Excessive sweating is due to a predisposition in
certain individuals whose sweat glands excrete an extraordinarily large amount
of sweat. This can be very stressful for patients and significantly impact
their quality of life. In medical terminology excessive sweating is called
“hyperhidrosis.” In Switzerland, approximately two to four percent of the
population is affected by this condition.
Symptoms and Affected Areas of the Body
Most affected are the sweat glands of the hands,
feet, and armpits, or axillae. The glands produce abnormal amounts of sweat,
which causes the patients to perspire heavily even at moderate temperatures and
with slight physical effort.
Use of deodorants containing aluminum chloride-hexahydrate:
this component of many deodorants is based on aluminum salts. In most
individuals, these effect closure of the secretory duct of the sweat gland and
thus inhibit perspiration. If patients do not tolerate these salts, we help
them evaluate alternatives.
Tap water iontophorese
During tap water iontophoresis a weak direct
current (15mA to 30mA) is applied to an area of the skin (hands, feet,
axillae). The therapeutic effect is based on raising the stimulus threshold of
the sweat glands’ secretion.
The injection of botulinum toxin A into the vicinity of the cutaneous sweat glands can block secretory stimuli in a very targeted way. The expected results of treatment will last for about four to twelve months, after which treatment can be repeated. Furthermore, in severe cases the nerve fibers responsible for the activity of the sweat glands can be surgically severed. The Department of Thoracic Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, will perform this procedure (transthoracic sympathectomy).