What is it about?
This is about treatment for excessive sweating of palms, armpits and soles, a physical condition known as Hyperhidrosis. It is not fully understood why this happens, therefore the condition is called ‘Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis’. However, three modalities of treatment have evolved over time, each having merits and demerits. These are as follows:
1. Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS): Through neurosurgery minute nerves in the neck that control sweat secretion in the palms are cut. However, often other neighboring nerves are also injured leading to a lack of sensation in the hands which cannot be reversed. Sometimes, excessive sweating starts to occur at other places of the body; a person has to live with this condition for the rest of the life. Therefore, this is not a recommended procedure.
2. Injecting Botox: Botox is derived from one of the deadliest poisons called ‘Botulinum toxin’. The remedy is not permanent and sweating recurs after for about 4 to 6 months when this injection has to be taken again. Apart from the very high cost of administering this injection, one does not know what would be the long term effect of the toxin, which has to be taken over the whole life.
3. Iontophoresis: Passing a mild electric current of specific pattern through the palms, soles or the armpits following specific protocols over 10 to 15 days, sweating becomes normal. This is again not permanent, sweating recurs after about a minimum of 06 weeks to a maximum of 06 months when the treatment has to be taken again, but for less number of days. In this way, through a regular routine of treatment, a person can lead a normal life. The equipment needed is not expensive and is safe, and the treatment can be taken at home by the sufferer. There is nothing to pay an expert.
Out of the above three modalities of treatment, Iontophoresis is the safest and easiest way of treating Hyperhidrosis.
Anti-Sweat is the brand name of an Iontophoresis device made by BiBEAT Ltd. in Bangladesh.
Product Design & Development History
Treatment of Hyperhidrosis using iontophoresis started in the 1940s. Since 1968, tap water iontophoresis has been employed as the method of choice for treating hyperhidrosis of palm worldwide. In 1991 a leading Bangladeshi Dermatologist Dr. Reza bin Zaid and Dr. Khondkar Siddique-e-Rabbani, presently retired professor of Biomedical Physics and Technology, University of Dhaka, worked together to design an iontophoresis device indigenously which went through a 2-year field trial at the then IPGMR (presently BSMMU) and BIRDEM resulting in success. This was then fabricated for distribution to patients and clinics with the brand name, ‘Anti-Sweat’. In the last two decades, more than a thousand people benefitted from using Anti-Sweat.
Following is a typical protocol for guidance. You may modify it and make up your own protocol, with experience.
• Initially, take stimulation every day for durations as mentioned above (20min+20min each limb).
• Continue taking the treatment until your sweating is normal. It may take 7 to 15 days, in some cases, even 20 days. If nothing happens within this period,
• For those having excessive sweating in both palms and soles, take treatment for palms only and observe. Soles of the feet have been found to be automatically cured in many subjects (not all) after taking treatment for palms only. You may try this first to see if it works for you.
Maintenance Treatment Protocol
• As mentioned earlier, this treatment is not permanent. Excessive sweating will recur after a certain remission period which varies from person to person. Usually, this remission period varies between two weeks and two months.
• Observe when sweating starts again. Start taking the treatment again when it happens. It might take less number of sessions now to achieve normal sweating.
• Remember the period of remission you got last. Next time on, start the treatment sessions a few days before sweating is supposed to recur. Then only one or two treatment sessions may be enough. Thus by trial, you will make a routine for yourself and find out the minimum number of treatment sessions that enable you to lead a normal life. If you start the maintenance treatment after excessive sweating has recurred, it may need more sessions of treatment.