In medical practice, excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis (from the Greek hyper - "elevated", "excessive", hidros - "sweat"), is a profuse sweating that is not associated with physical factors, such as overheating, intense motor activity, high ambient temperature, etc.
Sweating occurs in our body constantly, it is a physiological process, in which the sweat glands secrete a watery secret (sweat). This is necessary to protect the body from overheating (hyperthermia) and maintain its self-regulation (homeostasis): sweat evaporates from the skin, cools the body surface and reduces its temperature.
So, in the article it will be a question of such a phenomenon as increased sweating. The causes, treatment of hyperhidrosis will be considered by us. Also we will talk about the generalized and local forms of pathology.
Increased sweating in healthy people
In the body of a healthy person, sweating increases with an air temperature above 20-25 degrees, with psycho-emotional and physical exertion. Motor activity and low relative humidity contribute to enhanced heat transfer - thermoregulation is carried out, the body can not overheat. Conversely, in a humid environment where the air is stationary, sweat does not evaporate. That's why it is not recommended to stay in a steam bath or a bath for a long time.
Sweating increases with excessive use of liquids, so when you are in a room where there is high air temperature, or with increased physical exertion, you can not drink plenty of water.
Stimulation of sweat secretion also occurs in case of psychoemotional arousal, therefore, excessive sweating of the body can be observed when a person experiences strong emotions, such as fright, excitement.
All of the above are physiological phenomena that are characteristic of healthy people. Pathological disturbances of sweating are expressed in excessive strengthening or, conversely, decrease in sweat secretion, as well as in a change in its odor.
The physiology of the sweating process
Wet underarms, wet soles and palms, a sharp smell of sweat - all this does not add confidence to a person and is negatively perceived by others. It is not easy for people who have sweating. The reasons for this state can be clarified if one understands the physiology of the process of sweating in general.
So, sweating is a natural mechanism that ensures the cooling of the body and the removal of poisonous substances, excess liquid, products of water-salt metabolism and decay from it. It is not accidental that some medicines that are excreted through the skin impart a blue-green, reddish or yellowish shade to the sweat.
Sweat is secreted by sweat glands located in the subcutaneous fat. The greatest number of them is observed on the palms, in the armpits and on the feet. According to the chemical composition, sweat is 97-99 percent water and impurities of salts (sulfates, phosphates, potassium and sodium chlorides), as well as other organic substances. The concentration of these substances in the sweat secret is not the same for different people, and therefore each person has an individual smell of sweat. In addition, the composition is mixed with bacteria found on the surface of the skin, and the secret of the sebaceous glands.
Causes of hyperhidrosis
What to do if sweating is increased? The reasons for this phenomenon should be clarified in the first place. Hyperhidrosis can be a symptom of a physical or mental illness, as well as a consequence of non-compliance with personal hygiene.
Pathology is the primary, which often occurs during puberty, and secondary, which usually appears as a result of endocrine or neurological disease.
Sweat is secreted to the surface of the skin with sweat glands through the pores, while the regulation of sweating is provided by the sympathetic autonomic nervous system. With its hyperfunction, the normal functioning of the sweat glands is disrupted, and with the slightest excitement, the person immediately becomes covered with sweat. But the question of what triggers these processes, modern medicine does not yet know the answer. Therefore, the causes of increased sweating of the whole body and its individual parts remain unclear until the end.
Types of hyperhidrosis
Excess sweating can be generalized or local. In the first case, there is an increased sweating of the whole body, which can be caused by the following factors:
- infectious diseases: tuberculosis, malaria, brucellosis;
- disorders of the endocrine system: hypoglycemia, acromegaly, diabetes, thyrotoxicosis;
- pathology of the nervous system: cystic fibrosis, stroke, Parkinson's disease.
Increased sweating in women can be associated with the onset of menopause.
Nighttime hyperhidrosis is one of the varieties of pathology. It can occur against the background of HIV infection, tuberculosis, hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism and other ailments.
Local increased sweating is divided into several subspecies depending on the prevailing localization. They will be discussed below.
