If you have sweaty palms in the dead of winter, it could be because of hyperhidrosis

There is an underlying medical reason called palmar hyperhidrosis where a person suffers from excessive and uncontrollable sweating of the hands or palms.

Myupchar January 28, 2020 17:15:15 IST
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If you have sweaty palms in the dead of winter, it could be because of hyperhidrosis

It’s a pretty common scenario. From finally being face-to-face with your crush to being the middle of an interview - a little bit of nervous sweating is completely normal. It’s when the sweating happens without a trigger that it might start becoming a problem. There is an underlying medical reason called palmar hyperhidrosis where a person suffers from excessive and uncontrollable sweating of the hands or palms.

If you have sweaty palms in the dead of winter it could be because of hyperhidrosis

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

Why do some people have sweaty palms all the time?

The human body has about 4 million sweat glands. About 75% of them are eccrine that open directly onto the surface of your skin and the rest 25% are apocrine that open into the hair follicle and then release sweat to the surface of the skin. 

Though the root cause of the condition is not specific, primary focal (essential) hyperhidrosis is considered to be responsible for most of the cases.

In primary focal hyperhidrosis, the nerves (sympathetic nerves) that signal the eccrine glands become overactive without any trigger by physical activity or a rise in temperature and the problem gets even worse with stress. It usually affects the palms and soles and sometimes the face.

Another cause could be secondary hyperhidrosis where the sweating occurs due to a medical condition. Conditions that may lead to heavy sweating include diabetes, gout, menopause, hyperthyroidism, low blood sugar, heart attacks and nervous system disorders. Sweating occurs all over the body.

How can the situation be managed?

Treatment of palmar hyperhidrosis remains a challenge as the cause remains unidentified. Various topical therapies could prove to be effective in managing the condition.

1. Antiperspirants: Yes, antiperspirants can be used on hands too. Antiperspirants like Drysol, which contains 20% aluminium chloride hexahydrate and anhydrous ethyl alcohol, prove to be effective for sweaty palms. They are available in gel form and should be applied once daily.

2. Iontophoresis: Iontophoresis is a procedure which involves passing of direct current to the skin. Food and Drug Association has approved three devices, namely RA Fischer (MD-1a and MD-2 models), the Hid rex USA and the Drionic Daily for carrying out iontophoresis. The treatment involves passing of 15-20 milliampere of current for 30 minutes through each palm or sole while they are immersed in a tub full of water. This therapy can only be performed by medical professionals. 

3. Botox: In botox treatment of palmar hyperhidrosis, 50 injections each of 2 mouse units of Botulinum Toxin Type A are injected in the subepidermal layer (deep within the uppermost layer) of each palm. (A mouse unit is equal to the amount of toxicity a drug has to kill a mouse when the drug is injected into his abdomen.)

This results in anhydrosis (complete absence of sweat) which lasts for 4-12 months. Each injection produces an area of anhydrosis approximately 1.2 cm in diameter. 

The only adverse effect is mild temporary thumb weakness which resolves within 3 weeks. 

4. Anticholinergic drugs: Your doctor may prescribe anticholinergic drugs. Drugs like oxybutynin hydrochloride work against the nerve receptors that trigger sweat glands to produce more sweat. 

For more information, read our article on Hyperhidrosis: Symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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