How much sweat marks can alienate your life?

How much sweat marks can alienate your life?

You may found the word alienated as “excessive” as is the sweating of these patients …I was myself very surprised when one my patient wrote to me after being successful treated, that she felt FREE .. when the excessive sweating stopped.

Patients who presents with excessive sweating suffered from a lot of stigmas.

Daily life problems of a young person with excessive sweating under the arms.

The sweat mark on a colourful T shirt or a blouse or even going through a sweat shirt make the patient ashamed; the patient is scared of being smelly ( which is not the case), and considered as having a poor hygiene; so starts the search for the strongest deodorant which is usually based with aluminiun which make the underarms red and itchy.

The teens avoid the changing room at school and they keep their school blazer on, even in summer to hide the sweat marks.; the mother buys a new shirt uniform every month as the material becomes like a cardboard under the arms.

The adults also in their profession struggle like the teacher who has to write on a blackboard or a sale assistant reaching items from shelves., avoiding at any cost  to lift up their arms

So they have a shower twice a day, bring a change of clothes at work, wear only dark colors and avoid public transports.

Body odour?

It’s important to explain that excessive sweating doesn’t affect the body odour. There is 2 types of sweat glands, called the eccrine nad the apocrine glands.

The eccrine glands secrete an odourless, clear fluid which help to control the body temperature when exercising or in summer by allowing heat loss by evaporation. They are most numerous on the palms, soles of the feet, face, axillae and to a lesser extent the back and the chest. They are active from birth.

It’s very different from the apocrine glands which start to work from puberty and produce a thick fluid and are responsible for the body odour, and which are not involved in primary hyperhydrosis.

Treatment with Botulinum toxin.

Botulinum toxin injections under the arms can stop the excessive sweating for 6 to 9 months with a very good tolerance of the treatment. I draw a grid with a skin pen (or a eyeliner pen!), based on 15 small squares, equally distributed in the armpit. I will inject Botulinum toxin in each square, so 15 sites of injection in each armpit. The injections are not painful as performed with a small needle and very superficial to reach the sweat glands. There is no bleeding or hematoma and the patient can go back to a normal life after the treatment. The dryness will be complete 7 to 10 days after the injections and will last 6 to 9 months, depending of the severity of the condition.

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Sweating in Winter: a serious problem

 

Sweating in summer on a hot day or after a long Sunday jog may feel good, or at least normal. But sweating in winter when the weather is cold or you just come out of the shower can be a nightmare for individuals suffering from a condition called Hyperhydrosis (also spelled Hyperhidrosis).

 

Primary Hyperhydrosis or excessive sweating is in third of the cases a familial condition, which can have various manifestations, depending of the site of the excessive sweating; “primary” means that no obvious cause such as drugs, diabetes, infection etc.. is associated with the excessive sweating. Excessive sweating, in particular starting in adulthood and without family history should be investigated by the GP as it could be secondary sweating.

Armpits sweating:

 In case of Primary Hyperhydrosis affecting  the armpits, it’s often  young adults complaining of sweat marks on their clothes under their arms since their teens. They avoid colourful and white clothes and prefer dark clothes to not show the marks; they feel ashamed and loose their confidence as they are wrongly convinced that the excessive sweating under the arms is associated with excessive body odours. They bring extra clothes at school or at work to change during the day.

Hand sweating:

It can also affect the hands, usually noted when the child learned to write at the age of 5; the pen slipped out the hand; they made wet mark on the paper when writing. then these children don’t dare holding hands of their friends at primary school and later on avoid social contacts; it can also affect  professional manual skills.

Feet Sweating:

The excessive sweating of the feet is usually well tolerated in winter where the socks in the shoes absorb the sweat and I have met patients who were convinced that to have wet socks were normal at the end the day. The worst is in summer when ladies try to wear open sandals, in particular with some heels; the sweaty wet feet slip out and make walking hazardous. I have heard alos young men distress about having wet feet in bed.

Facial sweating:

Facial sweating is also very distressing. The sweat can drip from the scalp, or the forehead along the face, the cheeks and the nose and in back of the neck leaving the hair wet.

Excessive sweating people can benefit from treatment and is not related to excessive shyness or anxiety but it’s a true condition.

Please don’t hesitate to contact support group such as the Hyperhidrosis Support Group at www.hyperhidrosisuk.org

Dr MH Marion is running specialized clinics for all types of primary hyperhidrosis both at St George’s Hospital, London (UK) and at the  London BTX centre.