In September we will present some of the results from our on-going surveys. These results will provide a 'window' on the lives of individuals with focal hyperhidrosis. Topics include quality of life, heredity, surgery and gustatory sweating.
These surveys are anonymous and remain open. The more people participate, the more reliable are the results. If you have focal hyperhidrosis, feel free to participate. Click on the surveys link to access all our questionnaires.
Interestingly, the prevalence of anxiety is greater in axillary (or underarm) and craniofacial hyperhidrosis. Anxiety tends to affect about 16% of the population. So, individuals with excessive sweating are at least three times more likely to have some form of anxiety than those without hyperhidrosis.
The study also determined the degree of severity in those suffering from anxiety. While
about half had mild anxiety, a little more than one third had moderate anxiety. Severe forms of
anxiety were identified in 10%.
For more information, go to our Social Anxiety Disorder and Hyperhidrosis page.
* An Bras Dermatol. 2014
A little over three quarters (77%) reported 'clinically bothersome' post-surgical compensatory hyperhidrosis (CH). However, this rate decreased over time. The rate of CH decreased to an average of 35% after 5 and 12 years post-operatively. This is still a significant number - about one-third of individuals having had surgery essentially 'relocated' their region of excessive sweating. Granted the relocalized region may be less bothersome than their initial or pre-operative site of excessive sweating. A smaller number of individuals, 6.2%, regretted having the operation in the first place.
A recent German study demonstrated that individuals with hyperhidrosis tend to be more chronically stressed and
depressed than the general population. Those with
hyperhidrosis scored higher and therefore had greater
association with stress attributes such as 'lack of social recognition', 'chronic worrying', and 'excessive demands from work'.
These attributes scored particularly high in those with axillary hyperhidrosis. This same group of individuals was also associated with additional stress attributes such as 'work discontent' and 'social overload'. There was a similar trend related to depression, again showing a greater propensity (higher depression scores) for depression among those with hyperhidrosis. As many as sixty percent of 'excessive sweaters' showed significantly higher depression scores compared to 10% of those in the non-hyperhidrosis group.
The authors of the study do make a point that individuals with hyperhidrosis often develop their condition at an early age - these are formative years that are particularly sensitive to changes and disturbances in the development of esteem and identity.
Results were collected from 86 patients using specific questionnaires before and three months after the procedure. The research* showed that women are likely to have more crying episodes after having undergone ETS. This tendency was not observed in men. Unfortunately, there is no rationale or theory provided that explains this observation.
* Stefaniak T, et. al. Innov Clin Neurosci 2013
An Italian group of researchers examined the results of 41 individuals undergoing this procedure for palmar and axillary hyperhidrosis. More than half (26 individuals or 63%) were also affected by excessive sweating of the soles.
The condition affecting their feet improved in 14 individuals, that is, about half. This improvement was partial in 80% and resolved in 20% of these individuals. In other words, only about 1 in 5 people with plantar hyperhidrosis opting for surgery will have a successful result. Also keep in mind the significant possibility of developing compensatory sweating, secondary to surgery.
* Paliogiannis P, et.al. Ann Ital Chir. 2013 Jul 28;84. pii: S0003469X1302126X. [Epub ahead of print]
A new surgical technique is using the umbilicus, better known as the belly button, as a port of entry for a procedure to help fight excessive sweating. While the surgery, known as thoracic sympathectomy is not new, the access to the nerves that control the excessive sweating certainly is.
In a study published last month*, Chinese researchers describe their novel technique as well as the results from patients post-surgery. While general anesthesia was still required, only a small 5 mm incision was performed.
The study involved a total of 35 individuals and results were determined one year after the surgical procedure. The success rate was higher for palmar (hand/palm) than axillary (underarm) hyperhidrosis (97% vs 72%).
While quality of life improved and most were satisfied with the results, compensatory sweating remained a problem in close to 30% of individuals. Compensatory sweating is a condition often associated with thoracic sympathectomy. While the surgery is able to curb the sweating from a specific region (e.g. palms of the hands), it will develop in another area such as the groin. Feel free to visit our page on compensatory sweating for more information on this condition.
* Zhu, LH et. al. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, 2014
Almost 6000 responses were analysed. A little over 5% reported palm hyperhidrosis, while 2.8%, 5.8% and 4.7% reported excessive sweating of the feet, underarms and head/scalp respectively. What is more alarming is the fact that only 6% had seeked some form of treatment. This was also corroborated in a large survey of 150,000 households in the US. Authors of this survey cited the fact that individuals were unaware that their condition was treatable.
Happy New Year to all our Readers!
Unless you're a healthcare professional, you probably are not aware of the serotonin syndrome. Pharmacists in particularly familiar with the syndrome and screen patient medication profiles for potential occurences. Serotonin is a naturally occuring substance responsible for signaling between neurons or generating impulses that travel throughout the nervous system. Serotonin is involved in processes such as gastrointestinal motility, uterine contractions, bronchoconstriction and thermoregulation to name a few.
In rare or more severe cases, the syndrome can actually be life-threatening. Drug classes implicated in this syndrome include antidepressants (e.g. fluoxetine, paroxetine, venlafaxine), analgesics (e.g. meperidine, tramadol, fentanyl), lithium, cough preparations containing dextromethorphan (e.g. Benylin DM), and St John's wort. The elderly are particularly more prone to this syndrome if dosages are not adjusted accordingly. Fortunately, the condition and its symptoms are easily managed by discontinuing the involved medications. The syndrome can also be reversed with antidotes (e.g. cyproheptadine).