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Is your face drenched in sweat after a short walk to nearby Starbucks to get a coffee regardless of the weather? How about having a wet patch at your underarm during an important office presentation?
Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, is very common. In fact, most of you know someone who constantly has sweaty underarms or palms. Let’s face it. It is distressing for most people. Some avoid social contact with others because of the embarrassment. Some constantly appear anxious and distracted during important meetings because of sweaty forehead. Excessive sweating can potentially have serious impact on your life.
The good news is, excessive sweating is treatable!
There are several ways to treat this problem. However, treatment can be challenging. It may take a while to discover the best treatment for u.
1) Topical treatment
Topical means things you apply directly onto your skin. You may have seen hundreds of anti-perspirant products in the supermarket or your local pharmacy. They contain certain chemicals that block your sweat glands. The truth is, they really are not very pleasant to use, and they do not work for most people. They can cause irritation to the skin if used frequently or in large amount, creating more problems for you. Therefore, it is best to consult a doctor if you suffer from excessive sweating.
2) Oral treatment
Yes, there are oral medications available by prescription only. They act by blocking a chemical (acetylcholine) existing naturally in your body that contributes to sweating. The ones available in Singapore are Oxybutynin and Propantheline bromide.
Oxybutynin is most commonly used in Singapore. Studies have shown that it successfully treated excessive sweating in about 80% on people after 12 weeks of treatment. The effect varies in each individual: some after a few doses, some after a few weeks. It typically takes 1-2 hours after ingestion of the table to have the effect of reduced sweating.
Oral treatment is easy and flexible. Some like the fact that the effect is reversible. The effect wears off after about 6-8 hours.
Mr. P takes one oxybutynin tablet 2 hours before his meeting in the morning so he does not have an embarrassing sweaty underarm or forehead. Later that evening, he goes for a jog and sweats it all out!
Any side effects?
Oxybutynin does have side effects such as dry mouth and constipation. However, most people tolerate it very well. It is important to consult a doctor to understand the dosage and potential side effects before taking it.
3) Botulinum Toxin injection (Botox™)
Botulinum injection can be given in the armpits or face. Around 15 to 20 injections are usually needed. The effect lasts for 4 to 6 months, after which time the treatment can be repeated if necessary.
Click here to know more about Botox™ for hyperhidrosis
Click here to know more about Botox™ for cosmetics
This is usually the last resort if treatments mentioned above do not work. Please consult a surgeon if a surgical treatment is needed.