Let’s face it. We live in one of the warmest climates in the United States, where summer temperatures reached far into the triple digits this year.

By Aury Nagy, MD

Let’s face it. We live in one of the warmest climates in the United States, where summer temperatures reached far into the triple digits this year. Walking outside is an invitation to your sweat glands to start doing their jobs. But where is the line between normal and excessive sweating?

Usually, the line is drawn by your own hand. Literally. If your hands sweat so much you are afraid to shake hands with people or soak your computer keyboard on a regular basis, you may have palmar hyperhidrosis. Palmar hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating in the hands.

Palmar hyperhidrosis is caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system. It occurs in about 1% of the population and may be hereditary. Unfortunately, it is also one of the more socially debilitating disorders because unlike under your arms, sweaty hands can’t be concealed.

If your sweating is minimal, here are a few solutions you can try at home:

  1. Antiperspirants. Prescription-strength antiperspirants are available over the counter and can be applied to the hands at night (removed in the morning). This is generally the first thing people try when they notice excessive sweating.
  2. Leather tanning solution. The tannic acid in this can reduce or stop sweating on your hands and under your arms. This will likely turn your hands yellow and must be done several times a week.
  3. Electropheresis. This is an electrolyte solution with a low level electrical current. While this is something you can do at home, it is time consuming and must be repeated on a regular basis.
  4. Botox. A dermatologist can give Botox injections in your hands. This can be painful and also must be performed on a regular basis.

As you can see, many of the non-surgical treatments available are painful, messy and expensive. If you’ve tried all of the non-surgical options your doctor recommended without success, you could be a candidate for a minimally invasive surgery called a sympathectomy that will end your excessive sweating for good.

A sympathectomy is a relatively new procedure that allows surgeons to locate and cut the sympathetic nerves that cause excessive sweating with only very small incisions — in fact, less than one inch on each side. Using a fiberoptic camera and small surgical instruments, surgeons can perform this relatively simple operation. Most patients require just an overnight stay in the hospital and benefit from less discomfort and a faster recovery.

After performing dozens of sympathectomy surgeries, I have seen first-hand how it can literally transform your life for the better. Teenagers are no longer afraid to join their friends in social groups, adults are no longer afraid to shake hands at church or in business meetings, and everyone is happier that they no longer have to be embarrassed of their excessive sweating. There are so many opportunities in your life, don’t let excessive sweating hold you back!

About the author

Dr. Aury Nagy is a Las Vegas-based neurosurgeon with offices in Nevada Brain and Spine Care, Kingman Arizona and Bullhead City Arizona. For more information, visit his website at http://www.motionpreservationspinesurgery.com. or call 702-838-2219.

About the author