Hyperhidrosis Treatment

Medical Author: Nili N. Alai, MD, FAAD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Hyperhidrosis is excess sweating. While sweating is a normal human bodily function, some people naturally sweat more or less than others. Some individuals sweat in excess, causing problems with school, work, and social situations. Hyperhidrosis affects both males and females and can start at any age. It is often a severe and emotionally distressing problem for people with the condition. Effective treatments are now available to help those with hyperhidrosis.

Treatments for hyperhidrosis include over-the-counter antiperspirants, prescription antiperspirants like Drysol (20% aluminum chloride), iontophoresis, pills like glycopyrrolate (Robinul), and surgery. Robinul may be reserved for special occasions like school dances, job interviews, weddings, proms, anniversaries, first dates, and other really important events. There are no currently available pills to take daily, and there are always potential side effects associated with oral medications. Botulinum toxin injections (Botox) are now available for this condition.

Surgical sympathectomy is the specialized, permanent nerve cutting, or destruction surgery performed to help decrease some types of sweating. It does not work for all types of excess sweating or for all areas of the body. Consultation with a specialized thoracic surgeon is required and overall, surgery is usually reserved for severe or resistant cases because of potentially serious side effects.