HYPERHIDROSIS OR EXCESSIVE PERSPIRATION
SWEATING IS A NORMAL PROCESS THAT HAPPENS WHEN TEMPERATURES EXTERNAL TO THE BODY ARE HIGH, OR DURING PHYSICAL EXERCISE. OUR BODY TRIES TO COOL DOWN TO PROTECT IT FROM OVERHEATING. THIS REGULATION IS CONTROLLED BY OUR NERVOUS SYSTEM AND BY SPECIFIC HORMONES
In the central part of our brain (hypothalamus) there is an area that regulates our body temperature like a thermostat. If the body temperature rises too high, sweat production is activated via nerve pathways in the skin, which leads to a cooling effect due to the subsequent evaporation. In addition to an increased body temperature, infections accompanied by fever, hormonal changes or psychological triggers, such as fear, can lead to increased sweating.
Hyperhidrosis is defined as excessive sweating. The entire skin (generalized hyperhidrosis) or only a small area (focal hyperhidrosis) can be affected. Focal hyperhidrosis is a specific area of the skin, e.g. armpits, palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. The condition can be very stressful and lead to considerable impairments in both private and professional life. Generalized hyperhidrosis affects larger areas or the entire body. In this case, patients must change their clothes and do laundry several times a day, which is often perceived as restricting and tedious.
There are various causes for excessive sweating. The main distinction is between primary and secondary hyperhidrosis. With primary hyperhidrosis, there is no underlying cause for the condition. A certain predisposition can lead to increased sweat production even without elevated temperatures. Secondary hyperhidrosis is usually accompanied by another condition and its own set of symptoms. Some internal or neurological diseases play a role here. It is also possible that hyperhidrosis may develop after an injury or stroke. However, certain medications or foods can also cause increased sweating.
Yes, hyperhidrosis is exacerbated by certain foods. These include caffeinated drinks, spicy food (curry, chili) and hot meals, as they further stimulate sweat production. Alcohol can also lead to increased sweating.
My sweat levels have not changed, but for some time now I have detected an unpleasant body odor. What can I do?
It is possible that you are suffering from bromhidrosis. Regular hygiene and medical deodorants are recommended in this case. The most common cause of bromhidrosis is an existing predisposition or hormonal condition. Remedial action such as avoiding garlic and onions can help to reduce the unpleasant odors related to this condition.
After ruling out any possible underlying diseases and making changes to lifestyle or routine, e.g. through diet and the right choice of clothing, drug treatment can be used. To begin with, sweat-reducing topicals are suggested. If they do not have the desired effect, oral drug treatment can be considered.
Tap water iontophoresis is a recognized method of reducing sweat by using a weak electrical direct current. The hands or feet are immersed in a recipient filled with tap water and a gentle current then flows through the body. It is so low that you will not feel anything at all. This treatment method should take place every day. Other options include the surgical removal of the sweat glands in the armpits or a sympathectomy, in which the nerve pathways responsible for sweat production, are severed. Unfortunately, both methods are not 100% successful and it is not uncommon for the condition to worsen, or for perspiration to then occur in areas that had not yet been affected. Fortunately, a drug has also been available for several years that blocks the transmission signals between the nerve and the sweat gland. This medication is injected in small quantities directly into the affected areas and provides respite for up to nine months. In some cases, this treatment may be covered by insurance.