The Science of Sweat

hyperhidrosis If you think sweating is totally gross, you’re not alone. Lots of people do what they can to avoid sweat as it often causes unappealing body odor and unattractive moistness that just looks so unclean. Yes, it’s unpleasant, but it is also completely necessary and incredibly healthy.

Why do we sweat?
Throughout history, our ability to sweat has kept humankind alive. Other mammals don’t sweat, so their internal body temperatures can run much higher than our own. Rather, most mammals pant, which can slow an animal down. As humans, we don’t have to stop running to cool ourselves down; our sweat glands do the work for us and allow us to keep moving in the process.

As our body temperature rises, we fight back by dilating blood vessels to release heat until the temperature returns to normal. So, when the brain senses that the body is getting too hot, it activates our 4 million sweat glands, which can be found everywhere on the body except for the lips. Water is released from the pores and evaporates, releasing heat and leaving cooler water in its place.

Can a person sweat too much?
As many as 8 million Americans suffer from an excessive sweating problem called hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis sufferers sweat four to five times as much as the average individual and have to use special methods to stop excessive body sweating.

Generalized hyperhidrosis affects up to 3% of the population and occurs as a symptom of an underlying health condition such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or alcohol withdrawal. Another type, localized hyperhidrosis, is believed to stem from a malfunction within the nervous system, which causes the sweat glands to become overactive.

How do you cure excessive sweating?
Treatments for hyperhidrosis include the application of an iontophoresis machine. This involves the use of a medical device that delivers mild electric currents to parts of your body that are submerged in water. Iontophoresis temporarily disengages the sweat glands to stop them from releasing moisture.

Sweating is an essential function for maintaining physical health. Without the body’s coolant system, we may become overheated, which can be deadly. However, sweating too much can be detrimental to a person’s mental and emotional wellbeing. If you are concerned about your level of perspiration, talk to your doctor about hyperhidrosis.

Tips for Reducing Summertime Sweating

cure excessive sweatingThe weather is getting warmer and while many of us are looking forward to sunny days and outdoor fun, for others, summer just means the beginning of the wet season — and we aren’t talking about rain.

If you have an excessive sweating problem, summers can be rough. The average person has 2 to 4 million sweat glands acting as the body’s coolant system to prevent it from overheating. Some people, however, sweat more than others. The majority (90%) of patients report that excessive sweating affects their emotional state. Chronic pit stains can really lower your self-esteem and the more you worry about it, the more you tend to sweat. Here are some basic tips to cure excessive sweating in the summertime.

Tips to Stop Sweating

  1. Step up your deodorant game: Try switching to higher-strength deodorants and antiperspirants. There are some strong over-the-counter products, but you may want to go a step further and talk to your doctor about prescriptions. You can also apply your deodorant at night, allowing the ingredients to soak into the sweat duct and clog it. If you apply deodorant in the morning it may just wipe off rather than absorb into your skin.
  2. Dress appropriately: In hot weather it is best to wear lightweight, breathable fabrics. Some athletic clothes are made to wick away moisture; they may be more expensive, but they get the job done. Also, change your clothes when needed. You will not stay dry if you are not dry to begin with.
  3. Watch what you eat: Some foods, particularly those that are spicy, will affect your level of sweating and/or the smell of your sweat.
  4. Avoid hats: A hat is good to shield your scalp from the sun, but it will also trap heat and cause your head to sweat. If you do need to wear a hat, make sure it is breathable.

Hopefully, these tips will help curb some of your excessive perspiration. However, if you still find yourself sweating through your clothes, you may be suffering from a medical condition known as hyperhidrosis. Unfortunately, greater measures will have to be taken to stop hyperhidrosis such as iontophoresis treatment.

As many as 8 million Americans suffer from hyperhidrosis, and they sweat up to four or five times as much as the average person. While the above tips may help to some extent, the best way to cure excessive sweating in hyperhidrosis patients is through specialized treatment prescribed and administered by a dermatologist.

What Is Iontophoresis?

iontophoresisIf you suffer from hyperhidrosis disorder or an excessive sweating problem, your doctor may have suggested iontophoresis treatment. Below you will find everything you need to know about the treatment and how it can help you control your sweat production.

  1. What is iontophoresis?
    It is a safe medical procedure used to treat excessive sweating and sports injuries. A medical device delivers mild electrical currents to parts of your body submerged in water to temporarily block the sweat glands. Affected parts of your body most likely include hands, feet, or armpits.
  2. What should I expect during a treatment?
    Iontophoresis is most often performed at a doctor’s office; however, you can purchase an iontophoresis machine and complete the treatments at home. Most sessions last between 10 and 20 minutes. You will place the affected part of you body in a basin of water, turn on the machine, and increase the current until you feel a light tingling sensation. You should not feel any pain.
  3. How effective is iontophoresis therapy?
    For treating hyperhidrosis, patients will need to undergo two to three treatment sessions per week until sweating decreases to a manageable level. Six to ten treatments are necessary to shut down the sweat glands. Once you’re sweating at a more desirable level, treatments need to be done only once per week, but they must be done consistently to maintain results.
  4. What are the side effects of the treatment?
    Treatment should be completely painless; however, some patients do experience mild side effects. The most common side effect is dry skin that may blister or peel. Luckily, applying moisturizer after each session can help manage these side effects.
  5. Are there any circumstances in which I should not use an iontophoresis machine?
    Do not undergo iontophoresis if you are pregnant, have a pacemaker, a cardiac condition, epilepsy, or a metal implant such as a joint replacement.
  6. What if it isn’t working?
    If the treatment doesn’t seem to be working, talk to your doctor. You may also add baking soda to the water, which may increase results.

Iontophoresis was introduced over 50 years ago to treat excessive sweating, and the technology is continually improving. Many patients who suffer from hyperhidrosis report that the condition negatively affects their emotional well-being. If you feel that you are being held back by your condition, talk to your doctor about treatment.