Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. This occurs most often in the axillae (armpits) or on the palms or soles, but it can also affect the scalp, face, or other parts of the body. While there is no cure for hyperhidrosis, there are several ways to manage it.
Prescription antiperspirants are applied at bedtime to very dry skin to allow for maximal absorption into the sweat glands overnight. Applying these every night for a week is usually enough to stop the sweating, but you then need to maintain your results by continuing the routine at least 2 nights a week. Prescription antiperspirants are safe and very effective, although they can be irritating to sensitive skin.
Another option is a prescription medication called glycopyrrolate. It works to block the neurotransmitters that activate your sweat glands. While it stops the sweating in almost everyone, some patients tolerate this medication better than others. The same neurotransmitters that activate your sweat glands also activate your lacrimal (tear) glands, your salivary glands, and your intestines. Depending on how large the dose is, some patients experience dry eyes, dry mouth, or constipation while taking glycopyrrolate. Talk with our dermatologist to see if this medication is a good choice for you.
Finally, Botox®, can be used to treat hyperhidrosis. Botox® is made from botulinum toxin type A, a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. For the purpose of decreasing excessive sweating, small doses of the diluted toxin are injected into the affected areas, blocking the release of a biochemical that would otherwise signal the sweat glands to release sweat. This can be performed under the arms or on the palms. The treatment usually begins to work within 24 to 48 hours (although in some areas it may take up to two weeks to reach full effects) and can last up to nine months, although results vary. While safe and very effective for increased sweating, Botox® can be expensive. We offer consultations with our dermatologist to help you determine if this procedure is right for you and if your health insurance plan covers Botox® injections for hyperhidrosis.