What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is unusually excessive sweating of the hands or palms not associated with heat or exercise. This heavy perspiration can disrupt normal activities and cause social anxiety and embarrassment.
Hyperhidrosis happens when the nerves responsible for triggering sweat glands become overactive. Treatments for hyperhidrosis can help relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life. There is most often no medical cause for hyperhidrosis, though an underlying cause is found and treated in some cases.
Learn more below about the signs and symptoms of hyperhidrosis, along with preventative steps and the treatment we offer to help get you back to living normally.
Causes of Hyperhidrosis
There is no direct medical cause of hyperhidrosis, though it can be hereditary and pass on through families. Some medical conditions can cause heavy sweating. This less common type of hyperhidrosis is called secondary or generalized hyperhidrosis.
Risk of Hyperhidrosis
Those with certain conditions may be at higher risk of excessive sweating. These conditions include:
- Menopause hot flashes
- Thyroid problems
- Certain cancers
- Heart attack
- Nervous system disorders
Signs & Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis
Individuals with hyperhidrosis experience sweating far beyond normal levels usually associated with heat or physical activity. Sweating from hyperhidrosis primarily affects the hands, but can also occur on the feet, underarms, or face. Episodes usually occur at least one a week and affect both sides of the body.
Consult your doctor is you experience the following signs and symptoms that may indicate hyperhidrosis:
- Sweating that disrupts your daily routine or causes emotional distress or social withdrawal
- Sudden increased sweating
- Night sweats (especially without any apparent cause)
- Itching and inflammation when sweat irritates the skin
- Body odor
- Skin changes like discoloration, cracks, or wrinkles
Prevention of Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis can’t be prevented, but certain lifestyle modifications can help lessen the impact of sweating and body odor from hyperhidrosis, especially in minor cases:
- Use antiperspirant containing aluminum
- Apply an over-the-counter astringent containing tannic acid on the affected area
- Bathe regularly
- Wear shoes and socks made from natural, breathable materials
- Air your feet when possible and change socks often
- Practice relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and biofeedback to manage stress that can worsen sweating
- Talk with your doctor and/or a counselor to help manage social anxiety and self-consciousness
Complications of Hyperhidrosis
When left untreated, hyperhidrosis can lead to complications such as skin infections and social or emotional discomfort. Fortunately, hyperhidrosis is very treatable, and patients experience an improvement in their quality of life with treatment.
Treatment of Hyperhidrosis
At Vascular and Interventional Specialists, we offer minimally invasive treatment for hyperhidrosis to relieve symptoms and help you get back to living your best life.
We use a procedure called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy wherein the sympathetic nerve(s) that control sweating in the affected area(s) are clamped to reduce the nerve signals that cause overactive sweat glands. The procedure takes about an hour and involves two to three small incisions on each side of the chest below the underarm, through which the surgeon will insert a small camera and surgical tools to clamp the relevant nerve.
Contact a Doctor If...
you experience excess sweating that impacts your daily life. We understand that hyperhidrosis affects patients mentally as well as physically and are here to help you experience relief.
VIS is here to help. If you are at risk for aortic disease or have experienced one or more of the signs & symptoms, please reach out to schedule a screening. We’ll walk this journey with you.