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Treating Hyperhidrosis or Excessive Sweating (Cosmetic Treatments)
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Treating Hyperhidrosis or Excessive Sweating

Julian A. Hancock, MD

Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating occurs in about 2 to 3% of the population, and affects both men and women, usually in the palms, soles of the feet, and the underarms. Understand that this is a common disorder, and there are many readily available solutions.

First, consult your physician and ensure that the excessive sweat is not an underlying symptom of a more serious medical disorder such as nerve damage, metabolic disorder, obesity, or menopause. Overactive thyroids can also cause excessive sweating, and certain medications can cause similar reactions. If the excessive sweating is triggered by any of these external factors, these are considered secondary hyperhidrosis, and treatment will focus on eliminating the underlying problem that is causing the excess sweat.

Second, determine the type of hyperhidrosis that you are suffering from. Sweating can be generalized or all over the body, or focal, focusing on one part of the body, such as the underarms.

The first line of treatment for focal hyperhidrosis often starts with the use of antiperspirants. While they can be irritants for some people, they are often quite effective in controlling sweat.

Iontophoresis is a procedure in which electricity is used to effectively turn off the sweat glands.

BOTOX® (botulinum toxin) was approved for use in Canada for treating underarm hyperhidrosis, and is usually effective for 6-8 months. A local anesthetic is used during the procedure.

At times, surgical techniques are used to remove the sweaty skin or the sweat nerves of some areas.

Know that there are treatment options that are available, and discuss them with your dermatologist. For more information visit these websites:


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