Have you ever felt like you experience constant sweating, or that you are always sweating more than everyone around you? Maybe you’ve tried everything but can’t seem to find a way to reduce excessive sweating. You might not be imagining it; in fact, you might have a condition call hyperhidrosis. About eight million people in the United States have this condition, and they sweat about four or five times as much as everyone else. Read on for more about this condition and how to reduce excessive sweating:
What Causes It?
The average person has between two and four million sweat glands. The purpose of these glands is to keep you from overheating by cooling you down. This works for the same reason that you feel chilled when you step out of the shower or pool: air moving over wet skin feels much cooler than air over dry skin. As the water evaporates, it also takes heat with it. The main cause of excessive sweating is primary focal hyperhidrosis, which is estimated to be present in about 1% to 3% of Americans.
We aren’t sure all the causes of this condition yet, but since 30% to 50% of those who have it have a family member with it, there’s a high likelihood that–at least for some–genetics has something to do with it. This condition also affects the sexes equally, and most often shows up in people between the ages of 25 and 64.
Is it Dangerous?
There are no terribly serious physical dangers. Hyperhidrosis does not, for example, increase the risk of having a heart attack or contracting cancer, and people with it do not die earlier than others. The main physical issue for those sweating a lot is the greater likelihood of skin infections if they are not careful. However, 90% of those with this condition report that it affected their emotions a great deal. It makes them feel less confident, less attractive, and more embarrassed.
How to Treat Hyperhidrosis?
The first treatment is usually prescription antiperspirants and other management techniques, which will work for some people. For those this does not help, a treatment called iontophoresis was developed 50 years ago. This can reduce excessive sweating by shutting down the sweat glands using a small electrical pulse. It takes about six to 10 treatments to accomplish this, and each session requires 10 to 20 minutes to finish. Most people need about two or three treatments a week until they reduce excessive sweating to normal levels. Once a week maintenance treatments are usually enough to maintain dryness after that.
Hyperhidrosis can be embarrassing and inconvenient, but it is possible to do something to reduce excessive sweating.