The average person secretes between half a litre to one litre of sweat per day; in extreme heat this can rise to as much as several litres. However, for around one to two percent of the population, continual overheating and sweating episodes are not just a summer phenomenon but a permanent condition. These people suffer from what is called hyperhidrosis, or abnormal and excessive sweating. Over half of those affected complain of direct negative effects on their personal relationships and family life, with sexual activity also being affected.
However, hyperhidrosis does not have anything to do with poor hygiene habits, excess stress or chronic anxiety. In many cases it comes about as the result of a largely unrecognised genetic predisposition, which first makes itself known during childhood or adolescence. These days, however, excessive sweating can be treated in various ways.
Minimally invasive treatment
Botulinum toxin A can be used to treat excessive sweating. This substance is injected into the affected areas with a fine needle to inhibit the neurotransmission that controls sweating. Sweating can be reduced by 70 to 90 percent using this method. The effect will be obvious within the first week and may last for up to seven months.
For patients who do not wish to have regular Botox injections, surgical removal of the sweat glands is an ideal alternative. This procedure is normally performed under regional anaesthetic and involves the permanent removal of the sweat glands from the skin. The surgery to remove the sweat glands is performed via the armpit.
Unfortunately this procedure does not always lead to permanent results in every case. There will also be visible scars around the armpit as a result of the surgery. A newer method also designed to remove the sweat glands applies a liposuction technique, in which the sweat glands are suctioned out through small incisions in the affected areas of skin. The small scars also mean that the result is aesthetically pleasing. However, this method may also produce only semi-permanent results.
Facts and figures
45 minutes, under local anaesthetic
Back to school or work
Resume after 2 to 3 weeks
Ready to socialise