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Excessive sweating is usually due to primary hyperhidrosis. This affects about 1.0% of the population and causes considerable social, psychological and occupational problems leading to a marked negative effect on the sufferer's life.

Shaking hands becomes uncomfortable and working with paper is a problem, making business and day-to-day life a struggle. Sports enthusiasts, especially those who play racquet sports often find that they are limited as they are not able to grip sufficiently. Likewise musicians can experience difficulties, not only in playing, but due to the damage caused to the instrument from the excessive sweating. Sufferers report that they are even embarrassed to hold the hands of those they love.

Furthermore, excess sweating of the feet is often associated with an unpleasant odour, maceration of the toes and mycotic infections. Facial, head, groin and back sweating, although less common, also affect a considerable number of people.

The typical age of onset is in the teenage years, although it is not uncommon in children.

Regardless of where it is located, hyperhidrosis presents an embarrassing problem to all those afflicted with it.


Initial treatment should be carried out from your GP, using simple topical preparations of aluminium salts (Driclor or Anhydrol) for all sites of Hyperhidrosis, including the face. Irritation of the skin is common and these products should be used with caution and intermittently when this occurs. This treatment is generally more successful for the axillae (underarm) than any other area.

If this treatment is not successful, then a referral to a specialist is necessary.


This treatment is specifically for hyperhidrosis of the hands, feet and axillae (underarms). Nearly all sufferers have achieved a complete cessation of sweating after about four, 20 minute sessions using iontophoresis. The absence of sweating tends to last from about 1 week to 2 months, with top-up treatments as & when necessary. Sufferers can sometimes have this treatment in an outpatient's clinic in their general hospital, though most prefer to buy their own machine for home use. See

Botulinum Toxin A

'Botox' treatment as it is now usually known, is a licenced treatment for hyperhidrosis of the axillae (underarm). A series of small injections are administered under the arm as an outpatient procedure. This process only takes about ½ an hour and patients are able to carry on with their lives as normal afterwards. The treatment is successful for a period of about 6 months and then can be done again as necessary. See


Surgery is a last resort, if other treatments fail. The operation is called an Endoscopic Transthoracic Sympathectomy. See

Hyperhidrosis Support Group: