Do you have an excessive sweating problem? Many people sweat when they are hot, nervous, or exercising. But some people routinely sweat through their shirts, socks, or bedsheets at night on a regular basis, without discernible reason. If you can’t seem to control your excessive sweating, it may be time to talk to your primary care doctor or dermatologist, as you may have a condition known as hyperhidrosis.
Many people find talking about excessive sweat embarrassing or uncomfortable — even with a health care professional. However, if you talk to a doctor about your issues, you may be able to treat or stop hyperhidrosis altogether. Here’s a brief guide on how to prepare for a conversation about your excessive sweating with a doctor.
- Keep a diary
Your doctor will want to know details about any patterns in your sweating habits. Do you sweat more frequently at night or in the afternoon? How often do you have to change clothes? Do you experience any other skin irritations along with sweat? Keep a running journal for a few days or even weeks before your appointment to paint a clear picture of the problem.
- Know what to expect
Before diagnosing hyperhidrosis, your doctor will likely want to rule out any other health problems that could be causing excessive sweat. These include potential thyroid problems, heart disease, or diabetes. There is also a test for hyperhidrosis itself, which includes applying a starch-iodine paper to your body to measure the amount of sweat produced.
- Understand your diagnosis
There are two kinds of hyperhidrosis: primary and secondary. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is the most common cause of excessive sweating, affecting one percent to three percent of the U.S. population. It is a condition unto itself, unlike secondary hyperhidrosis, which is a side-effect of medications or other medical conditions. Both kinds can be effectively treated with iontophoresis.
While it may feel uncomfortable to talk to a doctor about your excessive sweating, it could help you put an end to your hyperhidrosis for good. Know what to expect before you schedule an appointment so that you can help your doctor help you solve this uncomfortable problem and regain your confidence — no sweat.