Treatments for excessive sweating
Treatments for excessive sweating and body odor has until recently primarily been by the use of antiperspirants, frequently in combination with with aluminum chloride (like Perspirex).
The doctor may prescribe drugs that inhibit sweat production, but often these drugs have many side effects, for example poor vision and effects on digestion. Previously operations were common, but these are now rarely performed due to the risk of side effects. An especially frequent side effect is compensatory hyperhidrosis, which means that subsequent to the treatment sweat is produced excessively from somewhere else, making the operation less attractive.
The most popular treatment for hyperhidrosis is botox injections. These are effective but typically must be repeated every 6 – 7 months for life, as the effect is short. Further, botox doesn´t seem to significantly help with the odor problem.
MiraDry® has been used for several years in the United States with great success. It is also currently being used in most of Europe, including Scandinavia, but not in Denmark until now.
|✓||Temporary – requires ongoing treatments to|
maintain effect (mean duration of 6.7 months)
using a fine
|Surgery||Technique dependent||✓||Potential complications and risk of surgery|
* Local anesthesia
Info about treatments for excessive sweating
An antiperspirant Works by blocking the sweat glands temporarily and thereby helps avoid sweating. Often times perfume is added to the antiperspirants, so they work as antiperspirants and deodorants at the same time.
Aluminium chloride hexahydrat (ex. perspirex):
This is a more effective form of antiperspirant, that temporarily blocks the sweat glands. It also helps kill bacteria in the area. Unfortunately many find them harsh on the skin, and some even get quite severe skin irritation and itching when using them. Some tolerate them well, and when used a couple of times a week, some patients are able to control their sweating sufficiently.
This is most effective for palmar and plantar sweating. The hands/feet are dipped in Water and a weak form of electricity is send through the Water. This changes the reabsorption of sodium and temporarily shuts down the sweat glands. Usudally the treatment is given 2-3 times af week. After the first 10-15 treatments, some patients can taper to only treating once weekly. Each treatment lasts about 15 minutes.
The device can be bought for home use. The effect varies, but some patients find it helpful, and although it need to be done regularly, is does help some patients.
Many forms of laser have been tried over the years, but not many have proved helpful.
The medication Ercoril is often times used for hyperhidrosis, and the GP can prescribe this. It works by inhibiting the nerve impulses from the autonome part of the nervous system. Unfortunately this part of the nervous system is also linked to other functions than sweating, som side effects like dry mouth, problems with urination, constipation and problems with the eyes are common.
Some patients have little or no side effects, and taking this medicin may help their sweating, while they are taking the medicin. Typically 1-3 pills are taken daily.
Botulinum toxin (botox)
Botulinum toxin is a toxin from the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum. It is the cause of botulisme and is one of the most poisenous toxins in the World. When used in tiny amounts it can temporarily paralyze the nerves e.g. in the face, and this is why it is of use when treating wrinkles. It is very effective for hyperhidrosis when injected in the areas that has excessive sweating, primarily the axilla, hands or feet. It has relatively few side effects, but unfortunately the effect is temporary – usually it wears of in 6 months, and the injections will then have to be done again.
Botox primarily helps the amount of sweating , but is less effective on the odor, contrary to MiraDry.
Multiple surgical methods have been tried for hyperhidrosis over the years. They all have long healing time, scarring and potential side effects like infections and compensatory hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating in other Places than the treated area).
The most radical procedure is the “sympatecomy” where the nerves to the sweat glands are cut. This cures the problem permanently, but unfortunately many of the patients develop compensatory hyperhidrosis, and start sweating excessively somewhere else.
Rasping during liposuction is another surgical procedure. This involves rasping under the skin, in order to scrabe out the sweat glands. This is an invasive procedure and leaves scarring and risk of other side effects, and tends only to help the patients that don´t have very severe hyperhidrosis.
The only non invasive permanent solution for axillary hyperhidrosis (under arm sweat).
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