It’s been another week of record heat in Nashville, each day hotter than the one before, with no end in sight. With temperatures nearing 100 degrees, many of us may feel that we are sweating more than we usually do…but what if you are sweating equally as much when there is snow on the ground as you do in the middle of summer?
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Sweating: How Much is Too Much?
Sweating is our body’s natural response to a rise in temperature; this can be caused by external factors, such as the hot summer sun or too many layers, or internal factors, such as a fever or the ingestion of alcohol or spicy foods.
However, many people sweat, sometimes excessively, while even sitting behind a computer in a temperature-controlled office. There is actually a medical name for this condition: hyperhidrosis. You may be familiar with the term “hyperhidrosis,” but what exactly does it mean?
Hyperhidrosis is defined as “abnormally excessive sweating that’s not necessarily related to higher temperatures or exercise.” It has been estimated that 3% of the population suffers from this condition, which can be the result of the body’s cooling mechanism switching into overdrive, thus producing 4-5x the amount of perspiration necessary to adequately cool the body. People with hyperhidrosis may sweat excessively from one area of the body, such as the underarms, or multiple body sites, such as the hands and feet.
As you can imagine, this can be life-altering, not just physically, but mentally and even socially, as well. It’s hard to imagine never leaving the house without an extra shirt, or being afraid to greet someone with a hug or handshake; for people with hyperhidrosis, this is their way of life.
Treatments for Hyperhidrosis
Thankfully, there are several options available for treating hyperhidrosis. Many people choose to begin by using a prescription-strength antiperspirant; these are usually applied at night, before bed. If those do not reduce the sweating, there are other, more aggressive options available.
In our office, we frequently perform two procedures for the treatment of hyperhidrosis: injections of Botox (yes, the same Botox used to soften fine lines and wrinkles in the face), which works by blocking the chemical release between nerve cells, in turn decreasing the production of sweat, and miraDry, a procedure which utilizes microwaves of energy to essentially destroy sweat and odor glands. MiraDry has an added bonus of destroying the hair follicles in the area, with most patients experiencing a dramatic reduction in hair growth.
While the miraDry procedure is slightly more invasive and requires a few days of down time, it does lead to a more permanent sweat reduction, while the effects of Botox will last an average of 3-4 months. However, Botox can be used in the hands, feet, and underarm areas, with no downtime, while miraDry is currently only being used to treat the underarm area.
If you would like more information regarding treatments for hyperhidrosis, contact the providers at Gold Skin Care Center to discuss which option may be the best fit for you.
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