"I remember having to fold paper to place under my palms so when I wrote I didn't sweat onto the paper. I never wanted to raise my hand for fear someone would see rings of sweat under my arms. I thought I was a freak because none of my other friends had palms that dripped. At 31 I spoke to my doctor about it. He said, “oh you have hyperhidrosis” Wow there is a name for this? It is a medical condition? Life began for me at that moment." Sophia is now an invaluable volunteer for the IHHS and contributes actively on our Facebook page. Read More
"I could really use some help. I have sensitive skin, and Drysol is absolutely killing me. I quit using it for a year after I developed a horrible rash on my underarms which led to scarring, but I started using it again because it has been the only thing that keeps me dry. The same irritation and rashes are occurring again. They are quite painful, and I'm very close to just throwing the Drysol away. What are my options? At this point I'd try anything."Read More
"Today i went to the doctor and he told the best and only way to treat sweaty palms was the surgery. He said that botox hurts A LOT and iontophoresis was a waste of money...Now i am really in doubt, I've looked for another 3 doctors already and only 1 of them told me not to do the surgery. i really wanna do it, but im afraid of regreting it later. What should I do?"Read More
"My entire life I have been carrying around a towel to dry my wet sweaty hands. I see couples who hold hands on the street and have a family. For as long as I can remember I've been praying this to be possible for me. I wish this more than winning the lottery. This would be a dream come true. Can you help?"Read More
"Since I was 10 I sweat in my palms and pits. I had sweat marks all the way to my waist! At 14 I got ETS surgery. It stopped the sweating in my palms, but a year later the underarm sweating returned, and I started to suffer from severe compensatory sweating all over--abdomen, back, chest, butt, thighs, and feet. It completely ruined my life. I totally regret the surgery and wish I had never done it. Botox and iotophoresis help, but just on certain areas. The thing is, it doesn't stop the problem--the rest of my body stays the same: Dripping sweat. Now what?" Read More
"I've know for awhile I have hyperhidrosis but it wasn't until 2010 my Dr. actually diagnosed it. He did nothing about it or said nothing about it -- except "some people just sweat alot." Not like this they F don't I said. I was so angry about his offhand casual comment, as if to say yeah so what! It runs down my back like a highway, right down my tail, soaks my clothes, down my legs into my socks. This IS a disease. It affects me EVERY day."Read More
"Treating hyperhidrosis leads to a greater improvement of a patient's quality of life than treatment of any other dermatologic condition." David Pariser, MD International Hyperhidrosis Society Co-founder, Board Member and Secretary, American Academy of Dermatology President 2009.Read More
"I've had hyperhidrosis since the seventh grade and I'm a junior now. It gets really hard for me in social settings. I love to dance salsa, and that involves hand to hand contact and my hands sweat sooo much. Also my feet--I can hardly wear heels because my feet slip and slide so much. My self esteem is slowly reaching the pits. Going out with friends involves pre-meditation, and an action plan if I start having a sweating episode. I feel so incompetent. Little things like when people say "High five!" bring me down cause I am so embarrassed. This is destroying me."Read More
"I think I might have hyperhidrosis, but I'm not sure. I sweat a ton under my arms at school, and any other time I'm out in public. I could be outside in a blizzard in a T-shirt and shorts but still be sweating majorly from my armpits. I could be with Lauren (she's been my best friend for seven years, and I'm totally comfortable with her) and still sweat. I hide behind baggy hoodies, black tops, and never raise my hand in class in fear someone might see my secret. Should I talk to my mom about it? Should I go to a doctor?"Read More
"I sweat a lot on my face. My doctor said he can't do anything more as i have tried all the relavent medications. He's given up. This is depressing me as i feel i can not proceed higher in my work due to sweating. This is so embarassing! Please can you advise me what to do please."Read More
"For the first time, my son has dry hands. It's been weeks since my son had his hands treated and he still comes to me daily and says, "Feel! They're dry!" It's made such a positive impact. Thank you IHHS! We found help and hope at last." Read More
"I was basically walked out the door today due to hyperhidrosis. I was in disbelief because of my 4 years of service to an institution putting in one of the most complex computer systems ever designed. Now what?"Read More
"I have sweat running off of my scalp and down my face then dripping on the floor even if I just put laundry in the washer. It doesn't take much for me to sweat profusely and it doesn't stop until I sit in front of a fan with a towel. This is not something new for me, I have had this problem for at least 45 years. I have gone to a Neurolgist, a G.P., Gynecologist, Dermatologist, Endocrinologist and I just keep getting passed off to different doctors. Are there any doctors that can help me instead of telling me that I'm a woman and will just have to live with it?"Read More
No matter what's on the menu, do you sweat profusely when you eat? Or when you simply think about a meal? You may have a unique and distinct form of excessive sweating called gustatory hyperhidrosis or Frey's syndrome. This food-related sweating can be extremely embarrassing, but treatments are available. In fact, Botox injections have been used to provide up to two years of relief from gustatory sweating!
