Excessive sweating. You understand how it affects your life, but you might not know it's an actual medical condition. Doctors call it hyperhidrosis and define it as "sweating beyond what is necessary to cool the body." Excessive sweating can have a serious impact on your self-confidence, clothing choices, personal relationships, and even your career.
Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) is more common than you might think, but it's not a condition that most people talk openly about. It can be difficult to find the information and the help you need. So you can better understand excessive sweating and its treatment, we have provided the answers to some of the most common questions about hyperhidrosis.
What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. Without proper treatment, hyperhidrosis can have a great impact on a sufferer's quality of life.
While not a dangerous disorder, hyperhidrosis can be embarrassing, unpleasant, and inconvenient. Fortunately, doctors are now learning much more about this condition and how to manage it.
WHAT CAUSES EXCESSIVE SWEATING?
Although we're getting closer to understanding it, in most cases, the cause of primary hyperhidrosis is unknown. Hyperhidrosis can also be caused by an underlying condition (e.g. metabolic disorders, menopause, obesity, nerve damage) and by some drugs, although this is very uncommon. In this case it is called secondary hyperhidrosis.
What areas of the body are most often affected by excessive sweating?
When sweating occurs in specific places only, it is known as focal hyperhidrosis. Most often, focal hyperhidrosis affects the palms, soles of the feet, underarms, and face. Excessive underarm sweating is by far most common, accounting for more than 50% of the reported cases. When sweating occurs over the entire body, it is known as generalized hyperhidrosis, but this is less common.
CAN EXCESSIVE SWEATING BE TREATED?
Yes! Along with topical antiperspirants and surgical options, focal injections of BOTOX® can treat hyperhidrosis by preventing stimulation of the sweat glands. Through a series of injections of onabotulinumtoxinA (BOTOX®) in the underarms with an ultra-fine needle, your doctor can perform this treatment in minutes without anesthesia.
What are possible side effects?
Pain or bruising at the injection site, headache and an increase in sweating in other areas of the body can occur.
How much does it cost?
The procedure itself costs $300 plus the cost of BOTOX® if not insured. The cost of BOTOX® depends on the area being treated and the amount used. A free consultation with the doctor will provide you with the exact price of your treatment.
Will insurance pay for it?
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition. Treatment medication is often covered by most private drug plans. Dr. Mahmoud can provide information to help you with reimbursement according to your insurance policy and will discuss any possible additional fees for the injection procedure.
Preparing for your appointment
Here's a list of things for you to consider before you visit the specialist:
- Do your homework. Learn about the natural sweating process, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), and possible treatments.
- Think about where and when. Write down when you first experienced excessive sweating - your age and the circumstances. Also note the areas most affected, such as your underarms, face, hands, or feet, and whether both sides are affected (e.g., right and left underarm).
- Write down what you've tried. Gather information on all of the treatments for excessive sweating you currently use or have used.
- Rate yourself. Use the Assess Your Sweating tool to rate the severity of your sweating problem. It will help the doctor gain a better understanding of the severity of your problem. Bring it with you to your appointment.
- Review your medical history. To help your doctor determine your health risks, or whether you have any medical conditions that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis, note whether you or anyone in your family suffers from diabetes, anxiety disorders, or excessive sweating.
- Collect insurance information. Bring any private/extended insurance information (e.g., you may be covered by your employer, your student plan, or by other members of your family). Many private health insurance plans cover the cost of treatments the doctor may prescribe for you.