Summer is in full swing and there’s an issue that’s nearly constantly on your mind. No, it’s not where to go on vacation, nor are you concerned about bikini bulges. What’s bothering you is your tendency to sweat. A lot. You try your best to deal with it throughout the year with a variety of tactics, but in summer the situation is almost unbearable.
You have a condition called hyperhidrosis. In our New York cosmetic surgery offices, we treat many men and women annually who have had enough of excess sweating.
The Medical Story
Medical sources agree: about 5% of the population suffers from hyperhidrosis. Excess sweating commonly occurs on the palms, underarms, face, scalp, and feet.
If you’ve recently resolved to find out more about your condition and what you can do, the first thing to consider is whether you have primary or secondary hyperhidrosis. According to Johns Hopkins, primary hyperhidrosis is often an inherited condition that usually begins in childhood and worsens at the onset of puberty. You may want to find out if other family members suffer from excessive sweating. Secondary hyperhidrosis comes along with other conditions or diseases such as diabetes, gout, and menopause. Certain medications can cause you to sweat more as well. If you have any doubt about what may be causing our condition, you may want to visit your primary care doctor for a chat.
Who Treats Hyperhidrosis
When it’s time for treatment for primary hyperhidrosis, be sure to visit a doctor with experience. You might get a referral from your physician–it’s likely you’re not the first patient they’ve seen with this problem. You can try a dermatologist or plastic surgeon as well; just confirm that they have extensive information about their experience and treatment options online. Not every dermatologist treats hyperhidrosis, and fewer plastic surgeons offer solutions.
We decided to add hyperhidrosis treatment to our New York menu of options years ago. Our practice is known for treating almost as many men as we do women, and it was natural for us to help our patients with this issue. Sometimes hyperhidrosis treatment is all a patient needs, and sometimes putting the problem to rest is the finishing touch after gynecomastia surgery or another cosmetic procedure.
Our Strategy for Excess Sweating
When you come in for a consultation, we’ll have an in-depth discussion with you about what may be causing your hyperhidrosis. Depending on your history, we may choose aggressive treatment right away. But, if you have not tried to remedy the problem already, we will often start with the easiest methods first and see how it goes. It’s great when a small change makes all the difference! If more is needed, we’ll move up the list until we find the best way to help.
Here are the possibilities, from simplest on:
* Extra strong anti-perspirants
For patients whose main problem area is the armpits, a very strong antiperspirant/deodorant may be helpful. These can be found online, in some stores and via doctor’s prescription. Of course, many people who come see us about hyperhidrosis in New York have already tried the best products they can get their hands on.
When sweating is an issue throughout the body, and/or for patients who may suffer excessive anxiety or another nervous system issue, psychotherapy, yoga or biofeedback sometimes helps. Since hyperhidrosis is connected with the nervous system, it may make sense to try one of these options or combine therapy with another approach for a one-two punch.
There are drugs available that work to calm the nervous system and reduce sweating. But because they also disrupt the body’s ability to cool itself, most physicians won’t prescribe these medications for the long term.
Botox blocks the nerve stimulation of the sweat glands, so injections can be helpful for the armpits, feet, hands and even the face. Patients should know that the beneficial effects can last a few too many months—there’s no way to predict this. And though the treatment is usually very effective, the cost over the long term is something to consider.
This treatment may sound strange, but it can be very helpful for sweating of the hands and feet. You place them in a water bath through which an electronic current passes, causing minerals and ions to plug up the sweat ducts. We often recommend treatment every other day for a few days and see relief lasting a few weeks. The simple machine can be prescribed for home use to continue sessions as needed.
* Sweat Lipo
Although “sweat lipo” is top of our list, meaning it’s the most aggressive option, the procedure is actually fairly simple and delivers a permanent solution for sweaty armpits. It takes just 45 minutes under a combination of local and IV sedation—no general anesthesia is needed. We use slim, sharp instruments we designed to perform direct removal of some of the sweat glands in the armpit area. Tiny incisions are required, and recovery lasts just a few days.
We developed this treatment as an alternative to cutting the nerves completely—an operation which is still performed by some doctors. When the nerves are severed sweating is indeed prevented, but we’ve seen the body compensate by causing, even more, sweating elsewhere. That’s why, for our New York hyperhidrosis patients, we favor sweat lipo.
Work with Us
As you can imagine, settling on the right treatment, or combination strategy, for men and women who sweat too much, can be a process. We have the time, the experience and the patience to help you. Why not contact us today?