For many patients with hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating has a highly negative effect on their lives and can be socially paralyzing. They’re afraid to shake hands in social situations. They worry about clothing being soaked through at inappropriate times. Thankfully, hyperhidrosis patients now have options.
Thoracoscopic sympathectomy is often the ideal solution for excessive palmar (hand) sweating, as it eliminates the problem through a procedure in which the nerve chain responsible for excessive sweating is cut. The surgery is minimally invasive, and most patients return home within hours after the procedure.
However, despite all the benefits, it is important for anyone considering this procedure to be aware of the potential side effects, including one of the most common: compensatory sweating.
What Is Compensatory Sweating?
Compensatory sweating is perspiration that can take place on the back, abdomen, and legs after thoracoscopic sympathectomy. While the hands stay dry, which is the main goal of the operation, other body parts may experience new sweating. In recent years, surgical techniques have improved to reduce overall post-operative complications, but anyone undergoing this procedure should still be prepared for compensatory sweating to some degree. For the vast majority of patients, the condition is mild. However, about 3-5% of patients experience more severe compensatory sweating and, unfortunately, it is impossible to predict exactly who will experience this side effect.
In general, most patients find compensatory sweating to be a worthwhile tradeoff to stop the negative physical and psychological effects of living with hyperhidrosis, especially palmar hyperhydrosis. It should be noted that in patients who do experience compensatory sweating, the degree of sweating most often decreases with time.
How To Reduce Compensatory Sweating
If you do experience compensatory sweating after your thorascopic sympathectomy, there are several things you can do to try to reduce the effects. One way to minimize sweating is to stay physically fit. Maintaining an ideal body mass index (BMI) will make it easier for your body to regulate its temperature and less likely to rely on excessive sweating as a way to cool off. An ideal BMI is generally considered to be somewhere between 18.5 and 24.9.
Another way to control sweating is to avoid certain foods and substances. For some, spicy foods such as hot sauce might cause sweating, while for others, substances like caffeine and alcohol can be a cause. Identifying and eliminating the triggers that cause excessive sweating can help you avoid unwanted compensatory sweating as well.
If excessive sweating becomes a problem for you after your thorascopic sympathectomy, you might also want to look to your wardrobe for solutions. Loose, breathable fabrics such as wool or cotton help your body get the air it needs to stay cool. For the gym, you should look into fabrics that pull moisture away from the skin.
A final way to cut back on unwanted compensatory sweating is to reduce stress. Exercise has the double benefit of both improving your physical fitness and helping you feel more relaxed, which will ultimately make you less likely to experience compensatory sweating throughout the day.
Contact a Hyperhidrosis Expert
As with any medical procedure, thorascopic sympathectomy carries the risk of side effects. The most common of these side effects is compensatory sweating. For a small percentage of patients, compensatory sweating can be disruptive. But for the vast majority, it is a worthy tradeoff to overcome the symptoms of hyperhidrosis and finally feel free from the discomfort of excessive sweating and the anxiety over what other people will think.
Ultimately, the choice is up to the patient as to whether or not the procedure is worth it. But if you are considering thorascopic sympathectomy and looking for a Los Angeles hyperhidrosis surgeon, the best thing to do is contact one of our experts and schedule a consultation where you can talk to a professional. Call today at (888) 349-1398 or fill out our contact form online.
Next, read about other treatments for hyperhidrosis.