All the people are sweating. It is one of the body’s most important ways to cool down and maintain the right body temperature. But sweating so much that it feels painful in everyday life is called excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis.

The most common cause of excessive sweating is overactive sweat glands. Then you sweat most on the palms, on the soles of the feet or in the armpits. It is mainly this type of sweating that is described in this text.

Symptoms of excessive sweating

There is no limit to what is excessive sweating. It is how you experience sweating yourself.

For example, you who have excessive sweating may have one or more of the following problems:

  • It feels difficult to take other people’s hands.
  • You have difficulty handling paper and other things at school or at work due to hand sweat.
  • You get skin damage or infections due to sweating.

When and where should I seek care?

Contact a health care provider if you have any of the following problems:

  • You sweat so much that it bothers you in your everyday life and antiperspirants don’t help. Antiperspirants are products that you use on your skin to counteract sweating.
  • You have severe sweating and are tired, lose weight, have heart palpitations, a prolonged fever or sweating at night.

If it is a weekend, you can wait until it is every day. You can contact many receptions by logging in.

What can I do for myself?

New sweat smells almost nothing at all. It is when the bacteria begin to break down substances in the sweat that it starts to smell. Therefore, be careful about hygiene. Wash with a mild soap that does not dry out the skin.

Try shaving your hair in your armpits if you have troublesome sweating there. Then it becomes less surface area for the bacteria to grow on.

You can try the following if you have foot sweat:

  • Use socks made of natural materials such as silk, bamboo, and cotton with a high cotton content. Avoid synthetic materials that easily get damp.
  • Have several pairs of shoes so you can change. Leather shoes are better than dense sneakers or rubber boots. 
  • Allow the used shoes to dry thoroughly before using them again. There are special electric shoe dryers that you can put in your shoes to make them dry properly.

Use antiperspirant or deodorant

Antiperspirants and deodorants contain different substances and therefore work in different ways. Many products are both antiperspirant and deodorant.

Antiperspirants reduce sweating. They usually help better in the armpits than on the palms and soles of the feet. They usually contain aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum chloride. Aluminum chloride usually has a better effect. Antiperspirants can cause the skin to become irritated, dry or crack. There are antiperspirants with an extra-strong effect on pharmacies. Follow the operating instructions carefully.

Deodorants hide odors with the help of perfumes. Often they contain substances that reduce the growth of bacteria.

Antiperspirants and deodorants with water irritate the skin less than those containing alcohol, but they dry more slowly. They are available both with and without perfume. Try a perfume-free if you get red and irritated on the skin.

Surveys

You can tell us about your problems at the health center. The doctor usually asks if you have had any illnesses in the past and if you have anything that indicates a disease right now. No major examination is always needed if you have increased sweating in common places such as the palms, feet, and armpits.

Your doctor may perform a physical examination and take blood tests if you have less common symptoms, for example, if you sweat at night. This allows the doctor to rule out that sweating is due to some other illness.

You can get a referral to a dermatologist or a neurologist if you have very severe problems. A neurologist is a specialist in disorders of the nervous system. The dermatologist or neurologist does an investigation and then handles your treatment.

Treatment for excessive sweating

There are several different treatment methods that work well if you have excessive sweating in the armpits, hands or feet and sweating is not due to any illness. Here are the following:

  • injections with botulinum toxin
  • drug
  • iontophoresis
  • microwave
  • operation of sweat glands in the armpits.

There are tablets that can partially help if you sweat from other parts of the body, such as the face or genital area. But they have some side effects that can be troublesome, such as the dry mouth.

Syringes with botulinum toxin

You can get botulinum toxin syringes if you have a lot of trouble. Botulinum toxin is a substance that blocks the nerve impulses that go to the sweat glands. It makes you sweat less. Botulinum toxin is found in the drugs Botox and Xeomin.

The treatment usually works well and the vast majority will be assisted for a period of time. Most often, the effect remains for more than six months. The effect can remain even longer if the treatment is repeated. The side effects are few. In some cases, the muscles in the treated area may be weakened.

Drug

So-called anticholinergic drugs reduce sweating. You can take medicines alone or in combination with botulinum toxin.

Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis is a less common treatment. It is used if you have hand sweat or foot sweat, but it works best with hand sweat.

You may place your hands in a water bath that is connected to a device with a low current. The weak current is transferred from the water to the skin and causes the sweat glands to produce less sweat. A small live bed placed on the skin gives the same effect.

