A lot of physiological functions in our bodies such as sweating are based on an electric gradient in between the nerves and the end organ (sweat gland). The idea of changing this gradient led to the production of certain machines that change this gradient. The iontophoresis machine or similar electrical devices are changing this gradient with the hope of slowing down excessive sweating. The scientific community does not fully understand exactly how this works however ideas about PH changes, ionic movements, etc are thought to play a role in this.
How do the Iontophoresis machines work:
Basically the machines are plastic pads immersed in small containers filled with tap water. A very low current will run through this water while the hands or the feet are placed within those containers. There are some specifically designed armpit devices that perform in similar fashion. One has to use these machines on a steady basis and it can range to once a day to once a week until effective treatment is achieved. Different levels of electricity is sometimes needed. Tap water can be replaced with anticholinergic solutions to increase the effectiveness of this treatment. There are several companies that produce these iontophoresis machine. Many can be found online.
Effectiveness of Iontophoresis:
Very few patients with severe cases of hyperhidrosis will show a definite cessation of this excessive sweating. Patients do develop resistance to different levels of the electric current. The higher the current is the more painful the treatment will be. There are no long-term clinical studies that show long-term benefits.
As one of the possible alternative methods for the treatment of excessive sweating Iontophoresis devices are worth trying. If results are not seen within two to four weeks other alternative methods should be tried before more advanced treatments such as surgery are contemplated.
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