It was around 7 in the evening when a young man walked into my clinic. He on entering my cabin greeted me with a smile. I wondered what problem could this young man have at this age. Before I could ask him, he started the conversation by telling me that he was suffering from a rare disorder of hyperhidrosis. He was also telling me that he had never come across any one in his family who is also suffering from the disorder that he is suffering.

This patient had visited many doctors for his problem of different streams but in vain with no signs of positive result in these many years. Some doctors straight away told him that there is no cure for this disorder and some although started treating him, they could not solve the issue at all.

What is hyperhidrosis?

Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) is a common problem, especially of the palms, armpits and soles. It can be distressing and can have a serious impact on your life. In some cases, affected people avoid social contact with others because of embarrassment about the problem. However, the condition is usually treatable.

What is excessive sweating?

Normal sweating helps to keep the body temperature steady in hot weather, during high temperature (fever), or when exercising. Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) means that you sweat much more than normal. Even when you are not hot, anxious, or exercising, you make a lot of sweat.

Excessive sweating is classified into three types (as follows). It is important to know which type you have, as the causes and treatments are very different.

Primary (idiopathic) focal hyperhidrosis

This means that excessive sweating occurs in one or more of the following focal places: palms of the hands; soles of the feet; armpits (axillae); face/scalp.

You sweat normally on the rest of the body. It tends to be symmetrical - that is, both palms, both feet, both armpits, etc, are affected. The exact cause is not known and it is not associated with any other conditions. (The word idiopathic means of unknown cause.) It just seems that the sweat glands in these areas are overactive or more sensitive than normal. In some people, it may run in the family so there may be some genetic factor involved in causing it. It usually first develops under the age of 25, but it can develop at any age. Men and women are equally affected. It is common and affects about 3 in 100 people.

The severity can vary from time to time. It may come and go and can be made worse by triggers such as anxiety, emotion, spicy foods, and heat. Anxiety about the sweating itself may make it worse. However, for most of the time, nothing obvious triggers the sweating. It tends to be a long-term condition, but symptoms improve in some cases over time.

If you have the typical symptoms of primary focal hyperhidrosis, you usually do not need any tests. Your doctor may suggest one or more treatments (below) if normal antiperspirants do not work well.

Secondary focal hyperhidrosis

This is uncommon. It means that the excessive sweating occurs in a particular focal part of the body. But, unlike primary focal hyperhidrosis, there is a known or likely cause. For example, a spinal disease or injury may cause sweating in one leg. Any focal sweating that is not symmetrical (that is, just in one hand, or one leg, etc) may suggest a secondary cause rather than primary focal hyperhidrosis which is usually symmetrical. Your doctor may suggest some tests to look for an underlying cause if one is suspected.

Generalised hyperhidrosis

This means that you sweat more than normal all over. This is less common than primary focal hyperhidrosis. However, it is usually caused by an underlying medical condition. A whole range of conditions can cause a generalised increased sweating. For example:

• Anxiety disorders

• Various heart problems

• Damage to nerves in the spinal cord

• Side-effects to certain medicines

• Various hormonal problems (including an overactive thyroid gland)

• Infections

• Certain cancers

After having a deep discussion with the patient I came to know that the person was having an anxiety of talking to new people and also was suffering from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). We started with the treatment and within 3 months of time the patient had improved to a desirable level. The sweating in his palms and feet had come down by almost 50%. The patient had also started overcoming from his OCD and anxiety. He was now able to face people with confidence.

This is the beauty of homeopathy. It was my work only to prescribe the medicine to the patient. With this case it had got more clear to me that there are no limitations to homeopathy and that there is a cure for any disease, it is only that the homeopath must be knowledgeable.

Homeopathy is helping many people in many ways. It is only that the people need to know that where other systems of medicines stop thinking, homeopathy starts acting. My system's aim is not just giving relief to the patient but administering a complete cure.