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The Call-On-Doc Guide to Excessive Sweating

Published on May 04, 2023 | 5:25 PM

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Do you find yourself constantly worrying about sweat stains, avoiding social situations, and feeling embarrassed because of excessive sweating? Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, can be a stressful condition that leaves you feeling self-conscious or defeated. However, you are not alone and there are several options that can help. According to the Cleveland Clinic, around 5% of Americans reported, however, many more cases are suspected but not reported. Covering both the entire body and isolated parts, the condition can certainly be a struggle, but we at Call-On-Doc are here to help with hyperhidrosis treatment and further information to inform and guide you with managing hyperhidrosis.

How do I know if I have hyperhidrosis?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, medically diagnosed excessive sweating is not based on only the amount of the body's production of sweat. Some other symptoms of hyperhidrosis are:

  • Constant sweating: Regular sweating that can come in bouts or appears to not stop. The person can be entirely comfortable without physical exertion or stress but still be sweating.
  • Daily life interruptions: Due to many cases of hyperhidrosis affecting certain parts of the body, excessive sweating can result in difficulty with daily tasks like writing, typing, grasping objects, and more. 
  • Prone to skin infections: Particularly in cases where excessive sweating is isolated to specific parts of the body, you might experience more infections due to the skin constantly remaining moist for extended periods of time. For example, athlete's foot can arise even in people that aren’t necessarily athletic if they have excessive sweating due to the feet remaining wet and confined in shoes or boots. 
  • Softer skin: Due to the additional moisture on the skin, someone with hyperhidrosis may have more sensitive skin that is more prone to injury and peeling. 

Is hyperhidrosis a serious problem?

Hyperhidrosis is not typically considered a life-threatening or severe medical condition, but it can significantly impact a person's quality of life. Excessive sweating can lead to discomfort, embarrassment, social anxiety, and reduced self-confidence. In some cases, hyperhidrosis can also cause skin irritation, infections, and odor. While hyperhidrosis is not a serious health problem in terms of mortality, it can cause significant psychological distress and affect daily activities, relationships, and overall well-being. 

Who is most likely to have hyperhidrosis?

It is known that gender does not affect the severity or symptoms in a person with excessive sweating. According to a 2021 study, some results show that excessive sweating may be more common in Caucasian and Asian people, but no underlying cause has been discovered as of yet for primary hyperhidrosis cases. 

According to a 2016 study, there’s not much difference between the number of cases per type of person in either regard. However, age does seem to play a significant role, with patients under 30 more commonly experiencing primary hyperhidrosis. 

How does hyperhidrosis start?

Excessive sweating is classified as a disorder caused by the overstimulation of cholinergic receptors. According to Statpearls, the condition is categorized as primary or secondary. 

Primary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating in specific areas without an underlying cause, while secondary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating caused by an underlying medical condition, medication, or substance abuse. 

Some other differentiators between primary and secondary hyperhidrosis:

Primary hyperhidrosis: A condition characterized by excessive sweating in specific areas of the body, such as the hands, feet, underarms, or face, that is not caused by an underlying medical condition or medication. The disability is believed to be caused by overactive sweat glands. This means that people with primary hyperhidrosis may experience excessive sweating even when they are not exercising, feeling warm, or under stress. 

Secondary hyperhidrosis: A medical condition characterized by excessive sweating that is caused by an underlying medical condition, medication, or substance abuse. Some of the medical conditions that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis include:

how-does-hyperhidrosis-start

How is hyperhidrosis diagnosed?

In some cases, excessive sweating does not necessarily need testing, with a conclusion established after a medical evaluation. According to John Hopkins, the two most common tests used to diagnose the condition are:

  • Starch Iodine Test: The test involves applying iodine solution to the skin in the area of concern, and then sprinkling cornstarch over the iodine. As the skin sweats, the cornstarch absorbs the sweat, turning the iodine solution dark blue or black in areas of excessive sweating.
  • Vapometer: also known as a sudorometer, is a medical device used to measure the rate of sweat production in a specific area of the body. It's a small instrument that uses a piece of filter paper to absorb sweat and measures the rate of evaporation of the sweat. In relation to hyperhidrosis, a vapometer may be used to help diagnose the severity of excessive sweating in specific areas of the body. It can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment options over time by measuring changes in sweat production.

Should I go to the doctor if I think I have hyperhidrosis?

If you struggling with excessive sweating and need help, you can get diagnosed and treated online with Call-On-Doc. You can start now and submit your consultation from the comfort of your home and pick up one of several treatment options from your pharmacy in just a few hours.

How do you fix hyperhidrosis?

Excessive sweating can be managed through various treatments, with Call-On-Doc offering effective options like: 

Antiperspirant: Antiperspirants can be an effective treatment option for hyperhidrosis by reducing the amount of sweat produced by the sweat glands. They contain an active ingredient, usually aluminum chloride, that temporarily plugs the sweat ducts, preventing sweat from reaching the skin's surface. This reduction in sweat production can help to manage the symptoms of hyperhidrosis, such as excessive sweating and body odor.

Glycopyrrolate tablets: Glycopyrrolate tablets treat hyperhidrosis by blocking the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates sweat gland activity. As an anticholinergic medication, Glycopyrrolate inhibits the action of acetylcholine, reducing the amount of sweat produced by the sweat glands. This helps to manage the symptoms of hyperhidrosis, such as excessive sweating and body odor. Glycopyrrolate is typically taken orally and may be prescribed by a healthcare provider for the treatment of excessive sweating in specific areas of the body, such as the hands, feet, or underarms.

Oxybutynin tablets: tablets treat hyperhidrosis by reducing the activity of the sweat glands. Oxybutynin is an anticholinergic medication that works by blocking the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates sweat gland activity. By inhibiting the action of acetylcholine, oxybutynin reduces the amount of sweat produced by the sweat glands, which can help to manage the symptoms of hyperhidrosis. Oxybutynin is typically taken orally and may be prescribed by a healthcare provider for the treatment of excessive sweating in specific areas of the body, such as the hands, feet, or underarms. 

Iontophoresis machine: An iontophoresis machine treats hyperhidrosis by using a low-level electrical current to reduce the activity of the sweat glands. The machine works by sending a mild electrical current through the water in which the affected body part is submerged, typically the hands, feet, or underarms. This electrical current can effectively reduce the amount of sweat produced by the sweat glands, helping to manage the symptoms of hyperhidrosis. If this treatment option is of interest, Call-On-Doc is partnered with RA Fischer to prescribe their Iontophoresis machine and can help submit prior authorization for insurance to help cover the costs of the machine.

Can hyperhidrosis be cured?

Hyperhidrosis cannot be "cured" in the traditional sense, as it is a chronic condition that is often due to overactive sweat glands or an underlying medical condition. While excessive sweating may not have a cure, with proper management, most people with the condition can significantly reduce their symptoms and improve their quality of life. It's important to work with a healthcare provider to find the most effective treatment plan for your individual case of hyperhidrosis.

While many are unaware that excessive sweating is a medical condition that can be treated, if hyperhidrosis is something that bothers you or a loved one on a daily basis, a medical evaluation and treatment plan might be right for you.

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Wayne C. Hahne,

English graduate and Call-On-Doc’s medical resource guide, Wayne C. Hahne is an experienced and passionate medical education content expert. Through diligent research, provider interviews and utilizing the industry's leading resources for wellness information, it is Mr. Hahne’s personal mission to educate the general public on medical conditions with in-depth and easy-to-understand written guides.

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