Hyperhidrosis is the medical term used for the condition also known as “excessive sweating”. This occurs due to the overactivity of one specific gland type called the sweat glands. Sweat glands are structures in the skin that secrete sweat and they are an important structure as sweating is part of thermoregulation to maintain a normal body temperature. In most cases excessive sweating has no underlying medical cause and is therefore referred to as “primary hyperhidrosis”. In some cases excessive sweating can be a consequence of an underlying medical cause or illness such as overactive thyroid function (known as hyperthyroidism) or some rare endocrine tumours. If hyperhidrosis is associated with symptoms of diarrhoea, wheezing, flushing, heart palpitations then it is worth seeing your general practitioner or family doctor to run some tests and exclude some potentially medically serious underlying conditions which have resulted in secondary hyperhidrosis.
Primary hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating that is not due to any underlying medical condition can be debilitating and impact adversely on the quality of life of its sufferers. Hyperhidrosis can affect any part of the body but commonly seen on the scalp, forehead, armpits, palms and soles. The severity can range from mild to very severe which is debilitating and impairing one’s function at work or daily life activities. The symptoms can be continuous and daily or periodic.
Treatment of primary hyperhidrosis is effective in most cases and there are a number of different treatments available. The first-line treatment is with the use of topical anti-perspirants where practically applicable. These are commonly used in the armpits and can be effective in mild cases. In practice many hyperhidrosis sufferers particularly those with more severe activity require other treatments and these can include the prescription of some tablets or botulinum toxin (Botox™) injections. The tablets are suitable in some cases but there are some side-effects such as dry mouth and dizziness so it is best to discuss this with the prescribing doctor first. Botulinum toxin injections can offer a quick and very effective treatment with the results usually lasting somewhere between 4 to 6 months. He injections can be performed under local anaesthesia and takes few minutes to perform.
Professor Firas Al-Niaimi has extensively presented internationally and published a scientific paper on the uses of botulinum toxin in medicine including hyperhidrosis and has huge experience delivering this treatment.