Treatment for hyperhidrosis and its effects may vary from person to person. Current treatments available include:
The most common way to manage hyperhidrosis requires the use of antiperspirants. They contain aluminium chloride which works by blocking the sweat glands and reduces the level of sweating. Antiperspirants must be applied on dry skin at night and washed off in the morning. They can be purchased over the counter.
Iontophoresis is mostly used in treating the hands and soles of the feet. It works by passing a small electrical current through the area of the skin immersed in water (please see the images below).The process takes around 20 to 30 minutes and is carried out in 2 to 4 sessions a week depending on how sever the condition is. Research shows it is not fully understood how Iontophoresis affects the sweat gland, however the procedure may block the sweat glands, reducing the level of sweating.
Treatment of hyperhidrosis through Iontophoresis. Image by @DermNetNZ
Image licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/nz/
Botulinum toxin (Botox) contains bacteria which is injected into the skin in small amounts. Although Botox is most commonly used in beauty treatments it has shown to be very effective in the treatment of hyperhidrosis. The bacteria works by blocking the nerve action that results in sweating, which can be used in many areas of the body and is effective for several months.
Oral anticholinergic treatment is prescribed if antiperspirants are ineffective. Anticholinergic drugs are used in the treatment of primary hyperhidrosis and work by blocking sweat secretion as a result reducing sweating. Possible side effects include dry mouth, blurred vision and constipation.
Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETC) surgery is often the last resort to treat hyperhidrosis, if other treatments were unsuccessful.The surgery involves cutting of the nerve that causes sweating. As a result the signal is cut off to the sweat gland and sweating is reduced. Other procedures include removal or destruction of the sweat glands. Compensatory sweating is an after effect of surgery, where sweating occurs in a different part of the body instead of where the procedure had taken place.
Other available treatments
Anxiety medication and antidepressants may be useful in controlling hyperhidrosis. This is due to high levels of anxiety that cause excessive sweating, usually affecting the underarms and hands.