What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is abnormally excessive sweating that is not necessarily related to heat or exercise. You may sweat so much that it soaks through your clothes or drips off your hands. This condition is often exasperated by stress or nervousness.
Hyperhidrosis treatment if often effective. This begins with prescription-strength antiperspirants. If antiperspirants do not resolve your condition, The Morrison Clinic often recommends medical treatment. In severe cases, we may suggest Hyperhidrosis surgery either to remove the sweat glands or to disconnect the nerves responsible for sweat overproduction.
Sometimes an underlying cause may be found and treated.
Sweating is your body’s mechanism to cool itself. Your nervous system automatically triggers your sweat glands when your body temperature rises. Sweating also normally occurs, especially on your palms, when you’re nervous.
The most common form of hyperhidrosis is called primary focal (essential) hyperhidrosis. With this type, the nerves responsible for signaling your sweat glands become overactive, even though they haven’t been triggered by physical activity or a rise in temperature.
Our South Florida neurosurgery clinic specializes in treating hyperhidrosis, and helping deliver quality daily life to patients with this condition.
Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis: Primary and Secondary
Primary hyperhidrosis produces symptoms that usually affects the hands, feet, underarms or face causes at least one episode a week, during waking hours, usually occurring on both sides of the body.
Tell our neurosurgeons if:
- Sweating disrupts your daily routine
- Sweating causes emotional distress or social withdrawal
- You suddenly begin to sweat more than usual
- You experience night sweats for no apparent reason
Secondary hyperhidrosis is less common, and occurs when excess sweating is due to a medical condition. It is likely to cause sweating all over your body. Conditions that may lead to secondary hyperhidrosis include:
- Menopause hot flashes
- Thyroid problems
- Low blood sugar
- Some types of cancer
- Heart attack
- Nervous system disorders
Note: Most people sweat when they exercise or exert themselves, are in a hot environment, or are anxious or under stress. The excessive sweating experienced with hyperhidrosis, on the other hand, far exceeds normal sweating. Sometimes excessive sweating is a sign of a serious condition.
Seek immediate medical attention if your heavy sweating is accompanied by lightheadedness, chest pain or nausea.
Learn more about your specific Hyperhidrosis symptoms, and how they can be treated at The Morrison Clinic™. Schedule an e-consult.
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Ways to Avoid Hyperhidrosis Surgery
Note that if an underlying medical condition is contributing, that condition will first be treated. Subsequent treatment focuses on controlling excessive sweating.
Non-surgical hyperhidrosis treatment options include the following.
Botulinum toxin injections. The Morrison Clinic often renders injection treatment for Hyperdrosis with botulinum toxin. This temporarily blocks the nerves that cause sweating. Your skin will be iced or anesthetized first. Each affected area of your body will need several injections. The effects last six to 12 months, and then the treatment needs to be repeated. This treatment can be painful. Some people experience temporary muscle weakness in the treated area.
Prescription antiperspirant. Your doctor may prescribe an antiperspirant with aluminum chloride (Drysol, Xerac Ac). This product can cause skin and eye irritation. It’s usually applied to the affected skin before you go to bed. Then you wash the product off when you get up, taking care to not get any in your eyes. If your skin becomes irritated, hydrocortisone cream might help.
Nerve-blocking medications. Some oral medications block the chemicals that permit certain nerves to communicate with each other. This can reduce sweating in some people. Possible side effects include dry mouth, blurred vision and bladder problems.
Hyperhidrosis Surgery and Treatments
Microwave therapy. With this therapy, a device that delivers microwave energy is used to destroy sweat glands. Treatments involve two roughly 30-minute sessions, performed approximately three months apart. Possible side effects are a change in skin sensation and some discomfort.
Sweat gland removal. If excessive sweating occurs just in your armpits, removing the sweat glands there may help. A minimally invasive technique called suction curettage may be an option, too, if you are not responding to other treatments.
Nerve surgery (sympathectomy). During this procedure, the surgeon cuts, burns or clamps the spinal nerves that control sweating in your hands. In some cases, this procedure triggers excessive sweating in other areas of your body (compensatory sweating). Surgery is generally not an option for isolated head and neck sweating. A variation on this procedure interrupts the nerve signals without removing the sympathetic nerve (sympathotomy).
Schedule an e-consult with Dr. Morrison to discuss your Hyperhidrosis surgery and treatment candidacy today.
There is no cure for focal (primary) hyperhidrosis. Treatments we deliver focus on reducing your symptoms and improving your quality of life.
How our neurosurgeons treat secondary hyperhidrosis will depend on the underlying problem. Once our neurosurgoens identify and treat the cause of excessive sweating, excessive sweating typically stops.
In both cases, effective treatment of hyperhidrosis significantly reduces its impact, enabling you to regain your confidence and quality of life.
Immediately following surgery, I was standing and walking pain free. I am enjoying my life again and have Dr. Morrison to thank!
Schedule your Hyperhidrosis e-consult
We’ll educate you on your specific Hyperhidrosis symptoms, and develop a plan for your best quality of life.