Many women sweat more compared to others. Sweating is considered normal when you are exercising, air temperature rises, or feeling anxious or under stress. But if you are sweating even in air conditioning, feeling no stress or while sitting and watching television, then you are suffering from embarrassing and miserable condition called excessive sweating/hyperhidrosis. It can lead to emotional distress, self-consciousness (due to dampness and odor) and social anxiety. You may feel scared to shake hands with other people, to go near to other people or to lift your arm for something. Men and women are equally affected by this condition regardless of age. This non life-threatening condition affects about 2% to 3% of the general population.
Two types of hyperhidrosis are there – Primary / focal hyperhidrosis and Secondary / generalized hyperhidrosis. In primary hyperhidrosis, you just sweat excessively in specific body parts like the hands, underarms, face, head, groin or feet without any reason. Primary hyperhidrosis is not medically risky or a sign of any ailment/a drug interaction but it causes problems in the life. In secondary hyperhidrosis, you sweat throughout the body or in a one area. Secondary hyperhidrosis is led by health problem or medication and it is medically risky. Primary hyperhidrosis occurs in waking hours while secondary hyperhidrosis occurs at night while sleeping.
Causes of Hyperhidrosis / Excessive Sweating in Women:
Doctors are also unsure about the cause of primary hyperhidrosis. It may be hereditary or due to overreaction of eccrine sweat glands. Generally, people who are suffering from primary hyperhidrosis sweat from eccrine sweat glands, which create 2 to 4 million sweat glands in the body. Eccrine sweat glands are found particularly on the face, soles of feet, palms and armpits. These glands are activated by nerves, when your body temperature rises; you are feeling emotional or moving around.
There are many causes of secondary hyperhidrosis. Some of them are:
- Menopause is the most prevalent cause of excessive sweating among women above the age of 40. During menopause, women experience excessive sweating because of physical and hormonal changes in the body. The reason behind the night sweats in menopausal women is hot flashes during the night.
- Obese people suffer from excessive sweating more often compared to people with normal weight. Sweat glands of obese people tend to work hard to excrete excess minerals, which are not needed by the body. So they suffer from excessive sweating.
- During pregnancy, many women experience night sweats / excessive sweating because of hormonal changes. In pregnant women, hormonal changes take place rapidly. As per The health care center, excessive sweating in pregnancy is caused due to enhanced progesterone hormones, occupation of the baby in the womb and increased blood flow to the skin.
- 70% kidney damage diabetes patients and 40% nerve damage diabetes patients can be affected by excessive sweating. Excessive sweating in diabetes patients is normally caused by medications that cure diabetes. As well, excessive sweating might occur when hypoglycemia happens.
- Nearly all the infections lead to excessive sweating but pneumonia, tuberculosis and endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valves) are the most prevalent conditions. Other infections that cause excessive sweating are abscesses and osteomyelitis (inflammation within the bones). AIDS virus (HIV) infection symptoms also include night sweats.
- Hyperthyroidism is the most cited condition, which can lead to excessive sweating. Over production of thyroid hormone by thyroid gland is known as hyperthyroidism. It causes excessive sweating by affecting the metabolism of the body and heat production of the body.
Secondary Hyperhidrosis is also caused by parkinson’s disease, gout, Rheumatoid arthritis, side effect of medicines, leukemia, improper or unhealthy eating habits, lymphoma, intake of alcohol, etc.
Treatments of Excessive Sweating in Women:
People who are suffering from primary hyperhidrosis can treat their condition with non-surgical methods.
You should try topical antiperspirants first as they are very inexpensive option and available easily. Use normal antiperspirants regularly instead of deodorants. Deodorants just mask the odour while antiperspirants decrease perspiration by blocking sweat glands. Apply antiperspirants on the palm of your hands, under arms and to sole of your feet.
If normal antiperspirants not help you then your doctor may advise prescription-strength antiperspirants, which are more effective. These antiperspirants come with higher level of aluminum chloride hexahydrate, which shuts down the openings of the sweat ducts. You must apply this at night onto the affected areas several times a week. These antiperspirants can lead to skin irritation.
Oral anticholinergics medications like glycopyrrolate (Robinul, Robinul-Forte) or propantheline bromide can be used sometimes. They help to decrease sweating by preventing the stimulation of sweat glands. Common side effects of these medications are insomnia, problems with urination, dry mouth, dizziness and blurred vision.
Iontophoresis is FDA-approved method for treating hands and feet excessive sweating. In this method, hands or feet are placed into the water and then low-intensity electrical current is passed through it. Till the patient feels a light tingling sensation, the intensity of the electricity is increased slowly. Per session of this therapy lasts for around 10 to 20 minutes. Initially the patients need 2 to 3 sessions per week. Rare side effects of this therapy are skin cracking and blisters.
The FDA has approved Botulinum Toxin type A for the treatment of excessive underarm sweating but not for palms and soles of the feet. Treatment includes small doses of purified botulinum toxin injected just under the skin in the affected areas to block the nerves that stimulate sweating. These injections have to be repeated every 6 to 7 months as their effect usually wears off. Side effects of using this treatment are pain in the injection-site and flu-like symptoms.
Surgery is the last option for people with severe sweating when all the above treatments don’t work or other treatments lead to intolerable side effects. A surgeon removes sweat glands from the affected area or cut and destroys nerves that are responsible for sweating.
Video of Hyperhidrosis – Excessive Sweating Treatment Options from youtube: