Cheltenham Vascular Unit
HYPERHIDROSIS (Excessive sweating) &facial blushing
What is hyperhidrosis?
Sweating is a natural process necessary to control body temperature.
Hyperhidrosis is the term used for excessive sweating that can be due to many different medical conditions including an overactive thyroid gland, the menopause, diabetes mellitus and obesity.
Where there is no apparent underlying medical cause for your excessive sweating it is called primary hyperhidrosis.
Primary hyperhidrosis usually starts in childhood or during adolescence and continues throughout life. It affects about 1% of the population. Hyperhidrosis can affect one or more areas of the body, particularly the underarms, feet, hands or the face.
Axillary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating of the underarm area resulting in wet patches and staining on clothes. Sufferers may have to change their clothes several times a day. Stressful situations can make the situation worse.
Excessive sweating of the feet may lead to constantly wet footwear.
Excessive sweating of the face can be very embarrassing. This can also be associated with uncontrollable facial blushing.
Affected Individuals can flush bright red during every day situations, such as meeting a friend. This can cause embarrassment and isolation and may significantly affect the quality of life.
What treatments options are available?
Self-help measures may be useful
Reducing stress or anxiety
Avoiding food which may trigger sweating
The excessive sweating associated with palmar hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating of the hands can cause problems with everyday life such a working with paper or even shaking hands. Stressful situations can make the situation worse. Many patients notice that their hands not only feel moist but cold.
Locally applied (topical) anti perspirants can be used for underarm, hand and foot excessive sweating.
It is recommended by the manufacturer that the prescribed anti-perspirant is applied to the affected area 2-3 nights a week, this is when the skin is generally drier. The product is then washed off in the morning. These preparations can be irritating to the skin.
For further information on iontophoresis as a treatment for excessive sweating of hands or feet
Botulinum toxin injections (“Botox”)
For further information on the use of Botox® for axillary hyperhidrosis
Oral anticholinergic medication has been used for the treatment of excessive sweating. This type of medication has been shown to have many unpleasant side effects including dry mouth, blurred vision and difficulty passing urine. These drugs are not currently available on NHS prescription.
Locally applied (topical) Glycopyrrolate water based cream has been shown to be of benefit for those suffering from excessive facial sweating.
Hypnotherapy, hypnosis and homeopathy are among the many alternative therapies which have been reported to have been used for the treatment of hyperhidrosis. There is no evidence available at this time to support or disprove the effect of these treatments.
Surgical treatment of hyperhidrosis
For information on the surgical treatment of hyperhidrosis.
The information contained on this website is intended as a guide only, it is not intended to substitute for medical consultation, diagnosis or treatment.
Please see your doctor with any questions regarding personal health or medical conditions