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Your Teen

Excessive Sweating in Teens

2:00

Sweating is a natural function of the body. It helps cools you down when you overheat and expels toxins to prevent toxic overload. But Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating,) is not only embarrassing; it may also indicate an underlying health problem.

Underarm problems tend to start in late adolescence, while palm and sole sweating often begins earlier, around age 13 (on the average). Untreated, these problems may continue throughout life.

Excessive sweating can stain clothes, impact relationships and complicate social interactions. A recent study noted that 70 percent of teens reporting excess sweating said it interfered with their daily living activities.

Adelaide A. Hebert, MD, chief of pediatric dermatology at the University of Texas, Houston, said during a presentation to the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting, that it is time medical schools pay more attention to it.

“These kids have often seen a number of physicians who really haven’t taken this clinical condition to heart,” Hebert said.

“They don’t know what to do, so they tell the kids not to worry. The kids just don’t get the answers that will be beneficial to them, so educating physicians is key.” Hebert said that global medical education devotes virtually no time to the study of hyperhidrosis in adolescents.

Children, especially teens, normally sweat when:

  • It is hot
  • Eating spicy foods
  • Exercising
  • They are angry, anxious, or nervous
  • They have a fever

However, there are a number of medical conditions that can cause excessive sweating, including:

  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Infections
  • Heart failure
  • Medication side effects
  • Drug withdrawal

How do you know if your teen has a problem with excessive sweating? If your teens’ sweating interferes with his or her daily activities, has become barely tolerable, or seems much heavier than his or her friends doing the same activities, you should talk with your pediatrician or family doctor.

For example, your teen will likely be sweating while playing volleyball, but it shouldn't be so severe that sweaty palms interfere with his or her holding the ball.

Treatments that may help control excessive sweating include over-the-counter antiperspirants as well as prescription antiperspirants, such as:

  • A regular over-the-counter antiperspirant -- use it both in the morning and the evening for best results
  • A newer over-the-counter antiperspirant, such as Secret Clinical Strength (Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex) or Hydrosal Professional (Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate 15%)
  • An over-the-counter antiperspirant, such as Certain Dri, with Aluminum Chloride 12%
  • A prescription strength antiperspirant, such as DrySol, with Aluminum Chloride 20%, or Xerac AC, with Aluminum Chloride 6.25%
  • Anticholinergic medications -- although because of their side effects, such as dry mouth, constipation, and drowsiness, they are more helpful for generalized hyperhidrosis, and not teens who just have sweaty palms or excessive armpit sweating

Although the effect is only temporarily, Botox works to block a neurotransmitter that stimulates sweat glands, leading to a decrease in sweat production for 6 to 7 months.

Excessive sweating can cause teens a lot of emotional distress that continues into adulthood. Starting early with a diagnosis and treatment may prove valuable throughout his or her lifetime.

Story sources: Vincent Iannelli MD, https://www.verywell.com/excessive-sweating-and-control-for-teens-2634358

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hyperhidrosis2#1

Whitney McKnight, http://www.mdedge.com/pediatricnews/article/132710/pediatrics/physicians-need-take-hyperhidrosis-teens-seriously

 

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