Hyperhidrosis treatment varies, depending on the severity of the problem. In most cases, your doctor will want to try conservative treatments before suggesting more-invasive options such as surgery.
Drugs used to treat hyperhidrosis may include:
- Prescription antiperspirant. If over-the-counter antiperspirants don't help, your doctor may prescribe stronger products to apply at bedtime. Prescription-strength antiperspirants can cause skin irritation, so wash the product off your body in the morning. If your skin becomes irritated, hydrocortisone cream might help.
- Pills that block nerve communication. Some oral medications block the chemicals that permit certain nerves to communicate with each other. This can reduce sweating in some people, but can also cause dry mouth, blurred vision and bladder problems.
- Botulinum toxin injections. Commonly used to help smooth facial wrinkles, botulinum toxin (Botox, Myobloc, others) can also block the nerves that trigger sweat glands. However, each affected area of your body will need several injections, which are painful and expensive. And the effects may last for only a few months.
Surgical and other procedures
Other types of hyperhidrosis treatments may include:
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- Iontophoresis. In this procedure, a dermatologist uses a device to deliver a low level of electrical current to the hands or feet, and sometimes the armpits, while that part of the body is immersed in water. Treatments are often performed once a day for several weeks, followed by less frequent maintenance therapy.
- Sweat gland removal. If excessive sweating occurs just in your armpits, removing the sweat glands there may help. This can be accomplished via liposuction through very small incisions.
- Nerve surgery. In severe cases of hyperhidrosis, your doctor might suggest a procedure that cuts, burns or clamps the spinal nerves that control sweating in your hands. In some cases, this procedure triggers excessive sweating in other areas of your body.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed July 18, 2012.
- Smith CC, et al. Primary focal hyperhidrosis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed July 18, 2012.
- Cerfolio RJ, et al. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons expert consensus for the surgical treatment of hyperhidrosis. Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 2011;91:1642.
- Bradley WG, et al. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7506-7525-3..X5001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-7506-7525-3&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed July 18, 2012.
- Solish N, et al. Evaluating the patient presenting with hyperhidrosis. Thoracic Surgical Clinics. 2008;18:133.
- Eisenach JH, et al. Hyperhidrosis: Evolving therapies for a well-established phenomenon. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2005;80:657.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Hyperhidrosis (Excessive sweating). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2011.