Over 15 million in the United States suffer from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). Many of these people suffer in silence. And fewer than 40% ever seek help for their excessive perspiration.
Excessive sweating happens when a person sweats more than is necessary. Yes, it’s necessary to sweat. Sweating cools the body, which prevents us from overheating. People who have hyperhidrosis, however, sweat when the body does not need cooling.
Many people who have hyperhidrosis sweat from one or two areas of the body. Most often, they sweat from their palms, feet, underarms, or head. While the rest of the body remains dry, one or two areas may drip with sweat.
How do providers treat hyperhidrosis?
Treatment depends on the type of hyperhidrosis and where the excessive sweating occurs on the body. Treatments used to help patients control hyperhidrosis include:
This may be the first treatment that your provider recommends. It is affordable. When applied as directed, an antiperspirant can be effective. Some patients need a stronger antiperspirant and receive a prescription for one.
- Uses: Apply to underarms, hands, feet, or hairline
- How it works: The antiperspirant sits on top of your skin. As you sweat, the antiperspirant is pulled into your sweat glands. This plugs the sweat glands. When your body senses that its sweat glands are plugged, this should signal your body to stop producing so much sweat.
Your provider can inject a weak form of this medicine into your underarms. To treat excessive sweating, a patient will need to have very tiny amounts injected in many areas of the underarms. When performed properly, patients have little pain or discomfort.
- Uses: Underarms
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this treatment for the underarms. Findings from some research studies suggest that this treatment may be effective for other areas of the body. It may help post-menopausal women who sweat excessively on the head. It may be effective for excessive sweating that affects the hands and feet.
- How it works: The injections temporary block a chemical in the body that stimulates the sweat glands. Most patients notice results 4 to 5 days after receiving treatment. Reduced sweating lasts about 4 to 6 months — and sometimes longer. When the excessive sweating returns, you can be retreated.
Some patients receive a prescription for a medicine that temporarily prevents them from sweating. These medicines work throughout the body.
- How it works: These medicines prevent the sweat glands from working. Athletes, people who work in a hot place, and anyone who lives in a warm climate should use extreme caution when using this treatment. The body may not be able to cool itself.
- Uses: These medicines can effectively treat sweating that involves entire body. This medicine also can be an effective treatment for post-menopausal women who sweat excessively only from their head.
Qbrexza is a new FDA-approved medicated wipe or towelette that is topically applied to the underarms to reduce excessive armpit sweating in adults and children 9 years of age and older. The Qbrexza cloth is applied by swabbing the affected underarm area every 24 hours with a saturated wipe. If effective as intended, the medicated Qbrexza wipe will prevent armpit sweat glands from activating.