Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I sweat profusely, and no deodorant seems to help. What can I do?

There is a difference between someone who sweats profusely and someone with body odor - not everyone who's sweating will have body odor.

I sweat profusely, and no deodorant seems to help. What can I do?

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George Preti, Ph.D., Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia

First off, it’s important to note that deodorant and antiperspirants are two different products.

Secondly, I’d ask: have you gone to see a dermatologist?

Profuse sweating is clinically manageable if you see the right physician.

One of the more modern ways of treating this problem is through botox. Some people may like to try more traditional things, like prescription-strength antiperspirants. Many commercial antiperspirants will not stop the sweating because they’re not designed to do so.

A general practitioner can take a good history of your condition and recommend you to a dermatologist who works with more specialized methods.

 

Franziska Ringpfeil, M.D., Ringpfeil Advanced Dermatology, Haverford

There is a difference between someone who sweats profusely and someone with body odor - not everyone who’s sweating will have body odor.

However, to treat diffuse sweating, which may or may not be accompanied by body odor, there are systemic medications available. I recommend two different modalities of treatment. The first is biofeedback training. Often, people are sweating because of anxiety, and the body gets into a mode where it produces sweat. If you can control sweating with biofeedback, you don’t need any medications.

The other approach is medication that works to block the receptors that lead you to sweat from the inside. It reduces the responsiveness of the sweat glands, but doesn’t do anything about the mechanism that leads you to sweat in the first place. It has a few side effects - for example, it can make your mouth extremely dry because it also regulates other fluid-producing glands. It is, however, very effective.

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Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph. President, Institute for Safe Medication Practices
Daniel R. Hoffman, Ph.D. President, Pharmaceutical Business Research Associates
Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. Cardiothoracic surgeon in the Philadelphia area
Amy J. Reed, M.D., Ph.D. Anesthesiologist and Surgical Intensivist in the Philadelphia Area
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