When it comes to sweat – we all do it. It’s that mildly embarrassing problem that shows the world when we are nervous, too warm, too cold, uncomfortable, have just exercised, or that we are simply over sweating. When sweating becomes more than a mildly embarrassing issue – this is called hyperhidrosis.
What is Hyperhidrosis?
Defined as abnormally excessive sweating unrelated to heat or exercise, hyperhidrosis is different from normal sweating. It can be a difficult issue, particularly when sweat soaks through clothes or drips off your skin. This, in turn, can lead to embarrassment, social anxiety, and can cause you to limit your activities and clothing options.
How can we tell if our sweating is not normal?
In general, excessive sweating becomes an issue when it gets in the way of our lives. If sweating prevents you from certain activities that you enjoy when it keeps you at home for fear of over sweating in problem, and when you make clothing choices based on your sweating rather than what you enjoy wearing, this is impacting areas of your life.
Causes of Excessive Sweating
There are two types of hyperhidrosis. The first is called primary hyperhidrosis, and this is when the nerves responsible for signalling to your sweat glands become overactive, even though they haven’t been triggered by anything. It is exacerbated by stress, nervousness, and exercise. This type usually affects your hands, feet, and sometimes your face. There is no medical cause, and there may be a genetic component.
Secondary hyperhidrosis occurs when excess sweating is due to a medical condition. It’s the less common type, and it is more likely to cause sweating all over your body. Conditions that may lead to heavy sweating include diabetes, menopause, and metabolic issues like thyroid problems and low blood sugar.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
So what can we do about over-sweating? One of the most effective treatments is Botox, as it temporarily blocks the nerves that cause sweating and the effects can last 6 to 12 months. Other treatments may include prescription antiperspirants or creams, nerve-blocking medications, antidepressants, and more invasive procedures like sweat gland removal and nerve surgery (sympathectomy). Whatever sweat reducing strategies and treatments you choose, you are not alone in dealing with this condition as many people are challenged by their sweat and have had to find creative ways to deal with the condition. Other tips include:
1. Use antiperspirant and apply it properly
Antiperspirants block your sweat pores temporarily, which reduces the amount of sweat that reaches your skin. It is best to apply antiperspirant at night, on clean dry skin, and it is important to make contact with the antiperspirant to all areas of the underarm.
2. Apply astringents
Applying over-the-counter products containing tannic acid (Zilactin) or other astringents like witchhazel to the affected area may reduce sweating.
3. Have a strong hygiene routine
Regular cleaning can help reduce the bacteria on the skin, which can lead to body odour. Drying thoroughly is also important to prevent excess odour.
4. Choose footwear of natural materials
Shoes made of natural materials, such as leather, can help prevent sweaty feet by allowing your feet to breathe. When you’re active, moisture-wicking athletic socks are a good choice.
5. Change your socks often
Changing your socks throughout the day, and be sure to dry your feet each time. Adding over the counter foot powders to help absorb sweat to your feet hygiene routine can be beneficial as it absorbs moisture.
6. Air your feet
Free your feet when possible and go barefoot when you can and it is safe to do so!
7. Choose clothing to suit your activity
Generally, wear natural fabrics, such as cotton, wool and silk, which allow your skin to breathe. When you exercise, you might prefer fabrics designed to wick moisture away from your skin.
8. Try relaxation techniques
We sweat more when we under stress, so you may consider relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation to reduce the sweating that accompanies stress.
Hyperhidrosis can cause discomfort, embarrassment, and anxiety. For some, excessive sweating disrupts life because of anxiety surrounding body odour, clothing stains, and visible sweating on the skin. It can disrupt your career, social life and your mental health. Finding the remedies and treatments that work for you will help lessen the impact that over sweating can have on your life.