8 Best Ways to Stop Excessive Sweating for Good

8 Best Ways to Stop Excessive Sweating for Good

Do you sweat a lot? Like, a lot? We're not talking about sweat dripping off your face during spin class or trickling down your back on a humid day. More like, totally drenched underarms when you're just sitting still, or palms that always are wet to the touch.

If so, you're not alone. You may have a condition called hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. It affects 4.8 percent of the U.S. population and occurs when nerves that control sweat glands become overactive. (Stress, anxiety, medication, and conditions like diabetes, menopause, and thyroid disorders can trigger glands to pump out excess moisture.) Whatever the cause, sweating can take a toll. "The real burden is psychological, emotional, and social," says Malcolm Brock, MD, professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Center for Sweat Disorders. "People can become distraught and often suffer in silence."

If excessive sweating is taking a toll on your day-to-day (not to mention your dry cleaning bills), check out these ways to put a stop to all the sweating.

1. Limit caffeine

Studies suggest that drinking a cup or two of a caffeinated beverage before being active can make people sweat more easily and heavily. "Caffeine excites the nervous system, so try to minimize your intake if sweating is an issue for you," says Alisha Plotner, MD, a dermatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

2. Try sage tea

Sage has been found to reduce hot flash intensity, and preliminary research suggests that drinking it in tea form may reduce hyperhidrosis symptoms. "Studies are limited, but patients have told me it helps," Dr. Brock says. The American Botanical Council recommends up to 3 grams of dried sage, steeped in 2/3 cup boiling water, three times a day. If it's hot out, fine to drink it iced!

3. Tame tension

Managing stress and anxiety won't resolve a sweat-inducing medical condition, but it can forestall sweating triggered by emotional reactions. "A cognitive behavioral therapist can help you change negative thinking patterns so you're less likely to become anxious, and yoga or meditation can also promote calm," Dr. Plotner says.

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4. Grab an antiperspirant

Deodorants mask sweaty smells, while antiperspirants block sweat glands to reduce perspiration in the first place. If that's not doing the trick, your doctor can prescribe one that contains a more potent form of aluminum chloride, the ingredient that temporarily plugs glands. Be sure to read the label to make sure you're using the products correctly, for maximum effect. "These preparations work best when applied at night," says Dee Anna Glaser, MD, president of the International Hyperhidrosis Society. "It has to do with the aluminum-based compounds (the active ingredient) getting down into the sweat duct and blocking the sweat from coming up."

5. Spring for Botox

The frown-line-freezing injectable is FDA-approved to treat excessive underarm sweat, as well as sweaty palms and feet. It works by blocking secretion of the chemical that turns your sweat glands on, interrupting the signal that starts the sweating. "Botox works well and has an outstanding safety record," says Dr. Glaser. "One treatment will generally last seven months, so I tell patients to plan on coming in twice a year." And though it really doesn't hurt much in the underarms (we swear), the pain level goes way up if you have it done on your hands and feet, which contain far more nerve endings. Side effects are generally pretty minimal, though bruising and discomfort at the site of the injections are possible. As for cost, it varies by city and doctor, but you can expect to pay between $1,200 and $2,000; in many cases, the procedure is covered by insurance.

6. Consider medication

If you've already tried antiperspirants but haven't gotten any relief, your doctor may suggest medication. The most common kind used to treat hyperhidrosis (called anticholingerics) block the chemical messenger that triggers the sweating response from reaching the sweat glands. They work all over the body, which can make them very effective, but they can come with side effects like dry mouth, blurred vision, and heart palpitations; always work with your doctor to tailor the medication to your specific needs. "With a low, monitored dosage, we can reduce the excessive sweat without eliminating the ability to sweat altogether," says Dr. Glaser. The FDA also recently approved a topical underarm medication (Qbrexza) that blocks nerve signals that turn on sweat glands.

7. Look into MiraDry

This procedure uses electromagnetic energy to destroy the sweat glands in your armpit. If you're wondering, Won't I overheat if I don't have sweat glands there?, fear not. "We have sweat glands all over our body, so getting rid of a few glands in one specific area really doesn't impact our ability to regulate body temperature," says Dr. Glaser. MiraDry requires two treatments done roughly three months apart—and that's it. But it's not currently covered under any insurance plans, and it can cost up to $3,500.

8. There's also Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy

Known as ETS, this surgery is considered a last resort. Thoracic surgeons disrupt nerve signals from the spinal column to the sweat glands by cutting or destroying the nerve. And while Dr. Glaser says the surgery itself is safe, the known side effect is serious. It's called compensatory hyperhidrosis, and it means that once the sweating stops in the area targeted by ETS (usually the palms), patients will start sweating excessively in a new area. Up to 80 percent of ETS patients experience it, and it cannot be fixed. "When I talk to a patient, I really urge them to try all the other options first," says Dr. Glaser. "It's not that I don't ever recommend it, but it should be reserved for those who've tried and failed the other therapies."


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Emma Haak is an associate editor at Prevention, covering beauty and health.

8 Best Ways to Stop Excessive Sweating for Good, Source:https://www.prevention.com/beauty/a20457211/how-to-stop-sweating-excessively/

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