Control Excessive Feet Sweating
Dr. Marc-André Doré
It's understandable when a person's feet perspire inside socks and shoes on a warm day. It becomes a bothersome problem, though, when someone has chronically sweaty feet even in cool temperatures. Medically, excessive chronic perspiration is known as hyperhidrosis. When the condition affects the feet, this is called plantar hyperhidrosis.
Perspiration caused by hyperhidrosis tends to have a more prominent and worse odor than that of normal sweating. Additional troublesome issues, such as athlete's foot, may develop. Perpetually damp socks can damage shoes. Fortunately, effective treatments are available.
Doctors That Treat the Condition
Men and women dealing with excessive perspiration of the feet may want to consult with a podiatrist or dermatologist if home-based strategies are unsatisfactory. Podiatrists treat a broad range of foot disorders and diseases. Dermatologists diagnose and treat skin conditions.
Primary and secondary versions
Hyperhidrosis usually only affects one particular area of the body. Most commonly, the condition affects the hands, face, armpits or feet. This limited form of the disorder is called primary hyperhidrosis. The cause is unknown, but sweat gland overactivity produces the symptoms.
A related disorder, secondary hyperhidrosis, causes profuse perspiration throughout the body. The secondary form is connected with an underlying factor such as obesity, menopause or a side effect of medication.
Individuals with primary hyperhidrosis sometimes can manage their symptoms by modifying behavior. They might notice that their feet become damp when they drink alcohol or eat spicy cuisine. Stress, anger and anxiety all can cause more perspiration than usual. Someone with hyperhidrosis may benefit from learning and practicing relaxation techniques.
It's important to buy socks that wick moisture away from the skin and to wear shoes recognized for being breathable. Although this doesn't resolve the problem of excess perspiration, it helps keep the feet dry.
Several solutions are available
A doctor may begin with a prescription-strength antiperspirant for the feet. This substance temporarily seals the sweat glands.
The effect is temporary, just like the effects of underarm antiperspirant products. However, the prescription version has a longer-term advantage. The body seems to recognize that the glands are not functioning and gradually reduces the level of perspiration produced there.
Iontophoresis is best known as a way to send medications through skin without an injection. The substance is applied to electrodes to be placed on the body so the medicine can work directly on the affected area. For example, a corticosteroid can be delivered to the knee joint this way to reduce inflammation.
This methodology also can be used to block sweat glands. It involves sending a gentle electric current through water and into the skin. The equipment may include a shallow pan and a medical device that creates a precise mild electrical field. Specialized pads also are available that accomplish this activity.
This method can be done at home after acquiring the equipment from a healthcare practitioner and receiving instructions on how to safely perform iontophoresis.
At first, the person must use the equipment at least a few times every week for about 30 minutes. Once positive results occur, the frequency can gradually be reduced. Still, the individual must continue using the device occasionally to maintain positive results. It could be considered a routine to carry out while watching a favorite TV show or reading a book.
A doctor also might recommend Botox injections for the feet. Although most people have mainly heard of Botox for cosmetic uses, it has medical benefits as well. One is the ability to obstruct chemical signals that stimulate perspiration. The results last for months.
If a person with plantar hyperhidrosis does not experience enough relief with non-medical strategies, consulting with a physician is the next step. Some individuals prefer to stick with conservative methods like prescription-strength antiperspirant or iontophoresis, even though this requires routine effort. Those who want a more convenient option might qualify for Botox injections.
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