of people with affected palms avoid shaking hands as a result of their condition, or their clothes may always be sweat-soaked.
Although she didn’t realise the cause, Sarah could not remember a time when her life was not affected by hyperhidrosis. Despite the weather, when she was younger Sarah always wore long sleeves so she could wipe away the excess sweat from her palms.
“My sweat was probably two to three times the average person when they’re nervous,” Sarah says. When Sarah started school, her paperwork would get wet from her hands. When she was learning to drive, the steering wheel would get slippery. Her mum even remembers a six-year-old Sarah refusing to hold her hand because of sweaty palms.
Sarah was diagnosed with hyperhidrosis when she was fourteen, and after seeking treatment, she no longer experiences social anxiety and now happily wears short sleeves!
Sarah’s story is not unique, however she was fortunate to have a relatively early diagnosis and was able to seek treatment. Perhaps because hyperhidrosis is not widely known, and perhaps because of their embarrassment, many sufferers never realise their excessive sweating is caused by an underlying condition and therefore never seek treatment.
What can be done?
If you or someone you know experiences excessive sweating, seek advice from a doctor. Hyperhidrosis may be the culprit, however it may be caused by other conditions (such as diabetes, menopause or thyroid problems). The good news is that a variety of treatments DO exist to combat the negative impacts caused by excessive sweating.
One such treatment is the injection of a well-known muscle relaxant. These injections block the nerve signals responsible for sweating and stop the sweat glands from producing too much sweat. Initially this treatment may have to be performed every 4-6 months as the nerves regenerate, however over time patients can often go longer between treatments.
A simple and non-invasive treatment, a local numbing cream is first applied and tiny injections are made. Minor bruising and swelling may be possible, but generally adverse effects are minimal. Patients normally start seeing results within five days. Apart from the physical improvement, several studies have reported that this treatment drastically improves quality of life and psychosocial wellbeing.
Want to know more about this treatment for excessive sweating? Please contact us