When You’re Sweating, and it’s Not the Small Stuff
For some people, they are the twin embarrassments of summer: hyperhidrosis and bromhidrosis. You may be able to tell what the first condition is from its word origins—“hyper,” meaning “over,” and “hidrosis,” meaning moisture. Yes, hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating.
The term “bromhidrosis” is harder to figure out, though you already know it’s about moisture, or sweating. “Brom” is from the Greek word for “stench,” therefore “bromhidrosis” means body odor.
Not everyone who suffers from one of these unwanted conditions also has the other. But it happens often enough that it’s worthwhile discussing them together. What’s more, treatment that can ease the first may also be a solution for the second.
What Should I Know about Hyperhidrosis?
If you struggle with out of control sweating, it may help a little to know you’re not alone.
According to Science Daily, nearly 3% of the population suffers from excessive sweating. That may not seem like a lot, but in a room of 100 people, that means two others have the same problem you do. That may be more than you thought.
The first step you should take is to visit your primary care physician and rule out physical conditions that may contribute. Cancer, diabetes and, of course, menopause can trigger hyperhidrosis, as can some medications. If you have a clean bill of health, you’ll be one of the many who sweat profusely for no apparent reason. All the medical community knows as of now is hyperhidrosis stems from the nervous system; it’s not a disorder of the sweat glands.
What Can I Do About Hyperhidrosis?
It may surprise you to know that it’s quite possible a plastic surgeon can be of help. We see patients with hyperhidrosis in New York fairly frequently. Options for treatment include:
• Prescription antiperspirants: No doubt you have tried every antiperspirant you can get your hands on, but we may be able to get you something even stronger.
• Iontophoresis: A water bath of chemicals and electrolytes is a painless treatment to try for hands and feet.
• Botox: Some patients find relief from injections of Botox to quiet nerves that stimulate sweat glands. We can work with you to determine if this is reasonable to try.
• Sweat lipo: In a liposuction-like procedure, we can remove most (not all) of your sweat producing glands. We favor this approach over cutting nerves.
It’s not necessarily easy to choose a course of action from these options. We advise patients in greater New York with hyperhidrosis to come in for a consultation so we can exchange information and work together on a strategy.
What Should I Know About Bromhidrosis?
One thing to be aware of about body odor is something you may already know: frequent showering will not solve the problem. Body odor is caused when natural bacteria on the skin’s surface break substances in sweat into foul smelling compounds, according to Zalea, a website offering independent cosmetic treatment information. Extra bathing and strong deodorants can help for a short time, but your particular bacterial mix will spring right back into action if you have bromhidrosis.
What Can I Do About Body Odor?
Since we are still talking about sweat, we advise people with body odor to follow a process similar to that recommended for people with hyperhidrosis. A visit to your primary care physician to rule out conditions like diabetes or a skin-based yeast infection is a good place to start. You can also do research and give some thought to how lifestyle choices may contribute. For instance, Zalea notes that wearing some synthetic fabrics can contribute to body odor, as well as eating certain foods.
A consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon can also be a good step, particularly if you suffer from a combination of hyperhidrosis and bromhidrosis. Having both of these problems can’t be much fun, but the good news is that treating one may very will eliminate or at least reduce the other.
Can we be of help? As a respected plastic surgery practice with a successful track record spanning decades, it is our primary goal to help people feel good about themselves and enjoy the best quality of life possible. A consultation with us in New York about hyperhidrosis and/or bromhidrosis will never be time wasted. Give us a call at 212-570-6080 or fill out our short online form if you’d like to talk.