Hyperhidrosis of the armpits
This, in fact, an innocuous phenomenon, but quite unpleasant and discomforting. It is also called axillary hyperhidrosis. Absolutely normal, when the armpits sweat during physical exertion, stress or thermal exposure. Only with certain failures and disturbances in the functioning of the sweating system does a pathological condition arise.
By their nature, the reasons for excessive sweating of the armpits are very diverse. The most common of these are vegetative dystonia, emotional stress, and hormonal changes. In this case, the irritant of the sweat glands is often hot. Another strong catalyst for sweating is alcohol and spicy food.
Hyperhidrosis of the palms
This is the most common form of pathology. This phenomenon is always characterized by wet and cold palms, and the symptoms intensify in stressful situations. Sometimes sweating is accompanied by an unpleasant odor and the appearance of a rash. Doctors say that such a violation does not pose a health hazard, but in the psychological aspect it is very hard to tolerate, especially by the fairer sex. Increased sweating in women often leads to psychological problems, self-doubt and decreased sociability. They find it difficult to adapt in society, get a job and make friends.
Most often, the hyperhidrosis of the palms is caused by an increased concentration of sweat glands. In other cases, this phenomenon is associated with an incorrect reaction of the body to thermal stress, stress and physical activity. In addition, the cause of sweating of the palms can be hormonal failures and an overdose of certain medications.
Hyperhidrosis of the head
Such a subtype of pathology is quite rare. It is characterized by excessive sweating in the forehead and scalp. Often, excessive head sweating is combined with hyperhidrosis of the hands and face, as well as erythrophobia, in which red spots appear on the face.
Modern medicine can not yet give a clear answer to the question of what causes this violation. But it is known that it develops, as a rule, against chronic infectious diseases, pathologies of the thyroid gland, and oncological diseases. Increased head sweating in women, oddly enough, can be observed during pregnancy. In addition, a similar phenomenon occurs in acute respiratory infections, accompanied by high fever, taking certain medications, metabolic disorders. Another reason for excessive head sweating is allergies. Provoke this form of hyperhidrosis can also stress, malnutrition, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc.
Sweating on the face
This is also quite a rare phenomenon. It is also called granaphacial hyperhidrosis or sweaty face syndrome. For many people this is a big problem, because it is almost impossible to mask the sweat in this area. Because of this, public appearances, and sometimes even ordinary communication, become unbearable. The increased sweating of a person in severe form can lead to great psychological problems: a person becomes withdrawn, suffers from a low self-esteem and tries to avoid social contacts.
This kind of hyperhidrosis can be caused by increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system. The problem is often combined with excessive sweating of the palms and blushing syndrome (the sudden appearance of red spots) against which erythrophobia can develop (fear of blushing). Hyperhidrosis of the face can appear due to dermatological disorders, the causes of hormonal genesis, as a result of the reaction to drugs.
Sweating with menopause
In women, excessive sweating can be associated with a violation of thermoregulation due to hormonal adjustment. In this case, there are so-called tides. Wrong impulses of the nervous system cause the blood vessels to expand, and this inevitably leads to overheating of the body, which in turn gives an impulse to the sweat glands, and they begin to actively excrete sweat to normalize body temperature. With climax, hyperhidrosis, as a rule, is localized in the area of the armpits and on the face. It is important to monitor nutrition in this period. You need to eat more vegetables, since the phytosterols contained in them, can reduce the strength and number of tides. It is recommended to replace coffee with green tea, which helps to eliminate toxins. Acute food and alcohol from the diet should be excluded, as they strengthen the separation of sweat.
When there is an increased sweating in women with menopause, treatment should be comprehensive. It is necessary to drink vitamins, lead an active life, observe personal hygiene, apply antiperspirants and positively look at the surrounding reality. With this approach, you will definitely win in the fight against hyperhidrosis.
Increased sweating in the child
In children, excessive sweating occurs quite often. But this phenomenon should alert parents, as it may indicate the presence of a serious disease. To find out the nature of the symptom, you need to contact the pediatrician. Excessive sweating in the child can be accompanied by restless sleep or insomnia, changes in behavior, crying and whims for no apparent reason. What is the cause of this condition?
