PatientsLikeMe members with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have talked a lot about excessive sweating (aka hyperhidrosis) and heat intolerance with Parkinson’s disease. It can be a “stinker,” as one blogger who has PD recently shared in Parkinson’s News Today.
Can you relate? Read on for more information and some possible adjustments or life hacks that others have tried.
One study found that over 60% of patients with PD experience sweating disturbances like hyperhidrosis (over-secretion of sweat) or hypohydrosis (under-secretion of sweat, which is less common).
The Parkinson’s Foundation and Parkinson’s Victoria cover these issues in their guides to skin, scalp and sweat changes related to PD. In addition to hyperhidrosis, many people with PD experience an extra-oily scalp (or other parts of the body), drenching night sweats and general difficulty with temperature control.
Some of these problems may stem from PD itself, which affects some of the body’s automatic functions, such as blood pressure and temperature regulation.
Possible solutions and hacks
Maria De Leon, M.D., a neurologist with young onset PD, writes on her blog that she understands firsthand the impact that sweating (and related body odor) issues can have on people’s lives. A few things you can try? Dr. De Leon suggests:
- Talking with your doctor about possible levodopa treatment adjustments and even other treatments that may help, such as propranolol (see what PatientsLikeMe members with PD report about propranolol)
- Taking lukewarm showers or baths
- Wearing lightweight cotton clothes
- Drinking extra fluids, especially water
- Using antibacterial soap to help prevent body odor, and thorough towel drying before getting dressed
- Trying clinical or “industrial” strength antiperspirant/deodorants. Dr. De Leon says these “work best if you apply at night before bed time not after showering or will wash off; it takes 6 to 8 hours for antiperspirants to enter sweat ducts and properly clog pores plus the body is cooler at night. But do reapply at least once during the day.”
Elsewhere online, people with hyperhidrosis recommend wearing solid dark colors or clothes with prints to help camouflage sweat marks, using underarm sweat pads, wearing leather shoes to help stave off odor, and bringing a small towel and a spare shirt just in case. A New York Magazine writer with hyperhidrosis (but not PD) rounded up his favorite products for over-perspiration.
Talk with your doctor about any skin- or sweat-related issues you’re experiencing. Dr. De Leon says that anxiety, thyroid problems or other health conditions can also cause or add to excessive sweating.
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