Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)

What is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating. It can cause sufferers anxiety and embarrassment, and the excessive sweating may also interfere with normal daily activities.

Hyperhidrosis may run in the family, and often starts in childhood or the teenage years. Less commonly, certain medical conditions or drugs may also cause hyperhidrosis.

It can affect the entire body (generalised) or only occur in certain areas (localised). Localised hyperhidrosis is the most common type and tends to occur over the palms, soles, armpits. Less often the face and scalp may be affected.

What are the treatment options for hyperhidrosis?

The simplest type of treatment is topial antiperspirants. They are usually applied nightly and the antiperspirant is pulled into the sweat glands to plug them when you sweat. Common side effects of topical antiperspirants include burning and irritation.

Botulinum toxin is another treatment mainly used to treat underarm sweating. It may also be used to treat excessive sweating of the palms and soles. Multiple tiny injections of the toxin are used to block a chemical stimulating the sweat glands. The reduction in sweating generally lasts 4-6 months.

Oral medications are sometimes prescribed for hyperhidrosis. They temporarily stop the sweat glands from working, and are effective for generalised hyperhidrosis. Common side effects include dry eyes and dry mouth.