Hyperhidrosis, also called over-perspiration, occurs when the sweat glands in the face, hands, and underarms produce excessive sweat secretions.
People with hyperhidrosis sweat excessively — above and beyond their physiologic needs. The excessive sweating can occur without warning — even when resting or under cool temperature conditions.
Hyperhidrosis affects a small, but statistically significant, portion of young people globally. It affects their lives and social activities considerably, causing debilitating physical and emotional symptoms.
People living with the disorder suffer social embarrassment at school or work due to excessive sweating. Even simple activities — shaking hands, reading a book, or wearing certain fabrics (i.e. silks and linens) — can cause intense shame.
Experts believe over-stimulation of the sympathetic nerves that trigger the sweat glands of the face, hands, and underarms cause the excessive sweating.
Doctors divide hyperhidrosis into two categories: primary and secondary.
Researchers do not understand what causes primary hyperhidrosis. They do believe that lesions on the central nervous system or the presence of other systemic diseases may cause secondary hyperhidrosis.
Contact the UPMC Esophageal and Lung Surgery Institute with questions or for more information.Or, call the Thoracic and Foregut Surgery Division at 412-647-7555.
Doctors in UPMC's Division of Thoracic and Foregut Surgery can diagnose hyperhidrosis by observing the visible signs of unprovoked and excessive sweating.
They may ask you details about your sweating, such as:
Experts in UPMC's Division of Thoracic and Foregut Surgery offer surgical and non-surgical treatment options for hyperhidrosis.
Thoracoscopic sympathectomy is the preferred surgical treatment for correcting hyperhidrosis.
Advances in surgical techniques and instrumentation have simplified the operation. It's now done as an outpatient procedure, using minimally invasive methods with significant success.
Non-surgical treatments for hyperhidrosis represent a way to temporarily reduce and manage excessive sweating and don’t work as a permanent cure.
Topical agents to manage sweating associated with hyperhidrosis include:
Disadvantages of these treatments are:
Anticholinergic agents, such as glycopyrrolate:
Disadvantages of Botox injections include:
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