Hyperhidrosis Treatment St. Louis
What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive sweating. It can affect any part of the body, but is most commonly found on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and underarms.
Excessive sweating happens when a person sweats more than necessary. Sweating cools the body and prevents overheating. However, individuals with hyperhidrosis sweat when their body doesn't need cooling. People with hyperhidrosis commonly experience excessive sweating in specific areas like the palms, feet, underarms, or head. These areas may constantly drip with sweat while the rest of the body remains dry.
What are the signs and symptoms of hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating, which surpasses normal sweating due to environmental heat, exercise, or emotional factors. In the case of hyperhidrosis affecting the hands, feet, underarms, or face, it typically occurs at least once a week during waking hours. Moreover, this sweating commonly affects both sides of the body.
What are the two types of hyperhidrosis?
Primary focal hyperhidrosis is typically experienced during childhood or adolescence. Individuals with this condition are generally in good health, and the term "primary" indicates that it is not caused by any other medical condition. Symptoms of this type of hyperhidrosis include excessive sweating in specific areas of the body, commonly the underarms, hands and/or feet, and forehead. The sweating usually occurs symmetrically on both sides of the body. Upon waking up, the sweating may commence, although it may go unnoticed unless the room is hot. This condition typically manifests at least once a week, although for many individuals, it may happen more frequently.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating that is attributed to an underlying cause. This cause can be a medical condition, a side effect of medication or food supplements, or other factors.
Various medical conditions can contribute to excessive sweating, including diabetes, frostbite, gout, injury such as head trauma from an accident, menopause, obesity, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), or the presence of a tumor. Symptoms of secondary hyperhidrosis may involve excessive sweating throughout the entire body or limited to specific areas. Sweating during sleep is also common in this condition, and it is advisable to consult a dermatologist to determine the cause. Secondary hyperhidrosis typically emerges in adulthood and may be triggered by accidents, frostbite, or certain medications.
Who gets hyperhidrosis?
The exact prevalence of excessive sweating is challenging to determine as many individuals never seek medical help, either due to embarrassment or unawareness of it being a treatable condition. It is estimated that approximately 3% of people in the United States experience excessive sweating.
Certain factors make some individuals more susceptible to developing hyperhidrosis. Researchers have found that most people fall into one of the following categories:
- Having a family member with excessive sweating
- Having an underlying medical condition that triggers sweating
- Taking medication or food supplements known to cause excessive sweating
When excessive sweating is localized to one or two specific areas of the body, it is likely that a family member also experiences this condition.
Various medical conditions, such as diabetes and gout, can contribute to excessive sweating. Additionally, sweating can be caused by tumors or injuries.
In women, excessive sweating often occurs during menopause, particularly during hot flashes. While the cause is evident in such cases, some women may develop excessive sweating even after menopause, without an obvious trigger.
Hyperhidrosis can affect individuals of all races and can start at any age. It commonly begins during childhood or adolescence, with dermatologists believing that many children and adolescents have this condition that goes undiagnosed.
Regardless of the climate you reside in, whether cold or warm, hyperhidrosis can affect you.
What causes hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis occurs due to faulty nerve signals that make eccrine sweat glands overly active.
Notably, primary hyperhidrosis does not stem from any underlying medical cause. Instead, it can be hereditary and have a familial predisposition.
How do dermatologists diagnose hyperhidrosis?
Diagnosing hyperhidrosis involves a thorough physical examination conducted by one of our St. Louis dermatologists. Our dermatologist will carefully examine the areas of the body affected by excessive sweating and asks specific questions to determine the cause.
In some cases, medical testing may be required, such as the sweat test. This test involves applying a powder to the skin, changing color to purple when wet.
Additional medical tests may be needed to identify any underlying medical conditions.
If you are experiencing excessive sweating and it is impacting your daily life, it is important to consult one of our dermatologists at Mid-County Dermatology. Our dermatology team can help to determine the underlying cause of your hyperhidrosis and recommend the most appropriate treatment option.
Treatment options for hyperhidrosis may include antiperspirants, topical medications, prescription oral medications, or procedures such as Botox injections. We will work with you to determine the best course of treatment based on the severity of your condition and your individual needs and preferences.
Don't let excessive sweating control your life. If you are in the St. Louis area and are seeking treatment for hyperhidrosis, our team of dermatologist experts is here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.