Hyperhidrosis, a medical condition that’s characterized by excessive sweating, is relatively common and, unfortunately, often affects both mental and physical well-being.
Sweat is normal. We sweat to keep our body temperature at a safe level and as a natural reaction to stress. But what if you sweat too much? From annoying to debilitating, here’s what you need to know about sweat.
Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis (Hh) is a medical condition that causes extreme, uncontrollable sweating, beyond what’s considered necessary or “normal.” People with Hh can drench clothing, damage electronics, and even slip and fall, and research shows that anxiety and depression are increased among people with Hh.
Even though it’s not talked about much, Hh is more common than peanut allergies and about two million Canadians are affected — while about 450,000 Canadians are allergic to peanuts. But, just as there are numerous people suffering from Hh, there are also numerous solutions to the medical condition.
Dr. Nowell Solish, Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Director of Dermatologic Surgery at the University of Toronto and Founding Board Member of the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHhS), says, “Excessive sweating is a real problem for many people — getting in the way of their daily lives and emotional health. But it doesn’t have to. We can help manage disruptive sweating and make a difference.”
People with hyperhidrosis sweat 5x more than it’s necessary to control body temperature or deal with stress. The International Hyperhidrosis Society was created to help.
“No matter the weather, my sweating didn’t stop,” says Yasmin Shariff from Toronto. “I was always worried someone would notice my condition and find it disgusting. Finding treatment for excessive sweating was a breakthrough. Now I feel positive about myself and my life.”
“Health care professionals use a framework to diagnose excessive sweating,” says Lisa J. Pieretti, Executive Director and Co-Founder of IHhS. “But there’s a spectrum. What’s acceptable for one person might be disruptive and embarrassing to another. If your sweating is getting in the way of living your life or feeling confident, there’s help. You can learn more about all of the available treatments and find support at SweatHelp.org.”
Customized treatment options
The right intervention for your situation will depend on how much and where you sweat. Hands, feet, underarms, groin, and head each have their own best practices and hacks. From shoe liners to stain-blocking shirts to extra-strength antiperspirants, there are several unique items that can help.
For more serious sweating, or as periodic add-ons, a health care provider can provide botulinum toxin injections, prescription antiperspirants, iontophoresis, miraDry®, oral meds, and combinations of these. No matter how much you sweat, you have options.
Dr. Nowell Solish
Assistant Professor of Dermatology & Director of Dermatologic Surgery, University of Toronto, & Founding Board Member, International Hyperhidrosis Society
Toronto Resident Living with Hyperhidrosis
Lisa J. Pieretti
Executive Director & Co-Founder, International Hyperhidrosis Society
This article was made possible with support from Perspirex. This article was written by the International Hyperhidrosis Society, the experts in all things sweat-related.