- Lack of vitamin D. In children under two years, excessive sweating can be a symptom of rickets. In this case, during feeding, you can see distinct drops of sweat on the baby's face, and at night his head sweats, especially in the occipital region, so the whole of the pillow becomes wet in the morning. In addition to sweating, the child has an itch in the head area, the baby becomes sluggish or, conversely, restless moody.
- Colds. Angina, influenza and other such ailments are often accompanied by an increase in body temperature, which leads to increased sweating in children.
- Lymphatic diathesis. This pathology occurs in children of three to seven years and is manifested by an increase in lymph nodes, high irritability and hyperhidrosis. It is recommended to bathe a child more often, to do exercise therapy with him.
- Heart failure. If there are irregularities in the work of the heart, then this affects the functioning of all organs and systems, including the sweat glands. One of the alarming symptoms in this case is cold sweat.
- Vegetosovascular dystonia. Such an ailment in children can be manifested by essential hyperhidrosis - excessive sweating in the area of the feet and palms.
It should be remembered that increased sweating in children can be a physiological temporary phenomenon. Babies often sweat when they do not get enough sleep, get tired or worried.
If the hyperhidrosis does not act as a symptom of a disease, then in medical practice, it is treated conservatively, using medicinal therapy, antiperspirants, psycho-and physiotherapy methods.
If we talk about drug therapy, then different groups of drugs can be used. The purpose of a medication depends on the severity of the pathology and existing contraindications.
People with unstable, labile nervous system are shown tranquilizers and sedatives (soothing herbal preparations, medicines containing motherwort, valerian). They reduce excitability and help fight against the daily stress, which acts as a factor in the occurrence of hyperhidrosis.
Medications, which contain atropine, reduce the secretion of sweat glands.
Antiperspirants should also be used. They have a local effect and prevent sweating due to their chemical composition, including salicylic acid, ethyl alcohol, aluminum and zinc salts, formaldehyde, and triclosan. Such drugs narrow or even completely clog the excretory ducts of the sweat glands, and thus block the excretion of sweat. However, when used, negative phenomena such as dermatitis, allergy and swelling at the site of application can be observed.
Psychotherapeutic treatment is aimed at eliminating psychological problems in the patient. For example, you can cope with your fears and learn how to keep emotions under control with the help of hypnosis.
Among the physiotherapy methods are widely used hydrotherapy (contrast shower, coniferous-salt baths). Such procedures have a restorative effect on the nervous system. Another method is the electrosleep, it consists in acting on the brain with an impulse low-frequency current. The therapeutic effect is achieved by improving the activity of the autonomic nervous system.
Increased sweating in men and women is now treated also with the help of Botox injections. With this procedure, the pharmacological effect is achieved through the prolonged blocking of nerve endings, which innervate the sweat glands, thereby significantly reducing sweating.
All of the above conservative methods when used in a complex can achieve a persistent clinical result for a certain time, but do not solve the problem crucially. If you want to get rid of hyperhidrosis once and for all, you should pay attention to surgical treatment.
Local surgical methods of treatment
- Curettage. This operation consists in the destruction of nerve endings and the subsequent removal of sweat glands in the place where there is excessive sweating. Surgical manipulations are performed under local anesthesia. In the hyperhidrosis zone, a 10 mm puncture is made, which causes the skin to peel off, and then scraping is carried out from the inside. Most often curettage is used in case of excessive sweating of the armpits.
- Liposuction. Such an operative measure is shown to people who are overweight. During the operation, the nerves of the sympathetic trunk are destroyed, due to which the action of the impulse provoking perspiration is suppressed. The technique of liposuction is similar to curettage. In the hyperhidrosis zone, a puncture is made, a small tube is inserted into it, which then destroys the nerve endings of the sympathetic trunk and removes the fiber. If there is a buildup of fluid under the skin, it is removed by puncture.
- Excision of the skin. Such manipulation gives good results in the treatment of hyperhidrosis. But there is a scar about three centimeters long at the site of impact. During the operation, the zone of increased sweating is determined and completely excised.