Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)

Southern Dermatology

What is normal sweating?

Sweating is a normal healthy process, which may be triggered by:

  • Heat/hot temperatures e.g. Summer
  • Physical exercise
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Eating spicy foods or consuming hot drinks
  • Fever due to an infection or other illness

Abnormal increased sweating is known as hyperhidrosis, and usually occurs from a young age such as adolescence.

It is called idiopathic because no cause can be found for it. It can develop during childhood or later in life and can affect any part of the body, but the palms and soles or the armpits are the most commonly affected areas.

This type of excessive sweating may occur even during cool weather, but it is worse during warm weather or when a person is under stress.

In the majority of cases, no investigations are required to diagnose hyperhidrosis. Occasionally, investigations such as blood tests are ordered to exclude any underlying disease.

Treatments for excessive sweating include:

  • Weight loss, if you are overweight/obese
  • Medical-grade antiperspirant applications – sprays, powders and roll-ons
  • Iontophoresis: a specialised technique of reducing sweat production, by passing a low-level electric current through the skin
  • Oral medications: which reduce the nerve-signals to sweat glands.
  • BotoxTM injections: extremely effective at paralysing sweat glands in the armpits – now available as a Medicare-rebatable service when performed by Dermatologists
  • Surgery: in severe cases, where all other treatments have been unsuccessful, surgery may be performed to remove the nerves that are over-active and cause hyperhidrosis.

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