Iontophoresis is a non-surgical treatment designed for people with excessive sweating in the hands or feet. One of the most appealing aspects of iontophoresis is that it can be performed at home. Many patients with moderate sweating symptoms have had great success with iontophoresis treatment and do not require an invasive sympathectomy or surgery.
The Hyperhidrosis Center of Excellence in Los Angeles is headed by Dr. Mahtabifard and Dr. Fuller, both of who are renowned thoracic surgeons who routinely treat patients for excessive sweating. Our team of specialists is committed to providing comprehensive, individualized treatment plans for each patient. For more information on alternative treatments for profuse sweating or to schedule a consultation with our doctors, contact us at (888) 349-1398.
How Does Iontophoresis Work?
Iontophoresis uses water to conduct a mild electrical current and deliver ionized matter through the skin’s surface. Though the exact process of sweat reduction is not fully understood, it is believed that the combination of electric current and mineral particles in the water microscopically thicken the pores in the skin to block the flow of sweat. Iontophoresis may also create a prolonged interruption of sweat gland function.
Using Iontophoresis for Excessive Sweating
During iontophoresis, patients sit with either their hands or feet immersed in a tray of tap water while the iontophoresis device creates a mild electrical current. The process takes about 30 minutes, and is repeated every two to three days until the desired dryness has been achieved. At this point, patients must maintain the dryness by undergoing an iontophoresis treatment about once every other week. The exact iontophoresis schedule may vary based on a patient’s location and severity of hyperhidrosis.
It is important for the water used during iontophoresis to have the desired amount of minerals. In some geographic locations, the tap water is too soft (lacking minerals and electrolytes). Soft tap water can be overcome by adding a small amount of baking soda, which provides electrolytes to the solution. Iontophoresis may be even more effective for some patients when adding hyperhidrosis medications containing anti-cholinergic agents (Robinul) to the water. The specific solution used for iontophoresis treatment should always be discussed with a hyperhidrosis treatment specialist, such as Dr. Mahtabifard or Dr. Fuller.
The adverse effects of iontophoresis are generally minimal. Excessive dryness or slight irritation of the skin is the most common complaint. Any cuts on the hands or feet should be covered with vaseline before starting a iontophoresis cycle to avoid skin irritation. Additionally, some patients experience a mild tingling sensation in the hands or feet during treatment, though the current is not strong enough to cause an electric shock.
People who meet the following criteria should not use iontophoresis, as doing so can increase the risk of side effects and complications:
- Women who are pregnant
- People with pacemakers or metal implants
- People with cardiac conditions or epilepsy
Contact a Sweating Expert in Los Angeles
At the Hyperhidrosis Center of Excellence, our team of thoracic surgeons take the time to examine the cause of each patient’s hyperhidrosis in order to develop the most effective treatment plan, be it Iontophoresis, Botox, or thoracoscopic sympathectomy. For more information on iontophoresis treatment or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mahtabifard or Dr. Fuller, please call (888) 349-1398 or fill out our contact form.
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