What to Do When Sweating Becomes a Problem

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“Breaking a sweat” is great when it comes to working out, but it’s far less great when you’re not trying to. Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, can be extremely embarrassing and inconvenient for those that it affects. That’s why we’re making it our mission to help you stop it.

“Although there has been no true cause for hyperhidrosis pinpointed to date, we do know that over-active eccrine and apocrine glands (sweat glands) are the culprits for this problem,” says Charlotte, NC, dermatologist Gilly Munavalli, MD. “The reasons behind their hyperactivity in certain people are myriad: genetics, metabolic disorders, stress and hormonal imbalances to name a few.”

There are actually two types of hyperhidrosis—primary and secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis, where you sweat without any particular cause, is the most common type that affects two percent of the population, according to San Francisco dermatologist Vic Narurkar, MD. This type most commonly shows up on the underarms, the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet and the forehead. Secondary hyperhidrosis happens when underlying medical conditions like menopause, certain medications and thyroid disorders cause you to sweat excessively.

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to hyperhidrosis, there are a number of different treatments, which many have found effective. “Prescription deodorants and oral medications are sometimes effective, as are botulinum toxin injections, with the caveat being that the results were often temporary or sometimes not successful at all,” says Dr. Munavalli. “I’ve seen excellent results using miraDry in the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis over the past two years. At this point, I would consider it the best option available for long-lasting, noticeable results for axillary hyperhidrosis." If you're dealing with excessive sweating, visit your board-certified dermatologist to futher discuss these options and find the right one for you.