It’s a situation everyone dreads: You’re enjoying a nice sunny day, when all of a sudden you start sweating. Try as you might, you can’t do anything to stop the sweat forming under your arm pits, on your chest and on your back. Depending on how hot it is outside you can go from feeling great to being a sweaty mess in a matter of a few minutes.
The average person has two to four million sweat glands working on the body’s coolant system. So while sweating may be an unwelcome annoyance on a hot day, it helps your body from overheating.
If you’re wondering why you might have excessive sweating, there’s a chance you could a condition called hyperhidrosis, which causes people to sweat four or five times more than normal.
You may have hyperhidrosis if you notice these symptoms:
- You sweat from one or two areas of your body such as the underarms, head or palms. The rest of your body is dry while these problem areas drip with sweat.
- You sweat if you’re not exercising or moving. Chances are you might feel beads of sweat soaking your clothes or on your skin, even when you’re sitting down.
- You’re sweating so much that it’s difficult to do even the simplest of tasks. If you’re sweating so much you may feel embarrassed to be around people.
- You’re sweating so much that your skin stays wet and possibly turns soft and white.
- You commonly get skin infections in areas where you sweat a lot.
If you’re wondering why you might have excessive sweating, hyperhidrosis is a likely culprit. Hyperhidrosis affects men and women equally and most commonly occurs among people who are between the ages of 25-64. There are about eight million Americans affected by hyperhidrosis; about one to three percent of the population.
If you are experiencing excessive sweating, you’re probably wondering what can be done to combat it. Fortunately, there are several hyperhidrosis treatments available including:
- Deodorant: Deodorant and antiperspirants serve a purpose: when you roll them onto your skin, they form a plug that deters sweating. All kinds of deodorants and antiperspirants are available at your local drug stores and grocery stores. You can try dozens of over-the-counter brands or have a doctor prescribe one for you. Keep in mind that a lot of antiperspirants are sold combined with deodorant, which only helps control odor from sweating.
Also take note that antiperspirants don’t have to just be used on your underarms. It can easily be applied to other areas where you sweat like your feet and even your hairline.
- Iontophoresis: This is one of several medical treatments available for excessive sweating. It works by sitting with your hands and feet in shallow water as an electrical current passes through the water. The goal of the treatment is to block sweat from getting to your skin’s surface. These “no-sweat machine” treatments need to be used between six and 10 times to shut down sweat glands. The typical treatment lasts about 20 minutes.
- Botox: Another treatment for sweating is Botox. While it is typically used for wrinkles, Botox has been approved by the FDA for treating excessive sweating in the underarms, but it can also be used on the hands and feet. Botox prevents the release of a chemical that signals your sweat glands to activate. You may need several Botox treatments for this to work, but they usually last for about a year.
- Anticholinergic drugs: If you’ve tried all of the methods listed above and you’re still wondering why you might have excessive sweating, anticholinergic drugs might help. These drugs stop the activation of sweat gland, but they can have many side effects including blurred vision and urinary problems.
- Surgery: If all else fails, surgery is also an option to control sweating. However surgery recommended only for people with severe hyperhidrosis and when all other options haven’t worked. If you have surgery, doctors may cut or suction out your sweat glands. One effective surgery option is enoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS), where the nerves in the armpit are cut. Keep in mind this surgery is permanent and another area of your body might sweat to compensate.
If you’re wondering why you might have excessive sweating, know that there are many treatments. Consult a doctor to find the best treatment for your problem.