Written by: Sandra Eriksson Mirkovic, licensed MD
Do you struggle with excessive sweating? Fortunately, there are several hyperhidrosis treatment options available. Have you seen a doctor and gotten the diagnosis hyperhidrosis? Or have you scoured the internet for answers and believe that you have hyperhidrosis? And now you would like to know how you can get treatment?
Have you not gotten proper information on available treatments from your doctor? Maybe you're not sure what treatments that are out there?
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Let us help you get on the right track. First things first, you have to make sure that you have hyperhidrosis and that you don't sweat excessively for any other reason. That's why it's important that you see your doctor in order to get a proper diagnosis. This is extra important if you have only had the symptoms for a year or less and if you have excessive sweating on other areas on your body than on your hands, feet and possibly armpits.
The diagnostic criterias for primary focal hyperhidrosis are:
Focal increase sweating with > 6 months duration without any underlying causes with at least two of the following symptoms:
- Sweating that limits daily activities
- Severely increased sweating at least once a week
- Bilateral and symmetrical
- Debut before the age of 25
- Heredity (present for about 30-35%)
- Sweating ceases during sleep
You can have primary hyperhidrosis, meaning hyperhidrosis that is not caused by any other underlying condition on any other parts of the body, but there are currently no clear criteria for that.
It is always recommended to seek medical care if you experience excessive sweating for no apparent reason. Whether you have been diagnosed with generalized or focal hyperhidrosis, you should be able to consult with your doctor about various treatments that may be helpful, but unfortunately this is not always the case. In fact, those who seek help do not always receive a correct diagnosis or care. This may be because the doctor is not aware of the sweat problem and is unaware of hyperhidrosis and possible treatments. We are here to help you.
Step one with sweating treatments are antiperspirants with aluminum chloride such as Absolut torr, STOP24, My Carpe, Sweatstop and so on. They are available in different forms, such as roll-on, spray or cream. You have to be completely dry when applying them, or you might have a severe reaction on your skin.
If the above treatment does not work, any next step depends on which body part you wish to treat. Injections are one option.
This is a very effective treatment with very few side effects. It works for most people and lasts about 3-9 months. You can experience weakness in the so-called tweezers grip if you get treatment for your hands, and if insufficient anesthetic is used the treatment can be momentarily quite painful.
For hands, feet and armpits there is an alternative. It's called iontophoresis, which is a machine used at home for treatment of excessive sweating of hands, feet and armpits and even the face. This treatment is very effective and has very few side effects.
However, it does take about 2 weeks before you see results, and you need maintenance treatments to maintain the desired effects. The treatment is considered to be very gentle and is also considered as appropriate for children. The British association of Dermatology recommends iontophoresis for children from the age of 12 or from the age of 5 after consultation with a dermatologist.
If you sweat from other parts of your body such as face/head, chest, back, groin, lower abdomen or bum etc you might need a combined form of treatment. It can consist of injections on some parts, aluminum chloride on some, iontophoresis or oral medication.
The drugs that are used for sweat treatments today are mostly anticholinergic tablets and they are mostly developed to treat other conditions. They can be very effective but can have severe side effects and there is also a documented increased risk of development of dementia with older people that use these drugs.
With younger patients the correlation has not been seen or studied to any further extent. However, the medicine can help and absolutely can be a valuable option when it comes to treatment of excessive sweating, especially if there is sweating from several parts of the body. Medicine however should only be taken after careful consideration with your physician and in as small dosage as possible.We hope that after reading this, that you feel a little less confused regarding your treatment options. Feel free to check out our hyperhidrosis pages Sweaty hands, Sweaty feet and Night sweats as well as check out our doctor Sandra Eriksson Mirkovic’s Instagram page: dr_sandra_hyperhidrosis