Sweating Solutions

So you sweat too much.  About 10% of the population sweats to the point where it bothers them during their regular activities.  However, about 3% of the population sweats to the point where it is excessive, and this is called hyperhidrosis.   People with hyperhidrosis often drip sweat excessively from their palms, feet, underarms or head.  It can interfere with daily activities to the point where they soak through their clothes, get skin infections, or simply creates embarrassment.

Normally we sweat to cool the body and to prevent us from overheating.  This is key during exercise or in warm environments.   But when you sweat excessively, this is not normal.  We don’t know exactly why some people develop hyperhidrosis but there are some options to treat it.

MiraDry

Approved for the treatment of underarm sweating. This is a safe, effective, long term solution.  MiraDry is an energy that targets and destroys the sweat glands, odour glands, and even some hair follicles in the underarm region.  Available at The Vein Clinic.

Antiperspirants

We are all familiar with these.  These can be bought over the counter or can be prescribed at a higher grade from your doctor.  Antiperspirants is applied to your underarms or even along the feet, hands, or hairline.  As you sweat, the antiperspirant is sucked into your sweat glands, plugging them, and signalling the body to stop sweating.  Side effects include burning sensation or irritated skin.

Iontophoresis

This is a treatment for excessive sweating in your hands or feet.   Iontophoresis is where you put your hands or feet into a shallow pan of tap water while a low voltage current runs through the water.  This triggers the sweat glands to stop working temporarily.  It can take multiple treatments and they do need to be repeated regularly to maintain your results.  Side effects include dry or irritated skin, discomfort during the treatment. 

Botulinum Toxin Injections

Several brands of botulinum toxin are available and this product is injected into the area of excessive sweating (palms, soles, underarms) using tiny needles with multiple injections.  Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin and it stuns the sweat glands temporarily for anywhere from 4 – 6 months.  When the sweating returns, the treatment has to be repeated.  Side effects include temporary muscle weakness (especially in hands) and discomfort during the treatment. 

Medication

While there is no medication that perfectly targets excessive sweating, there are several medications that can help to reduce the sweating of the entire body.  These medications are usually from the class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants and like any medication, then can have side effects such as dry mouth, dry eyes, blurry vision, or heart palpitations (irregular heartbeats).

Surgery

For the most severe excessive sweating that occurs under the arms, a surgeon can remove the sweat glands from the underarm.  This is permanent if it works and can be done by cutting them out, removing the glands through liposuction, scraping them out with a sharp blade, or using laser to burn the glands.  All these options carry risk such as scarring, infection, numbness, and post-operative pain and bruising.