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Dr. Asarch's Column on Girls Gone Sporty this Month-Handling Hyperhydrosis

Dr. Asarch authors a  monthly column for women athletes on GirlsGoneSporty.com. Read his May article below or click HERE to read the full article on the GGS site.

DEALING WITH EXCESSIVE SWEATING

Sweating is the body’s way of cooling down and is a normal, healthy part of your workout. Your body temperature rises during exercise in order to convert the energy from the food you eat into energy that is needed for your workout. To keep your body from overheating in these conditions, millions of sweat glands on the surface of your skin secrete a combination of water, minerals, lactate and urea which then evaporate and cool you down.

WHAT IS EXCESSIVE SWEATING?

Excessive sweating occurs when you sweat four to five times more than normal, far exceeding what is necessary to regulate body temperature. Millions of Americans suffer from Hyperhidrosis — the medical term for severe sweating — even when they’re not exercising. Commonly an inherited condition, excessive sweating can be embarrassing and debilitating on a social, functional and emotional level if left untreated. It may affect the entire body, or it may be localized to the armpits, palms or soles. Hyperhidrosis may begin in childhood or start later in life.

EXCESSIVE SWEATING DURING EXERCISE

Although excessive sweating during exercise is usually harmless, it could indicate an underlying health condition or even a medical emergency. If you are in good physical condition, excess sweating may simply be a sign that your body has adapted to your individual exercise level and is prepared to sweat more to avoid storing extra heat.

If you’re exercising in extreme temperatures, which often is the case in the summer, you can be susceptible to a potentially serious condition called heat exhaustion. In addition to excessive sweating, other symptoms include paleness, dizziness, weak or rapid pulse, shallow breathing, nausea and headache. The best way to prevent heat exhaustion and over exertion is to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise, avoid exercising in extreme temperatures or direct sun and wear non-restrictive clothing that absorbs sweat and dries quickly. If you experience heat exhaustion, stop exercising immediately and seek medical attention. If you are not able to get help quickly, seek shade or an air conditioned location, remove excess clothing, elevate your feet and drink plenty of fluids. If you ignore the symptoms, heat exhaustion can progress into heat stroke and become deadly.

HANDLING HYPERHIDROSIS

Excessive sweating when you’re not exercising can be embarrassing and debilitating. With temperatures climbing and summer right around the corner, it’s a natural assumption to think that the worst season for excessive sweating is on its way. However, Hyperhidrosis is a problem year-round and each season brings unique challenges to managing the embarrassment and discomfort of excessive sweating.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to avoid the embarrassment of excessive underarm sweat and how it affects your daily life. Even though Hyperhidrosis is a year-round problem, in the summer sweating for everyone is just part of the season. It may put your mind at ease to know that your condition may not stand out as much during the warmer months.

Here are some tips to managing excessive sweating in the summer:

  • Natural Fibers: Wear natural fabrics, like cotton or linene, that are breathable and allow air to get to your skin
  • Keep Clothing Loose: Tight clothing is restrictive and can worsen perspiration. Loose-fitting clothing allows air to circulate and reach your skin.
  • Watch What You Eat: Certain foods and beverages, like alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods can worsen sweating. Pay attention to how your body reacts to different foods, avoiding them if they cause increased perspiration.
  • Try a Prescription Antiperspirant: If over-the-counter antiperspirants aren’t helping you, your doctor can prescribe something stronger. But keep in mind that these prescription products can sometimes cause skin irritation.
  • Botox Injections: When topical products are not effective, regular injections of Botox into the armpit area can effectively reduce sweating for some patients.
  • Talk to Your Doctor

If prescription antiperspirants are not working for you, or you don’t like the idea or the frequency of Botox injections, then you may be a good candidate for a new treatment using laser ablation of the underlying sweat glands. Dr. Asarch is the first doctor in Colorado to offer the LAAP (Laser Ablation of Axillary Perspiration) Procedure for treating Severe Primary Axillary Hyperhidrosis. This procedure is a minimally invasive laser ablation of the sweat glands in the axillary (armpit) area. Previously, Botox injections, administered every six months, have been used when topical medications and solutions did not work. The LAAP procedure will eliminate the need for bi-yearly Botox injections and typically one treatment brings a 75-percent or greater reduction of sweating. A second treatment can be performed if necessary.

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