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Video

Dr Christian:
We’re getting a lot of questions on the Embarrassing Bodies site about excessive sweating—it seems a lot of you suffer from it, and you want to know what is it, what causes it, and what can you do about it? Well, excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, can be divided really into two different main causes. The first one is just caused by an overactivity of your nervous system and may well have been present from birth, or at least from puberty, when you start to sweat properly. And the second cause is usually due to other conditions, like high thyroid levels or diabetes. If you treat those conditions, usually the excessive sweating will settle down too.

A lot of you want to know, can anything be done about sweating on the palms, and also can you keep using the medications available? Well, the answer is absolutely, there are lots of things available over the counter, particularly strong antiperspirant deodorant often containing aluminium salts. These can be very effective, but you need to use them regularly—in other words, every day, and if necessary every night as well. And yes, you can keep using them for as long as you need to.

A question a lot of you are asking me is ‘how do you treat the flushing that goes with excessive sweating?’ Well, in this case, I would say if you are getting very red and flushed on your face, I would really advise you in the first instance to go and see a doctor to have it looked at, because facial flushing can be caused by all sorts of other conditions.

Many of you want to know if there are any more permanent solutions available for excessive sweating. Well, Botox is one option. It involves a lot of injections, so it can be quite painful, and it only lasts for around four, six or eight months, so you’d need to keep getting them repeated. But, six months of being sweat-free may be a great option for a lot of you. And really, as a very last resort, there is always the possibility of surgery to remove the sweat gland-containing tissue from under the arms, but this really is a very last resort. If you’re concerned about any of these things, go and have a chat with your GP to find out a bit more.

Read the video transcript

Doctor Responses: Excessive Sweating

Dr Christian answers your most frequently asked questions about excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) such as: What causes it? What can you do about sweating on the palms? Are there any permanent solutions?

With thanks to the Baker Street Medical Centre

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Comments and Questions

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I am 53 and have excess sweating of my head and face this is made worse when I am in company or just being out in general, I will no longer even go shopping as I think everyone is looking I am slightly over weight, but I am desperate to get my life back, so any suggestions would be helpful





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Hi, I am 46 years old and overweight. I have suffered anxiety since aged 15 but over last 5 years sweat from my head when in a stressful or anxious situation. I've tried all the relaxation techniques but this is so embarrassing and affecting my day to day activities and working life. My weight is not only the issue as I've always been overweight. Are there any medications that help please?





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Hello, please help me! I am 21 years old and have had issues with excessive sweating for years. Within half hour of getting out of the shower, I will begin sweating all over. I am mostly effected by the facial sweating, with make-up or without, my face will shine within minutes of washing and progressively get worse throughout the day. If there is anything people have tried and found to work, please let me know. Without sounding too dramatic, this is seriously effecting my life, I am fed up of feeling so insecure and just want to feel confident in how I look. Please help, thank you.





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Hello, I'm a 40 yr old female,and for quite a few years I have suffered with excessive facial sweats,sometimes I'm just sitting there and it will start, Other times I'm on the move,but not enough for the amount of sweat! I carry kitchen roll around with me to dry my face, My make up which I adore rolls off me,people mention it to me to,"gosh your face is wet" I've tried botox in the forehead,the lip area,and eyes,the first time it worked really well,but since then it hasn't been as effective,the last time I had it done it took no effect on my sweats, I've also had a hormone test done about 4/5 yrs ago for the sweats (the change) and that was clear I am also on 30mg of citalopram. Which I believe adds to the sweats,alittle! I've been to my gp twice,and I was told to either put up with the sweats or my anxiety,which is low now. And I take 10mg of vesicare.. I'm happy on my meds for now...but these sweats are getting me down,all my head and face and it runs in my ears and all down my neck.... Any advice for me please! Xx





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hi i am 51yr old man and like to keep myself fit so go joging play golf but when its hot i sweat down the left side of my body i went to my doctor 2 years ago had blood tests found out i was anemic so sorted my iron first then gave me driclor but it irritates my skin,HELP PLEASE





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Hey Cameron, I am 15 years old, I am not anaemic, but I have hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and I went to a GP and they also gave me driclor. I tried it for a couple of weeks, every night before bed, but all that happened was the skin went all flaky and wrinkly, I continued to sweat profusely! I've heard of another sort of product like Driclor called Certain Dri, but I haven;t used it as I am embarassed to talk to my parents about this. BTW, my sweating is in my hands, feet and pits.

I suffer from an extremely severe sweating condition,( bucket loads in seconds). I have Been this way for 2 years and my doctor has now given up on a solution for this. This condition is unusual, and I don't to be necessary hot to sweat. This is so embarrassing.





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Hi I'm 23 years old I sweat excessively under my arms it started when I was 16 I've been to my gp and he gave me a roll on deodorant that doesn't work easy day to day tasks are hard to do I'm so embarrassed I need help any suggestions please.





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I am a senior adult. About ten years ago I found that my perspiration under my arms was strange in that it itched horribly if I did not have a very heavy layer of XX stick deod on, and I had to dry under arms and put it on immediately after washing, then tend to my wet hair, etc. But for the past several months I have developed a horrid odor in my hair, mostly the lower back of my scalp...neck area. The odor positively fills the room I am in. It could best be described as Doritos with an added dirty smell. I have tried using Dial antibacterial soap, both gold bar and liquid bath soap Dial. I have used Selsun Blue for itchy scalp, as the top of my head itches all the time. Any suggestions, even on what kind if dr to see?





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As a teenager I used to sweat excessively under my arms. I was prescribed a roll on antiperspirant to be applied at night which itched like mad. I had to stop using it as the reaction was so bad I was not getting any sleep. Once I reached my 20's this stopped which was fantastic, I could lead a perfectly normal life. I had 2 daughters, had a bilateral oophorectomy in my early 30's due to debilitating PMT. Prior to this operation I had Zoladex injections in my stomach for 2 years to determine the cause of my PMT, the one positive of this is that I would not go through the menopause. I now suffer from cranial and facial sweating which is making my life very difficult. Even housework leaves me dripping (like I have just had a shower and not used a towel to dry off the excess water). I also find that my hair on the top of my head is thinning excessively. Whether the 2 are linked I don't know. I have been suffering (badly) with depression for the past year and I am taking Venlafaxin 5 x 75mg tablets per day. Whilst one of the side effects is excessive sweating, I cannot put this down to the antidepressants as it has been happening long before I began them. I am at my wits end now and feel that my quality of life is suffering immeasurably because of this. I am 55 years old and I am not going through the menopause. I was tested last year on the back of another issue with breathlessness to determine if any of the tissue had been left behind after my oophorectomy. the results were negative. I truly hope that someone can help me.





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would an Iontophoresis machine stop sweating in hands and feet and if so is it worth it and do they work? also can you make your own and how are they bad for you?





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Yes, iontophoresis is really helping. I am using device called Electro Antiperpirant and after several therapies sweating gone for few weeks.





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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