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What is it?

Perspiration or sweating is a function of the skin to keep body temperature constant. When our body needs to release heat, it’s produced the perspiration and refreshment of the skin and that’s why we sweat when it’s hot, during physical exercise or in stressful situations.

Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating or uncontrollable perspiration as it occurs even though the environmental and activity conditions are optimal. It can affect different areas of the body.

This disorder may lead to a decrease in the patient’s self-esteem and increase insecurities when performing daily activities (shake hands, drawing, driving, to write, among others).

Who does it affect?

This alteration may appear during childhood or during puberty and affects men as well as women. It is estimated that 3% of the population suffers from hyperhidrosis.

Symptomatology

Excessive of sweat or excessive sweating spontaneously.

Causes

Excessive sweating is due to over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system that causes the body to produce more sweat than it actually needs to control body temperature.

Hyperhidrosis can be considered a hereditary disease because 40% of those affected have another member of the family with the same disorder.

Types

According to the origin of hypersudation we can differentiate between:

  • Primary hyperhidrosis: Uncontrolled, can appear at any time, there is no apparent reason.

Secondary hyperhidrosis: is a consequence of another disorder or alteration medical.

Treatment

There are different therapeutic options:

  • Topical therapies: the aluminum chloride preparations help to reduce the production of sweat.
  • Botulinum toxin: the botulinum toxin is applied by injecting the affected spots reducing the number of stimuli and their intensity. It acts on the nerve fiber and the sweat gland, decreasing the number and magnitude of the signals sent by the nerve. It’s a very comfortable technique for the patient and the effect is perceived within a few days. In the areas where this treatment is most frequently used are the armpits, hands and/or feet.
  • Surgical option: in cases where an intervention is required, a sympathectomy is performed which involves pinching or cutting the nerve that is responsible for driving the information to the sweat glands. The surgery has to be done under general anesthesia. This option is used in those patients in whom the treatments discussed above haven’t provided the expected response.