In the beginning, it is common to receive the treatment for excessive sweating 20 minutes each day. After a while, it may take longer between treatments.

Iontophoresis usually does not cause any side effects, but the skin can become irritated and dry or have cracks.

Microwaves

There is a method to destroy the sweat glands with microwaves. The method is used for sweating in the armpits.

Operation of sweat glands in the armpits

The operation of sweat glands in the armpits is a fairly large and unusual operation. You can have your sweat glands removed if you have severe problems with excessive sweating in the armpits. You will receive local anesthesia during the operation.

Side effects of the operation can include infections, bleeding in the operating area and scarring.

Sweating

All the people are sweating, both adults and children. When you sweat, your body cools down to maintain the right body temperature. The scent that forms when we sweat is probably of great importance for the social and sexual interaction between people. Others may not feel like you smell, even if you find yourself doing it.

Children and sweating

Children are also sweating more or less. Different kids can sweat a lot different even if they are just dressed and are in the same environment. Some babies are particularly sweaty on the head, which is perfectly normal.

Adolescents at puberty begin to sweat more and the sweat gets a noticeable odor. Many people find that sweating is cumbersome, but eventually, it usually gets better by itself. You are in puberty can also read about sweating at UMO.se.

Sometimes you sweat more

There are several reasons why you sometimes sweat more. It can be the following:

  • You exert yourself physically or get hot for some other reason.
  • You have an infection, such as a cold. Then you sweat because the areas that regulate temperature and sweating are temporarily affected. You can get sweats that come and go, even if you do not have a fever. Sweating can last for several weeks.
  • You are stressed or worried. The body has the ability to prepare for physical defense when you are stressed. Sweating in the palms and soles of the feet increases.
  • You can sweat more if you are well trained than you are untrained. The person who is well-trained is sweating most on the upper body.
  • You can sweat a lot on your face when you eat spicy foods.

How much are you sweating?

You usually lose about half a liter of fluid through the skin every day. It is controlled by the so-called sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system belongs to the part of the body’s nervous system that you cannot control with the will.

Two types of sweat glands

There are two types of sweat glands in the skin, the ekkrina, and the apocrine sweat glands.

The ekkrina sweat glands are most important for the body’s ability to adjust its temperature. There are several million scattered all over the skin, but they are densest in the palms and soles of the feet. Sweat from them consists of water, but also small amounts of salts, ammonia, lactic acid, and urea.

The apocrine sweat glands are found mainly in the armpits, groins, and abdomen. Sweat from them contains, among other things, egg whites that are broken down by bacteria found on the skin. This creates strong fragrant substances.

What is the reason for excessive sweating?

There are several different causes of excessive sweating.

The sweat glands can be overactive – primary hyperhidrosis

The most common cause of excessive sweating is overactive sweat glands. Then you sweat most on the palms, on the soles of the feet or in the armpits. It is also common to sweat from other places such as the face or genital area. You can sweat more in periods, so-called woods.

The cause of overactive sweat glands is not known. One theory is that activity increases in the parts of the brain that control sweating. The skin becomes cold and wet when you sweat a lot. This, in turn, can increase activity in the part of the nervous system that is sensitive to stress, and make you sweat even more.

Mental stress can increase the inconvenience, but it is usually not the reason why the sweat glands are overactive. On the contrary, it can often be that it is the excessive sweating that makes you feel mentally ill.

It is quite common for people with primary hyperhidrosis to have a close relative with the same type of disorder.

Other causes of excessive sweating – secondary hyperhidrosis

Excessive sweating can also be due to various diseases or hormonal changes in the body. Then it is common to sweat more throughout the body. The excessive sweating is then called secondary hyperhidrosis.

For example, it may be due to one of the following:

  • You are overweight.
  • You drink a lot of alcohol.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You have menopause.
  • These are the side effects of any medicine you take.
  • You have a prolonged infection.
  • You have social anxiety.
  • You have production of thyroid hormone, hyperthyroidism.
  • You have a certain type of cancer.

The more serious causes, such as prolonged infections, hyperthyroidism, and cancer, are uncommon. Then you may also have other symptoms, such as losing weight, being very tired, having heart palpitations or having a prolonged and recurrent fever.

Influence and participate in your care

You can seek care at any medical center or open specialist clinic you want throughout the country. Sometimes a referral  to the open specialized care is required.

You should understand the information

In order for you to be involved in your care and treatment, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare staff. Ask questions if you don’t understand. For example, you should receive information about treatment options and how long you may have to wait for care and treatment.

Ehtisham Nadeem

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