By Caroline Raftopol, PA-C
Are you a sweater (and I don’t mean as in cashmere…)? Well, break out the gray t-shirts again, because your dermatologist can give you the inspiration to stop your excessive perspiration!
What is hyperhidrosis? This is the medical term for abnormal sweating, which happens when a person sweats more than is necessary. Sweating is an essential part of life as it cools the body and prevents us from overheating, but people with hyperhidrosis may sweat too much or perspire for reasons other than for regulating their body temperature. People with this condition may perspire excessively from their palms, feet, underarms, or head. Many find that hyperhidrosis can interfere with both their professional and personal activities. Moreover, because the skin is always wet, they may develop skin infections more readily than those who do not suffer from the condition.
The good news is that most people with hyperhidrosis are healthy. Abnormal perspiration may occur with anxiety, and is often referred to as “stress sweat.” However, in some, the excessive sweating is an indication of an underlying medical condition or reaction to a medication. Hyperhidrosis may be associated with diabetes, obesity, thyroid disorders, menopause (think hot flashes), gout, cancer, and injury to the nervous system as can occur with brain damage.
Your dermatologist may be able to diagnose this condition by doing a starch-iodine test. This is a very simple test that involves applying a powder to the affected areas and then waiting for the powder to turn purple when wet. Treatments for hyperhidrosis include using over-the-counter and prescription-strength antiperspirants to control the symptoms. If this is ineffective, botulinum toxin, the active ingredient in a popular injectable wrinkle treatment, may be used to control the overactive sweat glands involved in causing increased sweating.
If you think that you may have hyperhidrosis and would like to discuss your symptoms and treatment with a medical provider, please call our offices at Cindy Hoffman Dermatology to schedule an appointment.
American Academy of Dermatology (2014). Retrieved on January 17, 2014 from http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/e---h/hyperhidrosis