Sweaty palms are also known as palmar hyperhidrosis. Excess sweat production in any part of the body is simply called hyperhidrosis. When the condition affects the hands, it really only occurs in about 1% of the population, but that 1% can suffer if the hands sweat dramatically, and sweaty palms could affect social behavior (especially handshakes). There are fortunately several treatments that may minimize or correct the condition.
Many of the treatments for sweaty palms are not cures. They need to be applied or taken on a continuous basis in order to remain effective. One of these is applying antiperspirant to the hands, but this has drawbacks because it remains on the hands. Another product applied to the hands, which can be washed off in the morning is Drysol® or aluminum chloride hexahydrate. This is available by prescription, and it is typically used at night before sleeping. It doesn’t have to remain on the hands during the day.
A lot of people find that Drysol® yields excellent results. It helps to reduce sweaty palms about 80% of the time. The medication cannot be used by all people, however. It is contraindicated in pregnancy, since it may potentially cause birth defects. It may have interactions with other medications too.
There are oral medications, which have been shown to reduce palmar hyperhidrosis too. Some of these are sedatives or older class antidepressants and may have drowsiness as a principal side effect. Other medications can block either sweat production or the communications between nerves and sweat glands. Objections to medications that lower sweat response is they may reduce sweating everywhere and if sweaty palms are the only sweat dysfunction issue, then the body could sweat too little elsewhere.
Another potential treatment of sweaty palms is called iontophoresis. This involves using a device twice a day that delivers electric shocks to the palms. The treatment period lasts for several weeks, and some people find it unbearable because it can be painful. There’s also scrutiny as to whether this treatment is very effective. It usually has to be repeated about a month later because the effects don’t last.
Other people opt for Botox® injections which may reduce sweating. These will have to be repeated too since Botox® gradually wears off. However, effects can last for several months.
Thus far, none of the treatments mentioned are a long lasting cure of sweaty palms. More aggressive methods that might end this condition involve surgeries of varying kinds. Some surgeries damage the nerves that produce sweat impulses and others remove sweat glands that are causing the problem. A specialist with significant experience in this area should perform any surgery. Putting and end to sweating palms is not a good trade off if the hands are significantly scarred or damaged as a result. In capable hands, however, surgery has about a 90% chance of curing the condition.