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February 2018 (Vol. 28 Issue 11)

Excessive perspiration

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A 44-year-old woman has had a problem with excessive perspiration all her life

A 44-year-old woman has had a problem with excessive perspiration all her life. She doesn't suffer from body odour - only sweating - particularly on the face and under the arms. Supermarket anti-perspirants don't seem to work. Is the problem hormonal, and if so, is it likely to disappear with menopause? She is loath to have an operation and is searching for an alternative or dietary remedy. You're right to be wary of an operation for this condition, says one man who underwent surgery 20 years ago and suffered five years of postoperative pain. He no longer perspires on the face or under the arms; instead, he perspires excessively in the groin and legs. He believes this complaint is brought on more by stress and anxiety than any medical reason, finding that if he composes himself it stays under control. As for anti-perspirants, search your local health food store or enlightened supermarket for the herbal variety - these will contain ingredients like aloe, lichen and coriander. Cornstarch or colloidal oatmeal powder can also be applied to great effect, absorbing excess wetness. And some of the latest fabrics have amazing moisture-wicking properties, though good old cotton is hard to beat. Be sure to work on your breathing through controlled exercises, yoga, and meditation (it's amazing how well the mind can control the body, though it does require patience and persistence). Finally, get allergy tested, as excessive perspiration is one of the body's ways of rapidly ridding itself of substances it cannot tolerate.


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