Dear Dr. Gott: I am a 61-year-old male in what I think is great condition. However, for as long as I can remember, I have had a problem with sweating. If a warm breeze comes by, if I drink a hot cup of coffee or have a glass of wine, I sweat profusely.
I exercise a great deal and sweating isn’t a problem then. What is a constant source of embarrassment, though, is being out to dinner or at a party when the waterfall starts. Do you have any thoughts or solutions?
Dear Reader: Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition in which a person sweats at unpredictable times and in excess. It affects up to 3 percent of our population, yet fewer than half with the diagnosis seek medical attention. As you have discovered, the discomfort is both emotional and physical.
Generally speaking, people sweat during exercise, when warm weather prevails or when confronted by situations that bring on fear, nervousness, anger or embarrassment. In times such as these, we expect to sweat. However, hyperhidrosis can occur because of medical conditions such as heart disease, hypothyroidism, menopause, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and more. I am guessing, because of your “great condition,” that you are not sick.
Perhaps your presence at a dinner or party presents more internal and unaddressed stress than you have been willing to admit. If so, you might want to determine what is causing the turmoil and find ways to combat it.
Treatment includes over-the-counter antiperspirants, prescription medication, Botox and iontophoresis, which is a Food and Drug Administration-approved procedure that uses electricity to turn off the sweat gland temporarily. This procedure is most effective for sweating of the hands and feet than for other body parts. Speak with your physician to determine which treatment might be appropriate for you.
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