While doctors don’t know why excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) starts, the most likely cause is a genetic one. It most commonly occurs in the underarms, the groin, hands, and feet. Regulation of temperature is the reason why these body parts tend to become sweatier than the rest of the body during physical activity. However, people suffering from hyperhidrosis do sweat far more compared to other people, and sometimes with no apparent reason at all.
Medical scientists have linked this condition to an overactive sympathetic nervous system. In cases of plantar hyperhidrosis (foot sweating) the responsible sympathetic ganglia that receive the wrong signal are located within a section of the lumbar sympathetic chain. In cases of palmar hyperhidrosis (hand sweating) the responsible sympathetic ganglia that receive the wrong signal for that abnormal activity are located within the upper part of the chest cavity.
Extreme sweating can impede many social activities that include physical contact. Some excessive sweating sufferers feel they have to avoid situations like going to the doctor, job interviews or working with computers.
Regardless of where it occurs, excessive sweating presents an incredible problem to those living with the condition. When the act of shaking hands presents a problem, business and day-to-day life can become very uncomfortable. Many patients report that they are even embarrassed to hold the hands of those they love and those they are closest to. Some patients report that the sweat prevents them from being as sociable as they would like to be, as they are forced to hide in the shadow of hyperhidrosis.
Other problems occur such as smeared ink when writing or an inability to use electronic devices such as keyboards and computers. Needless to say, smelly feet and underarms are the among the most undesirable effect of this condition. Truly, hyperhidrosis can extremely affect people socially and functionally in their everyday lives. Thankfully, there is a permanent surgical solution for the condition.
Aluminum chloride: Aluminum chloride is used in common deodorants and antiperspirants but to stop excessive sweating the concentration needs to be very high. With a solution of 15% aluminum chloride it usually takes a week of nightly use to stop the sweating. Drysol, Hypercare, and Maxim are some brands of this type of antiperspirant. Beware though with the use of these chemicals as there is always the risk of skin irritation.
Botox: Botulinum toxin A: Botox can be used to disable the sweat glands through injection. The effect can last anything from 4-9 months. This method is carried out under local anesthesia. As the botox wears off you will need another round of treatment as the condition is almost always sure to return.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been tested with some success and compared to invasive and risky medical procedures it might be worth a try.
Hypnosis: Anxiety about sweating tends to make the problem even worse and hypnosis has been tested but unfortunately with limited success.
Surgery: When doing surgery to cure excessive sweating the most common method is to cut or burn the nerve ganglia destroying their ability to transmit impulses. Surgery is often seen as the last resort if no other method helps. It is a permanent and generally safe solution.