What is it?
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition which describes excessive and unpredictable sweating. Sweating is a normal physiological response that helps the body to stay cool in warm temperatures, during exercise or exertion, or in response to situations that make them anxious, angry, or afraid. Excessive sweating that occurs without such triggers is known as hyperhidrosis.
When excessive sweating affects the hands, feet or armpits, it is known as primary hyperhidrosis. This condition usually runs in families and often improves or even disappears with age.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is caused by another medical conditions and can be widespread or localised.
Approximately 3% of the general population suffer from primary hyperhidrosis and 50% of these find that it is worst in their axillae (underarm area).
Hyperhidrosis can have a significant psychosocial effect, causing people to be self-conscious about themselves. Hyperhidrosis of the hands leads to an unwillingness to shake hands or hold hands with someone else. Hyperhidrosis of the soles of the feet often results in having to wear socks everyday to help absorb the moisture. Hyperhidrosis of the underarms is the most common form of this condition. Excessive underarm sweating ruins clothing, can often be maloderous, and excessive wet patches under the arms can cause significant embarassment.
Treatment options include specific anti-perspirants which often stain clothing and surgical procedures which have variable success rates. An easy non-invasive treatment is the use of Botulinism Toxin to inhibit the sweat glands. This treatment has FDA- approval for treating severe primary hyperhidrosis of the underarm area which interferes with daily living and is resistant to topical treatment. It is a safe and very effective treatment. Treatment of other areas is off-licence.