Hyperhidrosis Treatment Options

For people who suffer from hyperhidrosis, a medical condition involving excessive sweating, social interaction is a particularly troublesome endeavor. Meeting new people is often hard enough, but when one is suffering from clammy hands, underarm sweat stains, and a drenched back, the process becomes almost unbearable. Fortunately, there are hyperhidrosis treatments available to help alleviate, and in some cases cure, this embarrassing condition.

Non-Surgical Hyperhidrosis Treatment

Typically the first form of treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis is antiperspirants. Prescription antiperspirants are the most ideal choice, particularly those containing an aluminum salt concentration of 15 to 30 percent. Also, because certain foods and drinks have been named as possible triggers for the condition, a change in lifestyle and eating habits may reduce the amount of sweating suffered by individuals with hyperhidrosis. However, for patients with severe or debilitating palm hyperhidrosis, surgery may be the best first option.  Other options such as Botox and iontophoresis are also available and should be discussed with a qualified healthcare professional.



Thoracoscopic sympathectomy is a minimally invasive surgery that treats palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. The surgery targets the root of the condition, a specific nerve chain located in the chest. After this nerve chain is cut, the symptoms of hyperhidrosis are relieved, and most patients are able to return home the same day as their surgery..

Compensatory Sweating

Side effects of the surgery can include compensatory sweating, or continued sweating on other parts of the body, such as the legs and the lower back. Though the surgery successfully alleviates excessive sweating on the hands, sweating may persist on other regions of the body. However, for the vast majority of patients, if compensatory sweating is present, it is almost always mild. Only three to five percent of patients experience a more severe form of compensatory sweating.

Despite the possible side effects of the surgery, most patients who have undergone a thoracoscopic sympathectomy are relieved to be free of embarrassing hand perspiration once and for all.  And for those who do experience compensatory sweating, the amount of sweating has been found to decrease over time. Best of all, you will finally be able to shake hands with confidence.

Deodorants and Antiperspirants for Hyperhidrosis Treatment


Solid antiperspirants are made with several ingredients, including wax, a liquid emollient and an active-ingredient compound. It’s the active ingredient that gives antiperspirants their sweat-blocking power. All antiperspirants have an aluminum-based compound as their main ingredient. If you look at the back of an antiperspirant container, the aluminum-based compound is always the first ingredient listed. Here are a few of the common active ingredients:

  • Aluminum chloride
  • Aluminum zirconium tricholorohydrex glycine
  • Aluminum chlorohydrate
  • Aluminum hydroxybromide

The aluminum ions are taken into the cells that line the eccrine-gland ducts at the opening of the epidermis, the top layer of the skin, says dermatologist Dr. Eric Hanson of the University of North Carolina’s Department of Dermatology. When the aluminum ions are drawn into the cells, water passes in with them. As more water flows in, the cells begin to swell, squeezing the ducts closed so that sweat can’t get out.

Each cell can only draw in a certain amount of water, so eventually, the concentrations of water — outside and inside the cells — reach equilibrium. When this happens, the water inside the cell begins to pass back out of the cell through osmosis, and the cell’s swelling goes down. This is why people have to re-apply antiperspirant. For those who suffer from excessive sweating, hyperhydrosis, aluminum chloride in high concentrations can prolong the swelling and may ultimately shrink the sweat gland, decreasing the amount of sweat it can produce.

An average over-the-counter antiperspirant might have an active-ingredient concentration of anywhere from 10 to 25 percent. The FDA requires that over-the-counter antiperspirants contain no more than 15 to 25 percent of the active ingredient, depending on what it is. The FDA also requires that all antiperspirants must decrease the average person’s sweat by at least 20 percent. For those who have excessive underarm sweating, there are prescription products that contain concentrations higher than those of over-the-counter antiperspirants.

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