What is Hyperhydrosis
Hyperhidrosis is a medical term for excessive sweating that is commonly a chronic condition affecting an estimated 2.8% of the U.S population. Patients with hyperhidrosis produce an amount of sweat that far exceeds that needed to regulate body temperature.
Hyperhidrosis can cause dehydration and skin problems, including infections secondary to skin maceration and can be accompanied by strong odors. Some people may sweat so profusely that they need to change clothing several times a day.
What Causes Hyperhydrosis
Hyperhidrosis most frequently develops in adolescence or young adulthood. The underlying cause of the disorder is uncertain, but genetics may play a role. Severe sweating may be exacerbated by stress, emotion or exercise, but often occurs spontaneously.
How is It Treated?
Powders and ointments, ranging from talcum powder to prescription salves containing aluminum, are often tried first. Electrical stimulation (iontophoresis) involves places that hands or feet in a water bath through which an electrical current is passed, essentially “stunning” the eccrine glands to decrease sweat production. The effects are temporary, however, and may last for just a few hours or up to a week.
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