Sweating is the body’s way of cooling down. We sweat due to physical exertion or when we find ourselves in situations that are likely to make us anxious, like exams or interviews. There is, however, a difference between sweating and excessive sweating. Some people sweat more than others do, and this excessive sweating is what is referred to as Hyperhidrosis in the medical world.
Nearly 2-3% of the world’s population suffer from hyperhidrosis, irrespective of age and gender. While this condition does not lead to any fatal complications, it certainly is a problem. There is no known cause for hyperhidrosis – it is believed to be due to the exaggerated response of the sweat glands to a normal stimulus. While the normal stimulus can be anything ranging from a work interview to a social event, the excessive sweating is not seen in the absence of an external stimulus, such as when the patient is sleeping or relaxed.
Hyperhidrosis is taken very lightly and people only approach the doctor when it hampers their day-to-day life. A prime reason for this negligence is the fact that family and friends do not see this as a medical issue and a majority of them are unaware of its existence or the presence of multiple treatment options available for it. Those who suffer from hyperhidrosis experience great emotional stress and occupational disability. Family and peers lead a person to believe that excessive sweating is because he/she is ‘nervous’ and do not recommend a visit to the doctor.
Over a period of time, a patient begins to believe the ‘nervous theory’ and tries to cope with the situation by themselves, leading to a marked decrease in the quality of life. This condition normally starts in the early teens, but is noticed only in their 20’s. Lately, this is also seen among many children, which affects them emotionally at a tender age. The condition eventually leads to self-doubt, introversion and shyness. They tend to become more socially withdrawn by nature as they get older.
— Zigverve.com (@zigverve) November 6, 2015
There are two kinds of Hyperhidrosis. General Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating all over the body and isn’t very common. Focal hyperhidrosis, on the other hand, is excessive sweating restricted to certain parts of the body. The most common areas affected by hyperhidrosis are hands, feet and underarms. Some people also suffer facial and head hyperhidrosis.
There are many surgical and non-surgical treatments available today to help address this issue. One of the most common ways to manage hyperhidrosis is to check for topical agents like aluminium chlorohydrate in the treatment recommended by the dermatologist. Other options include the process of iontophoresis where ions are introduced into the skin through electric currents and it is considered a second-line treatment for focal palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.
It is vital to visit a dermatologist to contain and rectify the issue. It is essential that patients consult the doctor to get a better understanding of the condition. The implications of not treating hyperhidrosis are many. An informed choice of the available range of treatment options available will help the patient move one-step closer to living a more comfortable life.