Hyperhidrosis: sweaty hands and feet
When asked why my good friend is not my client, she answered honestly that she does manicures and pedicures herself, as she is embarrassed by her excessive sweating. Therefore, today we have a hot topic - hyperhidrosis.
Sweating is a normal process, especially when you are very nervous or actively exercising. But if your hands are so sweaty that they practically drip, or if you avoid leather shoes for fear of slipping, you are most likely experiencing hyperhidrosis.
I want to note right away that, in general, sweating is good. This is your body's way of cooling itself, thermoregulation to prevent overheating.
But in the case of hyperhidrosis, your sweat glands are getting a message from your nervous system asking them to become as active as possible. The very state of the sweat glands is normal, they are just hyperactive. The result is excessively sweaty palms (palmar hyperhidrosis), sweaty feet (plantar hyperhidrosis), or sweaty armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis) that make you feel socially awkward.
But, the good news is that excessively profuse sweating can be controlled and even get rid of it completely.
What is the difference between normal sweating and hyperhidrosis?
There are 2 to 5 million sweat glands in the human body. If body temperature rises, they release moisture to the surface of the skin. In the process of evaporation of sweat, the body is cooled.
There are many factors that can trigger an increase in body temperature - hot, humid weather conditions, strenuous exercise, emotional stress, a panic attack. Even spicy foods can cause excessive sweating.
There are other factors that can cause sweaty hands and feet:
- Drinking drinks containing caffeine and alcohol
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Taking medications (such as certain painkillers, heart medications, and antidepressants)
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)
If you have hyperhidrosis, you may begin to sweat profusely for no apparent reason.
How to treat hyperhidrosis?
Standard antiperspirants are able to cope with the unpleasant odor of sweat and reduce its release for a maximum of a day. For a longer-lasting effect, you should pay attention to antiperspirants that contain aluminum chloride.
Some dermatologists treat sweaty palms and armpits with Botox (botulinum toxin) injections, and the effect lasts four to six months.
Also an effective procedure is iontophoresis. This is a procedure in which you place your hands or feet in water, and a special device sends a low-voltage electric current into it to deactivate the sweat glands.
For severe hyperhidrosis, doctors may recommend a surgical procedure known as an endoscopic transthoracic sympathectomy. Simply put - removal of sweat glands. This operation is the only way to stop hyperhidrosis forever.
What to do if your feet or hands sweat a lot
If sweaty palms, legs, or underarms are causing you discomfort, you can take the following steps:
- Apply antiperspirant to your palms and legs before bed.
- Avoid caffeine and spicy foods, which stimulate the nervous system.
- Take a shower several times a day, but avoid too hot water or being in a sauna, in order to prevent a rapid increase in body temperature.
- Dry your feet thoroughly after bathing or showering to prevent microbial growth. Unpleasant foot odor is caused by bacteria.
- Go home barefoot more often, airing your feet.
- Wear loose cotton socks and clothing made from natural materials. They absorb moisture better and allow the feet and skin to breathe.
- Use relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing to control stress, which can also trigger excessive sweating.
Hyperhydration is a problem that can be solved. If you are unable to cope with it on your own, do not hesitate to seek medical help. Don't let excessive sweating be an obstacle to a normal social life.