What is hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)?
Sweating is necessary to control the body temperature during exercise and when the body is hot. Sweating is regulated by the sympathetic nervous system and in about 1.0% of the population this system is revved-up and results in excessive sweating.
Excessive sweating is a condition known as hyperhidrosis and can occur in many areas of the body but is most common on the palms, feet and axillae (underarms).
How does hyperhidrosis affect people?
Regardless of where it is located, hyperhidrosis causes considerable social, psychological and occupational problems leading to a negative effect on the sufferer's quality of life.
Shaking hands is embarrassing and working with paper and metals causes obvious problems making business and day to day life a struggle for those affected. Patients report that recreational sport can be difficult and some are even embarrassed to hold the hands of those they love.
Hyperhidrosis of the feet is often associated with an unpleasant odour, maceration of the toes and mycotic infections.
What causes hyperhidrosis?
Doctors don't know exactly what causes hyperhidrosis although they have successfully linked it to over activity in the sympathetic nervous system, specifically the thoracic sympathetic ganglion chain which runs along the vertebra of the spine inside the chest cavity.
Sometimes people will sweat excessively because of other conditions such as hyperthyroidism, the menopause, obesity and sometimes psychiatric disorders. These causes must first be ruled out before primary hyperhidrosis can be diagnosed. Some medications can also cause excessive sweating. If the hyperhidrosis is generalised, it is necessary for the doctor to perform routine blood tests to ensure that there is no other cause.
At what age does hyperhidrosis start?
The typical age of onset of hyperhidrosis is in the teenage years; however it is not uncommon in children, especially in the hands and feet.
How can hyperhidrosis be treated?
There are a number of ways of treating hyperhidrosis which include the use of strong topical antiperspirants, iontophoresis, or Botox injections, the latest being the most invasive and most costly.
Surgery should be reserved as a last resort because there can be some very unpleasant side effects.
If antiperspirants don't work or only partially work the next treatment to try is iontophoresis. The treatment uses electrical stimulation and is a safe, non invasive and effective way of treating hyperhidrosis of the hands, feet and underarms.
If iontophoresis is not effective then the other treatments can be considered with advice from your doctor.
What is iontophoresis and how does it work?
Iontophoresis involves applying a low intensity electrical current to the hands and/or feet or axillae by means of an iontophoresis machine and water baths containing ordinary tap water. The treatment has been shown to be effective in up to 98.5% of people making it a safe first line treatment option 1.
At Dermatec, we use a professional grade device which is currently used in a number of NHS Hospitals over the UK
How many sessions are required and what is the average cost ?
Iontophoresis treatment is requested to be done 3 times weekly, each session being of 15 minutes each, and for a minimum of 3 weeks, meaning 9 sessions is all, per area to be treated. Multiple areas cannot be treated, meaning each area has to be treated seperately.
Cost for a package of 9 sessions is 100 euro ( per area )
Additional sessions are at a cost of 15 euro per session
What are the contra-indications for this treatment ?
- Pregnancy or breast feeding
- Clients with tumors
- Clients with metallic implants
- Clients with electronic devices
- Clients with trombosis
- Clients with very sensitive skin