Excessive Sweating, What, why and how to deal with it

Another term to hyperhidrosis. A look into the medical details will reveal that when it comes to excessive sweating there is dysfunction of the sympathetic nerve chain causing excessive pathological sweating beyond the physiological needs of the body in areas such as the hands, feet, face, armpits, and groin.

What is sweat?
A physiological mechanism in which the body secrets salt containing fluids to help dissipating heat which is produced by exercise and hot environments. It is part of the thermal regulation of the body. Hyperhidrosis is that clinical situation where the sweat production is beyond the physiological need.

There are two main sweat glands. Eccrine and Apocrine glands. The eccrine glands are known to be influenced by the sympathetic system. These eccrine glands are producing the watery type of sweat. The apocrine glands are producing more of an oily secretion of sweat. In the armpit the two types of glands are combined creating mixed results as it relates to the ETS procedure. For those patients with only armpit sweating the axillary suction curettage procedure offers a local surgical intervention in the armpit area that produces a higher rate of sweat reduction in the armpits. To learn more please visit our armpit sweating page.

The ways to combat excessive sweating have come a long way. The surgical procedure used to be complicated and risky. The only known long term solution for excessive hand sweating is a surgical procedure known as ETS or (Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy). A good example of the procedure step by step can be seen at The Center For Hyperhidrosis with the slide show he has made there recently.

When one looks at different surgical options of sympathectomy there are two modalities. In the first one the segment of the sympathetic chain is either resected or coagulated and by that the segment is eliminated. A newer approach came in the late 90's which is the clamping method. In this method a segment of the sympathetic chain is being clamped with titanium clips creating the same end result as with the resectional methods. The clamping method does provide an ability to reverse the operation if the patient gets side effects which are impossible for the patient to tolerate. The reversibility option is not yet an etched in stone type of a fact but about 50% of patients are demonstrating reversal of their symptoms. The degree of reversibility after clamp removal is unpredictable. Factors such as the time interval between the first and second operation, age, the bodies ability to regenerate and others factors play a role.

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