Iontophoresis is a treatment that is used for people with hyperhidrosis. If you have never heard about it before it may seem strange, maybe even a little bit scary, as it involves passing electrical currents through tap water and into your hands and/or feet. Just recently you may also buy pads for the underarms to treat those too, but it’s not recommended as it can cause irritation.
It is understood that minerals in the tap water work together with the electrical current, which together somehow block the sweat glands from producing sweat temporarily. It’s not fully understood exactly how it works, but it has been proven to work time and time again. You can also add baking soda or a solution called glycopyrronium bromide has been proven to produce better results than ordinary tap water. The baking soda option has been proven to increase the electrical current that passes through the water. This is used to enhance the effectiveness of water that is low in minerals. However, water that is extremely low in minerals is beyond saving and as a result the baking soda will do very little to increase the charge.
To check the quality of your tap water you would need to ring your water supplier. If you don’t want to do that and it seems as though the machine isn’t working as well as it could do, bottled water may contain enough minerals to create a stronger current, but that can’t be certain due to the different quality of bottled mineral water available.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, tap water is successful 83% of the time were people have experienced a complete cessation in sweat production in the hands and feet through using tap water alone (but the quality of a persons tap water varies town to town, city to city, and state to state). If your tap water doesn’t seem to be creating a strong enough current, try the baking soda option then the bottled water option. Also, by adding the glycopyrronium bromide solution you will see better results depending on the quality of the tap water.
To see successful results you’ll need to follow this treatment through every other day for around 40-60 mins if you’re treating both the hands and feet. You do this for around 10-12 days until the sweating stops, then have maintenance sessions every 1-4 weeks depending on your situation. Preferably you want to go for an Iontophoresis machine that can treat all four extremities at any one time. If you value your free time that is!
Well, if you’ve done any shopping online for them lately you will very quickly see that these devices are not cheap. However, more often than not your medical insurance or your national health service will help with the costs, providing you have been diagnosed with Hyperhidrosis by a doctor. You may also rent an Iontophoresis machine from certain suppliers, in which case you’re given the opportunity to test to see if it’s right for you before you buy.
I’ve researched all avenues open to me for excessive sweating relief, and I actually have first hand experience of quite a few, Iontophoresis included. At first thought, sticking my hands in a bowl of electrified water seemed like a crazy idea, and not much was said about it online, not from real people anyway. The only advice I could find on Iontophoresis treatment was from the very people who were trying to sell their machines to me, so you can expect them to be perhaps a little biased. I went to my doctor and asked his advice and he recommended a certain manufacturer to me. I know, he may have received a commission based on the recommendation, but I trusted him a lot more than I trusted the sales copy on any product site, so I went with his recommendation. Luckily enough my medical insurance said they’d cover the full costs, and I got the machine within a week.
Shortly after starting the treatment I noticed that I was experiencing some of the common side effects such as a dry mouth and throat. I also experienced what can only be described as burning on the wrists and bottom of the ankles, and the usual sensation of pins and needles throughout the palms and soles of my feet. I reduced the burning sensation though by rubbing on Vaseline. After that I didn’t have any issues with burning at all.
After my initial 12 days treatment I’d only noticed a slight decrease in the amount of sweat from my hands and feet. Baking soda was recommended to me to increase the current passed through the water, so I tried that for 4 more sessions and I saw much better results.
After the 8 initial sessions the sweating from my hands and feet reduced significantly, but it never stopped completely. Glycopyrronium bromide added to the water has produced better results for me personally, but everyone is different. When you add glycopyrronium bromide to the water, you can’t take part in any intense physical exertion for 24 hours after use as it prevents the body from regulating its temperature. So try to stay clear of the gym for a day (I know, that’s hard right!) At the moment I use the machine every 2 weeks along with a prescription strength antiperspirant every 5 days.
As I’ve said, from using Iontophoresis alone I don’t see a cessation in sweating, but what I do see is a drastic improvement in the amount I sweat. I currently use baking soda with the water (as the water quality is poor where I’m from) and also the glycopyrronium bromide solution. I’ve seen a complete cessation in sweat when I use prescription antiperspirants such as Drysol along with Iontophoresis, however when each is used without the other, I’ve found that my hands and feet still sweat. From my experience I have to say that antiperspirant alone wasn’t as effective as Iontophoresis was when used alone for sweaty hands and feet. So if I had to say which one was better for the treatment of hand and feet sweat, then Iontophoresis is the clear winner in my opinion!
Iontophoresis has been proven to have an 83% success rate using tap water alone, which is really something that you can’t ignore. It may seem strange, and the machines can cost big bucks depending on where you buy and whether or not you’re covered by medical insurance or national health service, but Iontophoresis is a treatment that you should definitely give a go! The number of positive responses online just can’t be ignored in my view. Just be sure to speak to a doctor first so that he/she can discuss with you your options and of course give you your diagnosis and prescription.
Click here to find out more about the various hyperhidrosis machines available. And also be sure to check out some of the prescription strength antiperspirants that you can buy to compliment your Iontophoresis treatment. If you suffer from underarm sweating then you should look into excessive sweating antiperspirants first as it’s often a more successful method for that area and they cost considerably less than an Iontophoresis machine.