With our first heat wave on the books in Ontario, I think we can safely say that it’s summer, or at least almost summer. But we do live in Canada, so weather-wise, anything goes. You get our drift, though—the days are getting longer and hotter. We pretty much love everything about summer: sunshine, beaches, swimming, summer clothes, drinking rosé, eating al fresco, you name it.
But unfortunately, we know that the onset of hot weather is not a welcome friend to all.
Heat for pretty much all of us means sweat. Sweating is generally a great thing that’s so good for us, since it’s how we regulate our body temperature. But for some of us, the way we sweat can get totally out of whack, meaning we sweat A LOT, a lot more than we should and a lot more than we’d like to (or need to), and the impending summer heat can exacerbate this condition. So for some of us, summer can mean anxiety and stress.
If this sounds familiar, you probably have what’s called hyperhidrosis, otherwise known as excessive sweating. It’s not a fun condition if you have it, but the great news is that it’s super treatable, and we can help you with that. We want to make sure that you no longer dread the summer, but embrace it.
What is hyperhidrosis?
You might be thinking that you’re someone who sweats a lot when they exercise or when they’re hot. You may even think that you sweat more than others, but this might not necessarily mean that you have hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating.
But having said that, hyperhidrosis is pretty common. In Canada, there are approximately 500,000 cases of excessive sweating reported per year.
Hyperhidrosis originates with the nerves that regulate your sweat glands. The science is not totally clear on why (it could in part be due to genetics) but for some reason these nerves can become overactive and cause you to sweat excessively for no apparent reason. So you won’t necessarily start excessively sweating because you’re exercising or hot, though these factors can definitely be triggers if you have the condition.
Hyperhidrosis episodes can come on suddenly and last for several days, or in more severe cases, for several weeks. Sometimes they’re triggered by the rise in your body temperature, but they can also be triggered by anxiety or a stressful situation.
You’ll typically notice excessively sweating in areas like the hands, the soles of the feet, under the arms, on the face, but it can happen on most areas of the body, and also soak through your clothes.
How is hyperhidrosis diagnosed?
Generally, if you find that you sweat often without a clear reason, you soak through your clothes, and that your sweating episodes come on randomly and at any time, then you most likely have hyperhidrosis.
It’s something that you generally want to see a doctor about and get checked out because in some cases it can point to an underlying health condition.
There are two types of hyperhidrosis conditions: primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is where we’re not quite sure what the underlying reason for the excessive sweating is, but it may be hereditary. Secondary hyperhidrosis means that there is an underlying health condition that’s causing the excessive sweating. This can be anything from diabetes and menopause to thyroid problems and low blood sugar.
When you see your doctor, they’ll take a medical history and do a physical exam and possibly some tests in order to determine what’s causing the excessive sweating to begin with. The diagnosis is important as it will determine how your hyperhidrosis condition is treated.
If it turns out to be an underlying health condition, like diabetes, then treating the health condition will likely halt the excessive sweating episodes. If it’s primary focal hyperhidrosis, with no underlying health condition then there are a number of ways that your doctor might approach treating it.
How can I treat excessive sweating?
One of the most common ways to treat hyperhidrosis is via Botulinum toxin injections. At MD Beauty Clinic we typically inject Botox or Myobloc for excessive sweating conditions. Just like when you’re injecting Botox in order to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, the Botulinum toxin will work to temporarily block the overactive nerves that cause your sweat glands to overproduce sweat.
The results usually take effect within 4 days to 2 weeks, and can last anywhere from 6-12 months, which is why this way of treating hyperhidrosis is becoming more and more popular. It’s super effective and pretty long lasting.
That said, everyone is different and your doctor may suggest treating your excessive sweating condition in other ways. These can include prescription antiperspirants or creams, antidepressants (if you’re hyperhidrosis is often triggered by anxiety), or nerve-blocking medications.
If you’ve been diagnosed with hyperhidrosis or if you think you have this condition, don’t hesitate to come talk to us about treatment options. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the summer heat as much as everyone else!