Excessive sweating is medically known as hyperhidrosis. While sweating is a normal bodily function, some people naturally sweat more or less than others. Those who sweat in excess, often experience severe and emotional distress.
There are a variety of effective over the counter antiperspirants. A stronger formulation of the most common ingredient, aluminum chloride, is also available by prescription. For patients who do not respond to antiperspirants, botulinum toxin (Botox®) can be injected into the underarms, hands or feet to decrease the sweating. The effects of Botox®may last 4 to 6 months, at which time re-treatment is necessary. There are also oral medications available for select cases.
Surgical sympathectomy is the specialized, permanent nerve cutting, or destruction surgery performed to help decrease some types of sweating. It does not work for all types of excess sweating or for all areas of the body. Consultation with a specialized thoracic surgeon is required and overall, surgery is usually reserved for severe or resistant cases because of potentially serious side effects.