Hyperhidrosis

By The Foot Care Aide | September 18, 2009

What is hyperhidrosis?

Simply put, hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating.  The sweat glands secrete abnormally large amounts of perspiration; much more than what is necessary to cool the body.  It can affect any part of the body, but the feet, hands, armpits and groin are most affected, simply because there are more sweat glands in those locations.
hyperhidrosis of the feet

What are the symptoms of hyperhidrosis?

Other than excessive sweating, the problem is often accompanied by psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and/or depression.  Dehydration can easily occur, because of the excessive fluid loss.  So, thirst is another symptom that many people experience.  Intolerance to cold temperatures is not unusual, as the sweating chills the body, particularly the hands and feet.  Unpleasant body odor may be present and the condition is sometimes accompanied by redness of the face (blushing, rosacea) or chest.

What causes hyperhidrosis?

The underlying cause of primary hyperhidrosis is unknown, although genetics are probably involved, as 30-50% of patients have a family member with the same problem.  The term “primary” is used to differentiate from hyperhidrosis that is a symptom of another problem.

Dozens of different diseases, neuropathies and injuries can cause excessive sweating.  Anxiety disorders and phobias can cause it.  Low blood pressure, thyroid problems, menopause, prescription drugs, Parkinson’s and heavy metal poisoning are all possibilities.  Nicotine, caffeine and spicy foods can trigger a response. 

People with type II diabetes typically experience excessive sweating.  Special foot care advice is available for diabetics. 

How is hyperhidrosis treated?

In the primary condition, not one that is caused by another problem, the recommended treatments depend on the severity of the condition.  In some cases, antiperspirant with high aluminum chloride content is all that is necessary. 

Every effort should be made to keep the feet dry, because a moist environment increases the risk of athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.  In some cases, the toenails become infected, with the result being yellow, thick, unattractive brittle nails.  So, here are some suggestions for keeping your feet dry, all year round.

Foot Spray

ONOX is one of the better brands.  The active ingredient is zinc chloride, which is effective for controlling odor and preventing excessive perspiration.  By removing dead skin, it impedes the growth of fungus and warts. Click here for ONOX Foot Spray

Wicking Wear

Wicking wear was originally developed for diapers.  It pulls moisture away from the skin, to the outside of the material, where it quickly evaporates.  Wick Dry Socks are available at FootSmart.com in a variety of sizes and colors.   

Lavilin Cream

An all natural antiperspirant developed specifically for the feet.  The herbs leave a pleasant scent that is not overwhelming.  The active ingredient is zinc oxide, a natural antibacterial.  Excessive body odor is actually caused by excessive bacteria. Click here for Lavilin Cream

Shoe Liners

Shoe liners can be used to keep the feet cool, dry and odor free.  They are inexpensive and can be trimmed to fit nearly any size of sandal or slide. Click here for shoe liners

All of the alternatives mentioned here are safe and inexpensive.  They can help you stay comfortable, keep hyperhidrosis under control and reduce your risk of fungal infections.

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