Understanding
Sweating

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that affects 3% of the population, and is defined as excessive sweating which impacts on a person’s life. Excessive sweating may cause embarrassment, social stigmata, and emotional trauma. It can impact on school, work, relationships, and have a bearing on self-confidence and self-image. In Australia this condition is not well managed, and the majority of patients do not know where to seek help for their conditon.

  • This is a medical condition due to excessive sweating
  • The most common areas of excess sweating include the hands, underarms, feet, face and scalp
  • It affects 3% of the population and most patients do not realise that there are medical treatments available
  • Hyperhidrosis impacts on all aspects of personal life- from schooling, work, relationships and even the types of clothes we wear
  • The highest concentration of sweat glands are often the most problematic areas for suffers of hyperhidrosis
  • Most cases excessive sweating is primary, secondary causes such as infections, drugs and thyroid disease account for less than 5% of cases
  • Medicare has finally approved treatments under the PBS for hyperhidrosis

COMMON QUESTIONS

Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweat production occurs when the body’s cooling mechanism is overactive, this in turn produces sweat from the eccrine glands.

Most cases of hyperhidrosis are of the Primary Type. This form of sweating most commonly occurs under the arms, or on the hands and feet, and often starts in childhood. There maybe a family history in one third of cases.

Hyperhidrosis is a clinical condition, and often a history coupled with clinical findings will give us the diagnosis. The most important factor for hyperhidrosis is the impact of sweating on the patient. This is what we address at Sweat Free.

In addition to the impact factor of excessive sweating, hyperhidrosis can also lead to secondary skin problems. This includes skin irritation most often seen under the arms. This maybe secondary to chaffing, or skin irritation secondary to antiperspirant use. Hyperhidrosis of the hands and feet may lead to infections of bacteria and fungus. It can also cause disintegration of the skin, a condition called maceration.

In some cases we may perform blood tests to exclude secondary causes of hyperhidrosis, or perform a starch iodine test to document the extent of underarm sweating.

Excessive sweating ranges from mild to severe. Towards the severe end of the spectrum, hyperhidrosis effects patients on a daily basis. You may spend hours each day trying to ‘fix up’ your sweating, placing pads under your arms, or wiping the sweat of your hands and feet. Excessive sweating may have affected your schooling or work, and your relationships may have suffered from the extremities of sweaty palms, feet, face or underarms. 

At Sweat Free we ask several questions to assess the impact of excessive sweating. A guide as to how much sweating affects you answer the following questions-

How many times a day do you worry about your sweating?

How much time do you spend dealing with your sweating?

Does sweating affect your schooling or work?

Does sweating affect what you wear?

Do you carry special sweat supplies such as pads, antiperspirants, powders and napkins to help control your sweating?

Do you change your social calendar due to excessive sweating?

The majority of cases of hyperhidrosis is ‘Primary’ with no known cause. Primary sweating often starts off in childhood, and doesn’t occur in the sleep. It usually affects both sides of the body- eg. Both armpits, both hands, both feet.  Primary hyperhidrosis doesn’t usually require any testing, however we may recommend a test known as the starch iodine test to determine the maximal areas of sweating. This can be useful if sweat stopping treatments injections are to be placed in areas such as the underarms.

If secondary causes of hyperhidrosis is suspected we may order some special tests to look for abnormalities in your thyroid gland, adrenal glands and other areas of your body. Very rarely, drugs can contribute to excessive sweat production.

The Sweat Free Clinic is a multi-specialist centre and organisation with one sole purpose- to help you sweat less! We are a group of Dermatologists, Vascular surgeons, dieticians, and specialist nurse practitioners trained in all aspects of sweat reduction. We deal with all types of sweating from underarm sweating thru to excessive sweating of the hands and feet.

Sweat Free is a dedicated clinic for the management of sweating disorders. Our specialists combine many treatments to help patients better manage their excessive sweating. This clinic treats all forms of hyperhidrosis, including underarm sweating, (axillary sweating), plamar and plantar hyperhidrosis, as well as facial sweating. We also manage rarer forms of sweating including facial blushing and compensatory hyperhidrosis, also known as rebound sweating.

No. Our initial assessments are conducted by a Specialist Nurse Practitioner. During this initial stage of the consultation, a sweat history is taken, and an examination performed. If required we may require further testing. If you require further management, you will be referred to our Consultant Specialist for further treatment.

The first visit carries a gap payment of $25, as the majority of the consultation can be claimed trough Medicare.

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