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The Insight Behind Hyperhidrosis

Symptoms and diagnosis

By Neurosurgery Singapore

What is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is abnormally excessive sweating that’s not necessarily related to heat or exercise. You may sweat so much that it soaks through your clothes or drips off your hands. Besides disrupting normal daily activities, this type of heavy sweating can cause social anxiety and embarrassment.

 

Hyperhidrosis treatment usually helps, beginning with prescription-strength antiperspirants. If antiperspirants don’t help, you may need to try different medications and therapies. In severe cases, your doctor may suggest surgery either to remove the sweat glands or to disconnect the nerves responsible for the overproduction of sweat.

Sometimes an underlying cause may be found and treated.

What are some symptoms of Hyperhidrosis?

Most people sweat when they exercise or exert themselves, are in a hot environment, or are anxious or under stress. The excessive sweating experienced with hyperhidrosis far exceeds such normal sweating.

The type of hyperhidrosis that usually affects the hands, feet, underarms or face causes at least one episode a week, during waking hours. And the sweating usually occurs on both sides of the body.

See your doctor if:

  • Sweating disrupts your daily routine
  • Sweating causes emotional distress or social withdrawal
  • You suddenly begin to sweat more than usual
  • You experience night sweats for no apparent reason

“On average, a person with hyperhidrosis seeks medical help after living with the condition for 9 years. It is important to spread the word that the symptoms of excessive sweating can be effectively treated.”

What types of diagnosis?

  • Initially, a doctor may try to rule out any underlying conditions, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) by ordering blood and urine tests.

    Patients will be asked about the patterns of their sweating – which parts of the body are affected, how often sweating episodes occur, and whether sweating occurs during sleep.

    The patient may be asked a series of questions, or have to fill in a questionnaire about the impact of excessive sweating.

What to take note of medication for Hyperhidrosis?

You can take medications which block the chemical signal between the nerves and the sweat glands. Propantheline, oxybutynin and glycopyrrolate are anticholinergic drugs widely used. Unfortunately, anticholinergics sometimes cause side effects including a dry mouth, blurred vision, tummy cramps, constipation, and difficulty in passing urine. They may be harmful for people with glaucoma and some other conditions. A small dose is used at first and gradually increased. Some people get relief from sweating before significant side effects occur, but for others the side effects begin before they reach a dose high enough to control sweating. It is important to consult your doctor before consuming such medications.

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