In some cases, however, the body produces more sweat than it needs, despite a suitable ambient temperature. This is called hyperhidrosis. Because perspiring is normal, people who experience excessive sweating don’t usually think of talking to a health professional about it. Yet roughly 3% of Canadians are believed to suffer from this problem.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis, generalized and localized (focal). Most cases (90%) are focal and affect the underarms, hands, feet, and sometimes the groin and forehead. There is generally no odor. Sufferers commonly use antiperspirants containing aluminum salts, which are unfortunately ineffective in controlling the problem. While there is no cure for hyperhidrosis, there are a number of ways to control it.
People suffering from hyperhidrosis commonly use antiperspirants, which are ineffective in controlling the problem.
THE EFFECTS OF HYPERHIDROSIS
Hands that are always damp and slippery are less agile, making certain everyday tasks difficult, such as using a computer keyboard, and making it hard to play some sports like baseball, golf, and tennis. People suffering from hyperhidrosis of the hands may be embarrassed to shake hands when meeting someone new.
The effects of hyperhidrosis of the feet are more medical. Having damp feet all day inside closed shoes promotes the development of certain skin disorders such as athlete’s foot, eczema, warts, ingrown toenails, and soft corns. For people who work or play sports outside in cold weather, having damp feet can lead to frostbite. Shoes also wear out much faster when exposed to excessive sweat, and they may develop an odor.
Sweating that soils and damages clothing is likely a source of embarrassment for hyperhidrosis sufferers. It is not uncommon for this to have negative effects that can undermine the daily lives of people with the condition. Don’t hesitate to discuss this problem with your health professional, who will be able to give you valuable advice to help you live with hyperhidrosis.
Certain measures can be taken to limit excessive perspiration, for example, wearing clothing made of natural fibers that breathe and wearing light, well-ventilated clothing especially near the underarms. Hyperhidrosis rarely causes odor problems. Any resulting odor is due to the interaction of built-up bacteria, sweat, and dead skin. It is therefore strongly recommended that you take a bath or shower daily, paying special attention to the affected areas.
It’s important to take care of your feet by washing them regularly and fully drying them to prevent odor and fungal infections. You can use absorbent powder once or twice a day to control moisture. Wear shoes that let your feet breathe, for example leather shoes or sandals, and opt for wool or cotton socks. You should also change your shoes every day to allow them to dry out. Take these steps before considering any treatment.
Change your shoes every day to allow them to dry out.
Effective treatments are currently available to control hyperhidrosis. If you or someone close to you suffers from this condition, don’t hesitate to talk to your health professional about it!
Generalized hyperhidrosis is the result of either an illness or medication. Sufferers will be prescribed an oral treatment intended primarily to reduce sweating and excessive salivation.
Most cases of focal hyperhidrosis can be controlled using a treatment that is applied directly to the affected area. Gel and liquid medications are available. The active ingredient is aluminum chloride in various concentrations according to the degree of severity. It is crucial to apply these products to clean, dry skin. Ask your health professional for advice on how to apply your treatment.
Other alternatives may also be considered to help control the problem. To find out more about them, don’t hesitate to talk to your health professional.