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What can you do for excessive sweating?

Severe excessive sweating, called hyperhidrosis, can be an embarrassing and even disabling condition that affects both men and women. Sweat is a normal function of the skin but hyperhidrosis refers to sweating that is not responsive to over-the-counter (OTC) antiperspirants and is so excessive that it requires frequent daily clothing changes and affects a person’s enjoyment of life and ability to perform their normal daily activities.

There are several treatments available for patients with hyperhidrosis. Prescription topical antiperspirants have more power than their OTC counterparts and often help affected patients. They are typically a good starting point for new patients. Doctors also prescribe pills that can help excessive sweating, although they may have some other side effects like dry mouth, dry eyes and blurry vision. Finally, injecting botulinum toxin (Botox) can produce impressive decreases in sweat production when injected into affected areas.

Uncommonly but importantly, hyperhidrosis can be a sign of other diseases, most notably thyroid disease. If you go to the doctor for hyperhidrosis, they may order a blood test for thyroid disease, especially if you have any other associated sign or symptoms.

A good resource for learning more about this condition is the International Hyperhidrosis Society website:

Jeremy Moss, M.D. Ph.D. Dr. Jeremy Moss, a board certified dermatologist, is an associate professor of dermatology at Yale University and on the active medical staff at St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

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