Slightly Off Topic: Sweaty Hands and Feet

Well my husband has always suffered from sweaty palms and sweaty feet throughout his life. This is a condition known as hyperhidrosis. As he’s gotten older it seems as though it has progressively gotten worse. Some of it stems from anxiety which he’s also battled throughout his life.

When you get anxious your sweat glands squeeze and contract which then expels sweat from the glands. For someone with anxiety issues this is nearly uncontrollable without medication. So in social situations these problems are exacerbated. When he has to shake hands with someone can be the worse time. It’s not that the person makes him nervous or that he a socially anxious person, it’s that he gets uneasy when he has to shake hands because of his clammy palms.


He normally has to warn the person on the receiving end of the handshake that he’s a sweaty guy or often times he will simply give the fist bump instead.  But this isn’t always acceptable especially in a business environment.


As a child he was prescribed by a dermatologist an antiperspirant topical medication.  His hands were supposed to be “bone dry” and then the liquid applied to the hands.  After the liquid was applied he had to wear plastic gloves over his hands for 30 minutes.  His hands would obviously sweat profusely in the non-breathable glove.


This technique didn’t help much at all.  Sometimes he uses other topical treatments but it’s like the can only hold back the sweat for so long and then once it breaks the skin it absolutely pours out.


A friend has recommended Botox treatment as well but he doesn’t like the idea of a foreign chemical with little know long term effects injected into his body.  The hands and feet could be particularly dangerous because of the movements associated with walking and use of your hands.  This movement can cause the Botox to leak out through the body and bloodstream and thus render it less effective than if it was allowed to remain in the applied area.


So what are the options for those out there with hyperhidrosis of the feet and hands?

  1. Aluminum chloride or antiperspirants
  2. Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS)
  3. Sweat gland removal
  4. Botox injections
  5. Anticholinergics (Anti-sweating drugs)
  6. Iontophoresis devices

Antiperspirants just simply have not worked for my husband.  He of course wears an underarm version every day and is’t exactly thrilled of the possibility of causing some long term side effect or health problem relating from the usage but the alternative is pretty stinky. Besides the fact that is simply hasn’t worked, there can be other side effects like skin irritation and rash.

Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) is a surgical procedure where they actually clamp some nerve in your spine to reduce the sweating.  Sounds dangerous but seems to be relatively safely performed.  results are good but there have been some reported side effects.  One of them is sweating more in other areas.  Almost like your body needs to compensate someplace else.  Also there are some other risks and it’s very expensive.  We pass on this one as well.

Then there’s sweat gland removal.  Surgery where they go in and physically remove the gland.  Again, seems drastic for something sort of petty and i’m sure it isn’t cheap and without its side effects either.  Again…no thank you.

I already covered why he said no to Botox injections so that’s all I say about that…next!

Anticholinergics or anti-sweating drugs are simply medications taken orally to reduce sweating.  I don’t know the internal pathway or the specific drugs used here but once again my husband will not go for this treatment.  It’s all I can do to get him to take an aspirin for a headache much less something not totally necessary.  Who knows what the side effects or long term risks are associated with this because I haven’t studied it.  I already know he won’t go for it.

So I’ve done quite a bit of research online and over time you come across little advertisements and things that are intriguing.  Like this one…Click Here!

I haven’t tried those but there is one I’m going to talk to my dermatologist about this week. It’s a non-surgical, non-medication, non-invasive treatment that uses electricity.  The method is implemented by an iontophoresis device.

Evidently these treatments can be given inside of a doctor’s office or they can be purchased on your own.  I’ve seen some websites claim that you can even get your health insurance to cover some of the costs.


Appears as though side effects are fairly minimal and a little discomfort here and there is about the only issue you may have.  One starts treatments once a day for several days in a row.  The sessions last 10-30 minutes and are administered by placing your hands in a small tub of water that is electrically charged.  After the initial 4-5 daily treatments the individual must continue doing this once a week in order to maintain.  Otherwise you’re sweat glands will return to pre-treatment conditions.


This idea seems promising and we are going to pursue it through our dermatologist office.  I will update the blog with with reports of the progress and real time videos and results.


If you’ve had success or failure with treating your hyperhidrosis please contact  me and let me know what’s worked and what hasn’t.








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