Everybody sweats, but do we know about hyperhidrosis?
And why do we find excessive sweating so embarrassing?
Have either of you ever heard of hyperhidrosis?
- No. - No.
No? Can you guess what it is?
Too much of something.
Show us your armpits. Any sweat patches?
- Hidrosis, water. Logged. Waterlogged. - So a condition... Excessive sweating.
I actually haven't heard of hyperhidrosis before. What is it?
It's excessive sweating, way beyond what we consider to be the norm.
Up to about five times the norm.
The hands, the feet and the axilla, underarm, are the most common places.
The face, the head, the groin, the back, the chest also sometimes,
but they're not as common.
- Do you sweat? - Do I what?
I sweat a lot, actually.
I can look as if I've come out of a swimming pool. I sweat from my head.
Do you suffer from sweating at all?
- All the time. - All the time?
- Does it embarrass you at all? - No, not really. Everybody sweats.
- Occasionally at night. - At night time?
I do dance a lot so we sweat a lot.
People just sweat when they're exercising. That is not hyperhidrosis.
It affects people in everything they do. You can probably imagine.
If you work with paper and have hyperhidrosis of your hands,
it's a big problem.
People who have hyperhidrosis of the feet,
they rot shoes within weeks.
People who have hyperhidrosis of the axilla tend to only wear black or white.
One of my good friends has it and he suffers from it.
- So what happens to him? - Basically he sweats all the time.
People assume that you're unhygienic
if they see sweat patches on your clothes.
He'd put a shirt on and a minute later he'd be sweating already.
It would be a real hassle in everyday life,
your clothes becoming wet.
- My brother has very sweaty feet. - Really?
Yes. They do tend to pong a bit.
A lot of people associate excessive sweating with body odour, BO.
Hyperhidrosis does not contain body odour.
Often people just sweat excessively but there is no smell with it.
Do you think sweating equals smelling?
I think naturally you sweat, it doesn't really smell.
If you didn't sweat, that would be a far greater problem than sweating too much.
What are the causes of hyperhidrosis?
How come some people are affected and others aren't?
It affects about one per cent of the population
and 30 per cent of people who have it,
they have a genetic disorder,
one member of their family tends to have it.
I always carry a mini deodorant in my handbag
so I'd probably have a squirt in the toilets.
Stick your armpit under the hairdryer.
What would you do if your hands were sweating all the time and didn't stop?
I would go and see a doctor, I suppose. Definitely.
It's going to make writing complicated and driving complicated.
I've seen about injections you can have.
I don't know. What could I do?
But the first line of treatment that most people tend to go for
is a specialist antiperspirant, an aluminium chloride antiperspirant.
There are three different types and they can be bought in any chemist.
If this doesn't work, what is the next option?
For most patients, if they failed the antiperspirants, and many do,
they have a secondary referral to a hospital
and they have iontophoresis treatment
for hand, feet and axillary hyperhidrosis.
It's a super treatment. It's not painful.
It works for most people.
Patients can then buy their own little home kit.
They can give themselves a treatment once a week at home.
It changes lives.
If that doesn't work, is there anything else people can do?
Botox, botulinum toxin A, is registered in this country
for treatment of hyperhidrosis of the axilla.
Most people find it's a very good treatment,
but unfortunately privately it's very expensive.
Would you go to such extreme measures as having surgery to help stop it?
That does seem a bit extreme.
There are three types of operation here,
only one available on the NHS, called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy.
It is major surgery and we don't recommend it
unless people have tried all other options first
because there are side effects from it.
As soon as everyone realises that we're not all perfect, not at all,
I think the happier everyone would be.
The more people understand and recognise the problem, the better.
There's lots of people out there with the condition
and there are lots of things that can help.
Come to us and we'll show you.