Hyperhidrosis (Excessive sweating)

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Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating is a condition prevalent in 2-3% of the adult population. The areas most commonly affected include the axilla (armpit) the palms and the soles of the feet.

Although sweat glands are critical for regulating body temperature (thermoregulation), the areas affected by hyperhidrosis do not play a significant role in in body temperature control. Sweating is often triggered by emotion just as easily as heat.

The impact of Hyperhidrosis on quality of life can be profound. Excess sweating in the axilla can damage expensive clothing; some individuals need to change their tops many times a day. Hyperhidrosis of the hands affects grip control, and can prevent career choices. Hyperhidrosis of the feet can trigger numerous dermatological problems.

Common treatments include:

Topical treatments include antiperspirants containing aluminum salts in various concentrations and using various delivery vehicles (alcohol, salicylate gels)

Systemic treatments use oral medication to control Hyperhidrosis. The most common medications are anticholinergics which are no longer recommended for this condition. Frequent side effects include dry mouth, blurred vision, and occasionally delirium.

In Iontophoresis, the hands or feet are placed in plastic pans containing tap water. An electric current is passed through the water for about 20 minutes. Initially treatments are required every 2 to 3 days for 5 to 10 sessions before an effect is observed. Once improvement is achieved then the interval between treatments can be lengthened and some patients need the treatment only once every 2 weeks. Patients can operate the equipment themselves. Occasionally slight irritation develops and the palms can become dry or cracked. Slight irritations can be corrected by moisturizers or a reduction in treatment frequency or a prescribed mild cortisone cream. Some patients find Iontophoresis too time consuming.

A number of machines are available but the literature indicates excellent results with the Fischer MD-1a galvanic unit. The unit is made by the R.A. Fischer Co., 517 Commercial Street, Glendale, California 91203-1509, www.rafischer.com.  Insurance companies apparently do not cover the cost of machines.

Botox Well known for its use in the cosmetic industry. Botox is a neuromuscular blocking agent that prevents excessive nerve stimulation of sweat glands. Botox has a very high safety profile. Systemic side effects are very rare. Symptom relief can last 6-8 months and in some cases 14 months.

In many cases 3rd party insurance will cover the cost of the medication. The treatment fee ($400.00) is not covered and is paid by the patient.

Allergan has developed a program that guarantees your first treatment even if you are denied coverage by your insurance company.

If you have 3rd party insurance The Botox Access program is designed to help you get rapid treatment for your condition. Please access the PDF document below for more information.