Sweat is essential to human survival and serves as the body's coolant, protecting it from overheating.
There are two to four million sweat glands distributed all over our bodies. The majority of them are "eccrine" sweat glands, which are found in large numbers on the soles of the feet, the palms, the forehead and cheeks, and in the armpits.
Eccrine glands secrete an odorless, clear fluid that helps the body to control its temperature by promoting heat loss through evaporation. In general, the type of sweat involved in hyperhidrosis is eccrine sweat.
The other type of sweat gland is called an "apocrine" gland. Apocrine glands are found in the armpits and genital region. They produce a thick fluid. When this fluid comes in contact with bacteria on the skin's surface, it produces a characteristic potent body odor.
Both the eccrine and apocrine sweat glands are activated by nerves. These nerves respond to a variety of stimuli including:
- messages from the brain indicating that the body is too hot
- physical activity or exercise.
In people who have excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, the sweat glands (eccrine glands in particular) overreact to stimuli and are just generally overactive, producing more sweat than is necessary. It's often said that people with hyperhidrosis have sweat glands that are stuck in the "on" position.
Not all excessive sweating is the same. And in fact, sometimes profuse sweating can be a sign of something very serious. Learn more about the two types of hyperhidrosis now.
Illustration explanation: The skin is composed of an epidermal layer (E) from which hair follicles (H), sweat glands (G), and sebaceous glands (S) descend into the underlying dermis (D). Attribution: Reprinted from Robbin's Pathologic Basis of Disease, Edition 6, Cotran, Ramzi S., Chapter 27, Fig 27-1A, Copyright 1999, with permission from Elsevier.
Do your feet feel soggy and sloppy all the time? Does your sweat ruin your shoes? Are you afraid to wear sandals or flip-flops for fear that you'll slip right out of them?
Do you leave damp footprints when you walk barefoot? Are your feet freezing cold in the winter because they are sweating?
These are just some of the experiences of people with sweaty feet, or plantar hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis, also called excessive sweating, is a medical condition that affects different body areas including the feet. Fortunately, there are treatments available.
Treatments for sweaty feet include: Antiperspirants, Iontophoresis, and Botox injections. Botox injections are a popular treatment choice for underarm excessive sweating (axillary hyperhidrosis) and may be used to manage excessive sweating on the hands and feet as well. You should know, however, that plantar injections of Botox (injections on the foot) can be painful (although there are pain relieving techniques that experienced physicians use) and the results do not last as long as they do in the underarms. Typically, Botox injections in the feet tend to "wear off" in 3 to 4 months, meaning you'll need to return for re-treatment at that point. Be sure to learn about all your options here on SweatHelp.
One more important note: ETS Surgery is NOT recommended for sweaty feet. NOT even as a last resort. The side effects can be dire, and reversing the procedure is not possible.
In addition to the treatments mentioned above, there are a number of products and tips available to help make living with sweaty feet easier:
Powders can absorb moisture, too. Many doctors mention Zeasorb as a good talc brand.
Shoe driers can help your shoes to dry thoroughly and quickly so they are ready to wear again, smell better, and last longer. We've tried Peet's Shoe Dryers and loved them!
Information for this page has been taken from SweatHelp.org.