Have you ever wondered why you sweat so much in your palms or under your arms when you were a child, or even now as an adult? Excessive sweating is a condition called hyperhidrosis that affects about three percent of the world’s population. Excessive sweating in these areas can cause embarrassment since there are never triggers or signs to know when it’s going to happen. Many people that are affected by hyperhidrosis experience it in a few of the same places such as the hands and feet as well as under the arms. These two different types of hyperhidrosis are categorized as palmoplantar hyperhidrosis and axillary hyperhidrosis.
Why does the body sweat?
Your body will normally sweat to help regulate the internal temperature that is optimal for all of your necessary metabolic functions. Throughout your body cells are working and generating heat energy, so there is a constant internal temperature that is regulated. When the body experiences heat exposure from the surrounding environment, this adds to the overall temperature of the body which triggers homeostasis. Homeostasis is the mechanism your body uses throughout the systems to keep things in normal working order. When your heart undergoes stress from increased activity, your muscles undergo short bursts of exercise without enough oxygen, or you eat high amounts of sugar, there are regulatory systems in place. Sweating will decrease the heat in your body so that you don’t overheat. Water will secrete from the skin and evaporate, taking heat energy with it. But there can be an excess in sweating that is more than you need in your body. Those dealing with hyperhidrosis experience this all the time.
What causes hyperhidrosis?
For those of you, that have suffered through long days at school, work or that charity event and have sweat through multiple shirts no matter the weather, this may help you classify your condition. No matter what type of deodorant you have tried or showers that you take can’t seem to help the excess in sweating, but there may be some other options for you. The abundance of sweating under your arms, on your face and hands, around your neck and other places, may have a variety of causes. There could be a genetic predisposition to the overproduction of sweat glands throughout the body, vascular abnormalities or heart conditions. Some serious underlying conditions could cause severe sweating as a side effect, and we encourage every patient that comes to Southern California Center for Surgical Arts to have a full physical and explore your condition before any treatment for hyperhidrosis. Common medical conditions that cause an increase in sweating are diabetes, overactive thyroid, nervous system issues, menopause and heart-related problems.
How to Treat Hyperhidrosis
Previously any mention of excessive sweating was thought to be incurable, but there are options for you out there. The first options we begin with are topical creams or deodorants that are composed of aluminum chloride hexahydrate, which you can buy over the counter or have prescribed to you. This deodorant is the only type that has proven to help ease the symptoms. It is recommended that this topical solution be applied up to ten evenings in a row, and then only once a week following. Depending on your personal needs, Dr. Elias will recommend more or less applications. Another option is to try Botox injections in the hands, face, feet and underarms to counteract sweat production. Many people think of Botox as a the primary solution for wrinkles in the face, but Botox can help to calm the sweat glands by relaxing the tissues. You may or may not be a good candidate for this type of treatment, and Dr. Elias will walk through this option with you as he performs all of the injections here himself. We can apply laser, microwave or ultrasound treatments to the axillary area to help with underarm sweating. Laser wavelengths can penetrate deep to the glandular level to slow or completely discontinue the production of sweat. Ultrasound treatment is gentle on the skin and surrounding tissues, so we may recommend this treatment over others.
Surgical Procedure: Paraspinal Sympathectomy
Should you choose to do surgery, there is a particular surgery that will work with the wiring of the sympathetic nervous system that activates the flight or fight mode in the body under the direction of chemical stimuli of the hypothalamus. This surgical procedure is very complex and will require the surgeon to cut into the spinal cord in between T3 or the T4 section to cut the spinal ganglia so that the sweat glands won’t be constantly overstimulated. Again, should you require this type of procedure Dr. Elias will go into further detail with you about the risks and benefits. If you or someone you know suffers from overstimulated sweat glands and is constantly self conscious of it, they may benefit from our hyperhidrosis treatments. Call Southern California Center for Surgical Arts today to schedule your complimentary consultation. Don’t sweat it with Dr. Elias!