It's not uncommon to sweat when you eat hot or spicy foods. It just makes sense...if eating or drinking a specific food raises your body temperature, then your body will try to cool itself by sweating.
But some people sweat when they eat any kind of food (even ice cream) and some people sweat when they just think about food. Often called gustatory sweating or gustatory hyperhidrosis (and sometimes called Frey's syndrome), this food-related sweating can be extremely embarrassing and uncomfortable. Imagine yourself sweating excessively on your face and neck at a fancy restaurant while on a dinner date, or sweating as you wait for a business lunch to be served. Fortunately, treatment for gustatory sweating is possible, so don't throw away your Zagat's restaurant guide yet!
Many cases of gustatory sweating show up after surgery or trauma to a parotid gland. Most people have a pair of parotid glands, one located on each side of the face, below and in front of the external ear. The parotid glands are the body's largest salivary glands. Saliva, as you probably know, is a fluid secreted by salivary glands to aid chewing, swallowing, and digestion of food. Saliva is produced in preparation for eating (like when you are thinking about a delicious meal) as well as during chewing.
If a parotid gland is damaged or if surgery to a parotid is required (damage can occur due to inflammation, infection, and mumps, and tumors can require surgery) then related nerves may become damaged or may regenerate from such damage in a way that causes them to become "mixed up" and/or "intertwined" (so to speak). The result is that when a person is supposed to salivate, her or she may also sweat and experience facial flushing. This combination of sweating and flushing related to parotid trauma is called Frey's syndrome. Usually Frey's syndrome affects just one side of the face.
Gustatory sweating can also occur for no known reason (idiopathic) or related to another medical condition ("secondary hyperhidrosis" due to conditions such as diabetes, cluster headaches, Parkinson's, and facial herpes zoster or shingles). In these cases, the sweating is often experienced on both sides of the face and particularly on the temples, forehead, cheeks, neck, and/or chest, as well as around the lips. Redness and sweating may appear when an affected person eats, sees, thinks about, or talks about foods.
Gustatory sweating can be very distressing because the mere idea of food can make a patient's face drenched with sweat. And because much of life's business (friendships, romances, networking, and celebrations) is conducted at mealtime, gustatory sweating can have extensive social, economic, and emotional implications. Fortunately, there are treatments available and dermatologists can help. In particular, topical antiperspirants, and Botox injections have been shown to provide significant relief. According to Dr. David Pariser (founding Member and Secretary of the International Hyperhidrosis Society as well as 2009 President of the American Academy of Dermatology), Botox injections can provide "a couple of years" of relief from gustatory sweating. This is a much longer duration of effectiveness than is typically seen when Botox is used to treat other forms of hyperhidrosis. (Please note, Botox has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of gustatory sweating or Frey's syndrome so this is an "off-label" use of the medication. Off-label uses of medications are, however, very common.)
If you suffer from gustatory sweating, the first step is to try and figure out why. Your primary care physician can help you begin this process with a physical exam and thorough medical history. He or she may refer you to specialists if necessary.
Be sure to tell your doctor when and how much you sweat – Do some foods cause more problems than others? Where do you sweat? How much? How upset does this sweating make you? How does it affect your life and your relationships (at home and at work)? Do you sweat elsewhere on your body and at other times? Do you have other medical conditions? Have you ever had parotid surgery or mumps?
If your gustatory sweating is not due to another, treatable medical condition, then perhaps a dermatologist who specializes in hyperhidrosis is a good choice for "next steps." A dermatologist can help you decide if a topical treatment (antiperspirant) or Botox is appropriate to treat your unique case of hyperhidrosis.
Don't let another meal be ruined by sweat. You can get help for eating-induced sweating, and we are here to help.