Sweaty Questions: Should You See a Hyperhidrosis Doctor?
There’s a lot of misinformation about hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating.
A certain amount of sweating is normal and healthy, but excessive sweating for no reason isn’t. And when it comes to medical and non-medical sweat solutions, know that not all treatments work for everyone.
Consider talking to a hyperhidrosis doctor to help you navigate your sweaty predicament and live more comfortably.
SEEK MEDICAL HELP FOR HEAVY SWEATING
Hyperhidrosis is more common than you think. New research shows that nearly 5 percent, or 365 million people worldwide, have hyperhidrosis. However, 49 percent haven’t talked to a doctor about their sweating because they don’t believe it’s a medical condition or don’t know that treatment options exist.
You can't cure hyperhidrosis, but you can manage your sweat so it doesn’t interfere with your life. Even if you only sweat more in high-stress situations, talking with a hyperhidrosis doctor about your symptoms can help you find effective treatment options.
WHEN YOU SHOULD SEE A HYPERHIDROSIS DOCTOR?
There’s no exact formula for knowing when to see a doctor for excessive sweating. Everyone’s body is different, and there isn’t a convenient way to measure how much you sweat.
Luckily, hyperhidrosis isn’t life-threatening. However, extreme sweating can have detrimental effects on your quality of life if you're not managing it properly.
Here are some indicators you may need to talk to your doctor about hyperhidrosis:
- You sweat through clothing often and change throughout the day
- Sweat interferes with daily activities, from holding a pencil to gripping a steering wheel
- You sweat even when it’s cold outside
- Your sweating prevents you from meeting new people or pursuing romantic relationships
- You sweat excessively for no reason, especially in the head, hands, feet or underarms.
Excessive sweating may also be a sign of something more serious. Seek medical attention if:
- You experience lightheadedness, chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath or nausea in addition to heavy sweating
- Your sweating causes emotional distress or social withdrawal
- Your heavy sweating suddenly increases
- You’re experiencing night sweats for no apparent reason.
TYPES OF HYPERHIDROSIS DOCTORS
Many doctors can treat hyperhidrosis. Whichever doctor you choose, make sure you find one that’s supportive and experienced in treating hyperhidrosis specifically.
Here are five types of doctors you can see for excessive sweating:
1. GENERAL PRACTITIONERS
Professional hyperhidrosis treatment usually starts with your primary care physician. You can discuss your symptoms with them, and they’ll help you decide what steps to take before diving into advanced treatments.
Commonly prescribed treatments: prescription antiperspirant, topical treatments, miraDry
If over-the-counter antiperspirants and prescription options don’t work, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist.
Dermatologists diagnose and alleviate skin problems, so they are familiar with excessive sweating conditions. They may also be more knowledgeable about newer hyperhidrosis treatments than general practitioners.
Commonly prescribed treatments: prescription antiperspirant, oral medication, iontophoresis, miraDry, Botox
3. HYPERHIDROSIS CLINICS
Some clinics in the U.S. are devoted to the treatment and management of hyperhidrosis, like the Johns Hopkins’ Center for Sweat Disorders. While these facilities are harder to find, they may be an excellent resource for treatments and referrals.
If you have severe hyperhidrosis, your dermatologist may refer you to a neurologist. Neurologists specialize in treating the brain and nervous systems, which control your sweat glands.
Some neurologists and behavioral medicine specialists can also help you address emotional and social issues that result from excessive sweating.
Commonly prescribed treatments: Botox, oral medication
Surgery for hyperhidrosis should be a last resort. Results aren’t guaranteed. Many people who get hyperhidrosis surgery experience severe side effects, including compensatory sweating (increased sweating on an area of the body that was dry before surgery) and nerve damage.
Commonly prescribed treatments: ETS surgery
FINDING A HYPERHIDROSIS DOCTOR
The International Hyperhidrosis Society is an independent, non-profit advocacy group supporting meaningful improvements in hyperhidrosis diagnosis, care and understanding. Their website features a Physician Finder tool that you can use to locate a hyperhidrosis doctor near you.
You can also contact your primary care physician, who should be able to point you in the right direction.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR VISIT
To find the right treatment, your doctor will ask for details about your sweating. Be prepared to discuss the following:
- How much you sweat
- How often you sweat
- What triggers your sweating
- Your medical history
- What medications you're taking
- What steps you’re taking to manage your sweat.
Depending on the severity of your sweating, your doctor may also order tests. Standard sweat tests include:
- Lab tests: Your doctor may order blood tests to check for secondary hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating caused by another medical condition.
- Starch-iodine test: This is a diagnostic test that evaluates the volume of sweat your body produces. It may also identify over-productive sweat areas when performing Botox treatments.
- Thermoregulatory sweat test: This test measures your ability to sweat in a specialized laboratory with controlled temperature, airflow regulation and humidity. It diagnoses autonomic and neurological disorders.
- Skin conductance test: This test measures variations in the skin's electrical characteristics due to emotional and sympathetic responses.
Ask your doctor whether your health insurance will cover the cost of medications or treatments. Some hyperhidrosis treatments can be costly, so it’s imperative you know when you might need to foot the bill.
STOP SWEAT WITH A THOMPSON TEE
There are also many non-medical solutions for sweat management. Before visiting your doctor or opting for medical treatments, try a sweat proof undershirt first.
The Thompson Tee is a natural hyperhidrosis solution that offers protection from sweat marks and yellow stains. Their sweat proof undershirts for men and women feature patented Hydro-Shield technology in the armpits that traps heat and moisture, keeping you dry and comfortable all day.
Pair a Thompson Tee with your favorite antiperspirant and say goodbye to wet marks and sweat stains. Use code TEES20 to try one risk-free today!