There are 3 different kinds of hyperhidrosis and they are classified as being primary, secondary, and generalized hyperhidrosis. With primary hyperhidrosis the sufferer will experience excessive sweating on one location of their body, and the cause is unknown. People who suffer from secondary hyperhidrosis are experiencing excessive sweating due to another type of condition.
Meanwhile, people who suffer from generalized hyperhidrosis experience excessive sweating due to a medical condition and they sweat uncontrollably all over their body. Sometimes taking a certain medication can cause you to suffer from generalized hyperhidrosis and simply stop taking the medication can help you to sweat less.
It’s important to note that anxiety, depression, fear, stress, or being nervous can cause you to sweat excessively. Hyperhidrosis can also be triggered by foods that are spicy, caffeinated beverages, alcoholic drinks, and even smoking.
How is Hyperhidrosis Usually Treated?
When it comes to treating hyperhidrosis the first line of defense are antiperspirants. Sufferers and doctors usually turn to antiperspirants first because they are cheap, easy to use, and don’t cause any side effects. If antiperspirants fail to get the job done the next step for treating this sweating condition is usually ionotophoresis.
With this treatment you will need to place the affected area in a shallow tray full of water where a low level electrical current is sent through the water to stop excessive sweating in your hands, feet, or other areas from getting to the surface of your skin.
Some people have found some people have found some help with botox injections. This is the same medicine used to treat wrinkles in cosmetic surgery. However, these chemicals in botox have been FDA-approved for treating hyperhidrosis and it works by stopping the chemicals that activate your sweat glands.
Some people try a number of these treatments and finally turn to surgical procedures for excessive sweating. Only if your condition is severe will doctors suggest you to undergo surgery to stop sweating. Surgery for this sweating disorder cut, scrape, or suction out your sweat glands. Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy or ETS is one of the most popular surgical procedures to treat excessive sweating and it involves making tiny incisions and cuts in the nerves that activate the sweat glands.
Finally, anticholinergic medications are another popular way to treat hyperhidorsis. These drugs are commonly used to treat health disorders such as gastrointestinal cramps, muscle spasms, overactive bladder, and asthma by blocking the action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine inside the brain.
How Do Anticholinergic Medications Help With Hyperhidrosis
Anticholinergic drugs help stop hyperhidrosis by blocking the neurotransmission that triggers sweat production. It’s important to note that none of these medications were originally designed to treat excessive sweating but dryness is one of the main side effects of these drugs, which is why they can be effective.
Some of the other side effects that these drugs have been known for include: blurry vision, hard time urinating, confusion, upset stomach, vomiting, bloating, drowsiness, headaches, loss of taste, diarrhea, rashes, and problems swallowing or breathing. Due to these various side effects these drugs cause doctors only prescribe them for short term use and avoid giving people suffering from hyperhidrosis higher dosages.
These medications do not stop the problem for good, which is why most doctors usually don’t recommend them. Doctors who prescribe their patients with these drugs normally start them off with a small dosage and then if necessary increase the dose. This is not a cure and shouldn’t be taken for long periods of time.
Below you’ll find some of the most common anticholinergic drugs used to treat excessive sweating:
Generic Name – Oxybutynin
Name Brand – Ditropan
Oxybutynin AKA Ditropan has shown some effective results with some hyperhidrosis sufferers. 2.5mg 2 times each day is usually the dosage that most people start out with, and if needed the doctor will increase the dosage to about 5mg.
Some people (especially those who suffer from hyperhidrosis all over their body) have also found Ditropan XL helpful as well, as some report fewer side effects. Avoid taking this drug if you have glaucoma or if you have trouble urinating.
Always drink a cup of water when you take this medication, and take it at the same time everyday. Swallow the tablet whole and avoid crushing it, chewing it, or breaking it.
Generic Name – Propantheline Bromide
Name Brand – Pro-Banthine
Pro-Banthine contains propantheline, which gives this drug its anticholinergic action. Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter that controls bodily functions like sweating, and taking this anticholinergic drug will block the acetylcholine receptors.
This is why this drug and other anticholinergic drugs just like it are helpful when it comes to treating hyperhidrosis. Your doctor will start you off with 15mg tablets and increase dosage if necessary.
Avoid taking this medication if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have kidney disease or liver disease, or heart problems. Always take this drug with a full glass of water at least 2 times daily. Your doctor will recommend how many times during the day you should take this drug depending on how severe your condition is.
Generic Name – Glycopyrrolate
Name Brand – Robinul/Robinul Forte/Avert
Robinul, Robinul Forte, and Avert all contain glycopyrrolate, which gives these drugs their anticholinergic effect. Depending on how severe your hyperhidrosis condition is your doctor will prescribe 1 mg to 2 mg dosages of the drug each day. The max is around 6 mg to 8 mg each day. If any of the side effects caused by the drug become too severe the dosage would be reduced.
Most doctors will start you off at about 0.5 mg daily when taking Avert. Some people we’ve talked to have found that they experience less side effects when taking Avert compared to Ditropan. Just 2mg capsule of Avert should help most suffering from hyperhidrosis.
Just like the other medications listed here you shouldn’t take glycopyrrolate if you’ve got kidney disease, heart issues, liver disease, or if you’re pregnant. Make sure when you consult your doctor you make him/her aware of any illness or health problem you think might react badly to these medications.
Beta Blockers (Propranolol)
Another group of medications worth mentioning are beta blockers. The beta receptors are targeted by these drugs to help fight against heart attacks and hypertension. Beta blockers can help stop you from sweating by reducing anxiety disorders. By reducing anxiety your body will be able to sweat less. They also help treat hyperhidrosis by blocking the action of the adrenergic system, which plays a huge part in the production of excessive sweating in the hands.
If you are okay with the side effects these medications cause and can deal with them on a daily basis then taking these drugs might be worth it if it stops your excessive sweating. Never take these medications longer than you are supposed to and never increase your daily dosage unless you get the okay from your doctor. In extreme cases taking these drugs too much for too long can cause memory deterioration.