Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating on the hands, feet, armpits, face and genital area, or all over the entire body. The exact cause of this condition is unknown, although it often runs in families and begins during childhood.
Patients with hyperhidrosis may sweat all over their body or in certain areas. Their skin may become white and wrinkled or red and irritated as a result of the constant moisture, and it may develop an odor as well. Living with hyperhidrosis often causes patients to feel embarrassed, awkward and self-conscious, especially during social situations.
Causes of Hyperhidrosis
If the hyperhidrosis is caused by an underlying condition, it is known as secondary hyperhidrosis. These underlying conditions may include:
- Heart disease
- Hormonal changes
- Blood sugar problems
Certain medications may also cause hyperhidrosis. In some cases, there may be no known cause for this condition, although one theory is that nerves overreact, causing excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis that has no specific cause and is not caused by an underlying medical condition is known as primary or focal hyperhidrosis. This condition tends to affect both sides of the body and can occur on the hands, feet, underarms, head and face.
Treatment for Hyperhidrosis
Treatment for hyperhidrosis depends on the severity of the condition, but may include prescription-strength antiperspirant or medication to help control sweating or stop the stimulation of the sweat glands. Botox® injections in the armpits block the nerves that cause sweating and can effectively treat hyperhidrosis for up to six months for each injection.
In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the nerves that control the sweat glands, or the actual glands themselves. This procedure is usually considered a last resort to be used only after conservative methods have failed. Patients who undergo surgery may develop more intense sweating, a condition known as compensatory sweating, later in life.
- Male pattern baldness
- Fungal infections of the scalp
- Severe infections or high fevers
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medications
- Traumatic stress
- Trichotillomania, a psychiatric disorder involving compulsive hair-pulling
- Thyroid or pituitary disorders
- Certain skin disorders, such as eczema or psoriasis
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or polycystic ovary syndrome
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder
- Telogen effluvium, in which too many hair follicles remain in a resting state
Treatment for Hair Loss
Treatment for hair loss is usually based on the cause of the condition. When hair loss results from a fungal infection, it may be treated with anti-fungal medication. Hair loss that results from cancer treatment is usually temporary. For other types of hair loss, one of the following treatments may be considered:
- Hair transplant surgery, hair plugs, scalp reduction
- Over-the-counter medications, such as Rogaine or Nizoral
- External laser comb
- Hair-stimulating treatments
For some patients, wigs or hairpieces may be useful in creating an attractive appearance and reducing self-consciousness about hair loss.
There are several different disorders affecting the nails that may occur as a result of genetics, fungal or bacterial infections, hormone production or lifestyle habits. Nail disorders most often affect the toenails and involve bacteria or debris entering into the nail area.
Treatment for nail disorders depends on the type of disorder and its underlying cause. Many nail disorders can be effectively treated through oral or topical medications to get rid of the infection. Proper hygiene is also important in treating and preventing nail disorders.
A skin tag (acrochordon) is a small, soft piece of flesh-colored or dark tissue that is attached to the surface of the skin by a connecting "stalk." Most skin tags develop over time, although some people are born with them. Skin tags typically affect people who are overweight, have diabetes, or are older than 40.
Although they are almost always benign, and do not cause problems unless they are continuously irritated, many people choose to have them removed for precautionary or cosmetic purposes. Skin tags can itch and, because they can get caught in zippers, clothes or jewelry, sometimes bleed. They are not contagious.
Typical Skin-Tag Locations
Skin tags are common skin growths that can develop where clothing rubs against the skin, or the skin rubs against itself. They are typically found on the eyelids, neck and underarms, under the breasts, and in folds of skin on the groin, belly or buttocks.
Removing a skin tag is a simple in-office procedure that is usually performed by a dermatologist. Freezing, burning, and excision with scissors are three common methods of removing them. Small tags may be removed without using an anesthetic, although larger ones may require it. Depending upon the method used, skin-tag removal can cause temporary skin discoloration or bleeding. Occasionally, a skin tag falls off on its own. If a skin tag is surgically removed, it rarely regrows, although new skin tags can develop nearby or on other areas of skin.
Insurance companies consider skin-tag removal to be cosmetic in almost all cases, so typically do not reimburse for the cost of removing them.