St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno uses iontophoresis to treat patients with hyperhidrosis. Photo Credit: FNUSA

Brno, 10 Sept. (BD) – Sweat is a natural tool to regulate body temperature and prevent health damage from overheating of the body. However, excessive sweating is also a sign that requires monitoring; according to statistics, 5% of the population experience excessive sweating.

“Excessive sweating can be a symptom of another disease, for example, diabetes, thyroid disease, or other endocrinological problems, or even a sign of chronic inflammation or even cancer,” said Dr. Miroslav Nečas, Chief of the Dermatovenerology Clinic at St. Anne’s Hospital (FNUSA). “In these cases, sweating tends to be body-wide, i.e., it is not limited to the areas typical for hyperhidrosis, which are the palms, soles, armpits, or groin,” he added.

One of the methods by which to address hyperhidrosis is so-called iontophoresis, used to treat up to 80 patients a year at FNUSA. “This is a very safe method that uses the application of a low-intensity direct current to the affected area. Electrodes are applied to the patient’s problem area through water-filled gauze, through which a low-intensity electric current is applied,” described Nečas.

The results of the therapy usually appear after just one to three weeks of use, and the effect lasts for several weeks or months. After that, it is enough to repeat the therapy, which will prolong its effects again. The method is contraindicated in patients with pacemakers, metal implants, and pregnant women.

Excessive sweating can also be solved by botox application or surgery. “At our department we perform thoracoscopic thoracic sympathectomies, which have an almost immediate effect, especially in cases of excessive sweating of the upper limbs. Every year we operate on about 10 to 15 patients with this problem,” said Dr. Michal Reška, head of the First Surgical Clinic of the Faculty of Medicine and at the Prague Medical University. The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. Using a camera inserted into the chest cavity, the desired nerve structure is located and severed. “Since it is also a minimally invasive procedure, the postoperative course is usually uneventful,” added the surgeon.

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