Here in our plastic surgery practice in New York, gynecomastia and liposuction are the procedures most male patients consult us about. Of course we work with men who are interested in procedures to treat a variety of other conditions, and hyperhidrosis – or excessive sweating – is one.
Primary or Secondary Hyperhidrosis
In some cases, excessive sweating is a symptom of another condition such as menopause, anxiety, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or cancer. This form is called secondary hyperhidrosis. Because the underlying medical problem could be serious, it’s important to consult a physician if you should suddenly develop hyperhidrosis.
The medical encyclopedia of the U.S. National Library of Medicine reveals that 2-3% of the country’s population (male and female) wrestles with primary hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, from the armpits, hands and feet that usually begins at puberty. Yet less than half those who suffer actually consult a doctor for help.
Help is Available
There are several different treatment options for hyperhidrosis. For most people, a good course of action is to try the least invasive and least expensive choices first, then progress to stronger measures as needed.
- Natural therapies: Anxiety and emotions often play a role in excess sweating. For some people, yoga, biofeedback, relaxation techniques or psychotherapy can be of some help.
- Antiperspirants: For the armpits, a good place to start is with clinical strength deodorant/antiperspirants. A few are available over the counter, and you can get access to a few more with a doctor’s prescription.
- Iontophoresis: This is a painless, FDA approved therapy for the hands and feet. It involves immersing the extremities in a water bath with an electric current passing through it.
- Botox: The same injectable treatment for dynamic wrinkles of the face can help block nerve stimulation of the sweat glands. How well the injections work and how long the effects last varies from person to person.
- Sympathectomy: For some patients who aren’t helped in other ways, surgery to cut the sympathetic nerves to the sweat glands may be the answer.
- “Sweat Lipo”: Direct removal of some of the sweat glands from the armpit area can be accomplished through a relatively straightforward outpatient procedure. It’s technically called “suction currettage,” but we refer to it with an easy-to-remember name: “Sweat Lipo.” We perfected the technique in our practice and designed special instruments for sweat gland removal.
We find that living with hyperhidrosis can pose as many psychological challenges for our patients in New York as gynecomastia does. If excessive sweating is a problem for you, the good news is that the right treatment or combination can probably alleviate this embarrassing condition.
You can see that there are several different techniques to try, and each one has its advantages and drawbacks. Therefore, it’s important to consult a physician with experience treating hyperhidrosis with a variety of approaches.