Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis) - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods
What Causes Excessive Sweating?
Excessive sweating is divided into primary (regional) and secondary. Primary that is, regional sweating, may occur without any reason in a healthy individual without any underlying disease. In some cases; Excessive stress, anxiety, or excessively spicy and bitter foods can trigger sweating.
Secondary hyperhidrosis can usually be experienced as a result of other diseases. These might be:
- Thyroid disease
- Heart failure
- Adrenal gland diseases
- Lung disease
- Psychological disorders
What Are the Symptoms of Excessive Sweating?
Symptoms of excessive sweating vary according to its severity and its effect on daily life. Minor symptoms may appear and disappear periodically. However, if excessive sweating is at advanced levels, this situation can reach disturbing dimensions during the day.
We can list the effects of excessive sweating on daily life as follows:
- Your armpits or back may be submerged due to excessive sweating.
- Your clothes may get wet from sweat, and you may need to change them.
- Beads of sweat may drip from your cheeks or forehead.
- On the other hand, excessive sweating can cause some discomfort in the body.
- Itching or inflammation may occur as a result of prolonged wear of the sweating area.
- Although sweating alone does not cause odor, sweat drops can cause an odor when combined with bacteria on the body.
- Crack, wrinkle formation, or skin discoloration may occur.
- The skin layer on the soles of the feet may break down or become unusually soft.
Which Parts of the Body Are Most Affected by Excessive Sweating?
In excessive sweating, although every part of the body is affected, symptoms may become more frequent in some parts. These are:
- Soles of feet
- Facial area (especially cheek and forehead)
- Genital area
- Palms in hands
When Do You Need to See A Doctor?
- Excessive sweating can also be a symptom of other underlying diseases. For this reason, if you are experiencing the following conditions, it is recommended that you consult an internal medicine or chest diseases specialist.
- Weight loss with excessive sweating
- Excessive sweating, especially while sleeping
- Excessive sweating accompanied by fever, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or heart palpitations
- Prolonged and unexplained excessive sweating
How is the Diagnosis of Excessive Sweating?
The diagnosis of the disease is made by physical examination and listening to the patient's complaints. A patient is admitted to the hospital with the complaint of excessive sweating; first of all, it is examined by endocrinology, psychiatry, and dermatology specialist, and it is investigated whether there is another underlying disease with methods such as blood analysis. If no results can be obtained from the treatments recommended in these sections, treatment options suitable for primary sweating are offered to the patient.
What are the Treatment Methods for Excessive Sweating?
If the patient has secondary sweating, the underlying disease should be treated. However, in cases where sweating is primary, that is, regional, treatment options are as follows:
Treatment with Antiperspirant
A special antiperspirant is first applied to patients diagnosed with excessive sweating. It is aimed to prevent sweating by closing the outlet of sweat glands with antiperspirants. This method can be effective for patients with mild sweating complaints and offers short-term solutions such as a few hours.
Surgical Treatment (ETS Surgery)
The most definitive solution for excessive sweating is Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy, that is, ETS surgery. ETS surgery is especially preferred in treating excessive sweating in the armpits, hands, feet, and face and severe redness problems on the face.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. During the surgery, two small incisions are made under the armpit. A small tube-shaped device called an endoscope is inserted into one of the incisions, and the problematic nerves that cause sweating are detected through the light camera on its end. With the help of another tool, a clip is placed on the detected nerves by entering through the other incision, and these nerves are blocked. Thus, it is aimed to eliminate the sweating problem.
As a possible side effect, sweating may occur in another part of the body in some cases. Although this situation usually disappears over time, a second surgical intervention can be performed on the cut nerve if it does not pass.
The success rate in sweating treatment with ETS surgery is around 90 percent, although it varies according to the procedure's area. According to a study, 60 percent of ETS surgery patients do not complain of sweating even after 12 years.