Sweating is a necessary bodily process, keeping our temperature regulated so we don’t overheat. But sometimes our body takes it a little too far, sweating even when we aren’t too hot. Hyperhidrosis (too much or inappropriate sweating) affects about 3% of us and can be a devastating condition.
How do you know if you are suffering from hyperhidrosis? Ask yourself a few questions. Do you sweat even when it’s cold out or you are not excercising? Do you only sweat profusely from one body part, like just your hands or just your armpits? Some people with the condition sweat all over, but the majority of one or two main problem spots. Do you have to change your clothes often due to the perspiration? Have you tried multiple anti-perspirants without improvement? Has this problem become socially or professionally problematic?
If you are answering yes to some or most of these, you could be another HH victim. Don’t take it lying down (and sweating)! There are things you can try. If your sweating is in your armpits, OTC anti-perspirants with higher concentrations of Aluminum Chloride are a good place to start. Secret Clinical Strength is an example. You can get higher concentrations of that ingredient in prescription strength anti-perspirants, and some formulations can be used on hands or feet. The down side to these is that they can be irritating. (One brand is called Drysol) The next step is considering an oral medication for the sweating. It comes with side effects that some people find worse than the sweating, so it’s something you have to talk about with your doctor. You might have heard about Botox injections being used for hyperhidrosis. It can be a fantastic option for the right patient, treating both the armpits and the palms. The effects aren’t permanent though, so you have to go back 2-4 times a year for re-treatment.
One important caveat: Not all types of excessive sweating fall into the category of hyperhidrosis. Certain medications and medical conditions can also be to blame, so it’s always a good idea to see a physician to confirm that your symptoms can’t be attributed to any other problem.