Overcoming Excessive Sweating
Before we explore excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) we should first ponder why human’s actually sweat in the first instance and what triggers sweating as this will increase our understanding of hyperhidrosis. You should know that sweating is a normal function of the body that occurs in response to an elevated body temperature to cool us down – a process known as thermoregulation. I should also draw attention to the fact that we also sweat in reaction to emotional disturbance such as stress or anxiety for example, and if you are susceptible to this you might find yourself sweating more than normal. All humans sweat in different amounts, some more than others, and more often than not men will sweat more than females. When we sweat excessively, i.e. more than is needed for regular body function, this is when problems might begin to begin. If you find yourself sweating constantly all through the day without any apparent cause and have to change your clothes or shower/bathe regularly as a result, it is quite likely you have hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis can be categorised in one of two ways - generalised or localised. In cases of generalized hyperhidrosis, sweating excessively will be noticeable throughout the whole body but with localized hyperhidrosis generally sweating will only be seen from certain areas of the body such as the face, hands or armpits. Even though the precise causes of hyperhidrosis are not completely understood, we do know that the sweat glands are controlled by a portion of the nervous system known as the sympathetic nervous system. When the sympathetic nervous system becomes over-active for whatever reason the sweat glands become stimulated to secrete more sweat than is necessary and excessive sweating is seen. If the sympathetic over-stimulation is limited to specific locations within the body, localised hyperhidrosis will be observed but if the over-stimulation is not specific to a certain area of the body, generalised hyperhidrosis will be seen.
Hyperhidrosis is additionally further classified as either primary or secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis describes excessive sweating without the presence of another medical ailment that may lead to excessive sweat as a side effect. Secondary hyperhidrosis describes excessive sweat as a side effect of another medical disease or as a side effect of certain medications. Some of the more common conditions associated with secondary hyperhidrosis include Parkinson’s disease, obesity and diabetes. As a result of this it is always recommended that you visit your doctor if you suspect you have hyperhidrosis to rule out the possibility of having one of these other conditions.
There are multiple different treatment options available for hyperhidrosis and usually these are divided into two categories: surgical or non-surgical. Non-surgical options should definitely be the first consideration for treatment and in many instances these strategies are sufficient to adequately reduce or eliminate an individual’s sweating problem. If the hyperhidrosis is more profuse and doesn’t respond to these conservative options, surgery may have to be considered.
No matter how much your hyperhidrosis problem affects you there is help available out there and you can overcome this condition. I suggest visiting your doctor to discuss your options and you may be closer than you realise to living a life without sweat!