Dermatology A to Z



With physical exercise or just sitting in summer heat, perspiration is the natural way for the human body to prevent overheating.

Think about how important that function is in the way we relate to each other as human beings. Beads of moisture on the forehead can signal fear. “Sweaty palms” elicits nervous, worried, reluctant. Any sign of moisture under arms is, of course, a fashion don’t.

For many people, excess perspiration is a minor, cosmetic nuisance. For others, overactive perspiration is a serious disruption of daily life. So serious that depression and anxiety disorders often follow.

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition where the body produces up to four or five times as much perspiration as needed. This condition can take two forms.

Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis

Excessive perspiration over the entire body is usually caused by a medical condition (menopause, cancer, diabetes and others) or as a reaction to medication.

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

This condition refers to excessive sweating in a specific part of the body; underarms, hands, feet, head and face are common. In most cases, this condition is symmetrical, that is, both left and right sides of the body are affected similarly.

Common over-the-counter antiperspirants are not effective for hyperhidrosis. However, the key ingredients in those consumer products are available in stronger formulas as prescription medications. These medications are the first line of treatment for hyperhidrosis and are often effective.

BOTOX® injection popular for treating facial lines is a new treatment for excessive sweating of underarms, hands, feet and face. In recent studies, BOTOX® was shown to be safe and effective treatment for cases that did not respond to antiperspirants. In one study, with just one treatment, excessive sweating was relieved for an average of seven months, 28% of participants had relief for at least sixteen months. If your current or standard therapies are not working, Botox may help. Call our office if you are interested in this procedure.

Iontophoresis is another treatment option for hyperhidrosis that is available at Three Rivers Dermatology. Iontophoresis is a treatment for hands and feet that uses mild electric current to reduce sweating. Hands or feet are immersed in a tray of water while a specially-designed device sends minute amounts of electric current through the water. Treatments start out every other day; results usually appear after 6 to 10 treatments. After that, follow-up treatments are needed but can be as few as one every four weeks. If you are interested in iontophoresis, contact our office to discuss the procedure further.