What is iontophoresis?
Iontophoresis is the application of direct current.
can be used to
introduce substances through the skin, but in the treatment of
hyperhidrosis, the current alone is what is effective. This current is
applied through the submersion in water. The result with several
treatments is a reduction in excessive sweating. This is thought to be
caused by a plugging of the sweat pores.
What is hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis is a condition whereby the body produces sweat beyond
what is necessary to maintain a normal body temperature. When this
condition affects the hands or feet it is called palmer or plantar
hyperhidrosis. People affected by this problem suffer social
embarrassment and may be limited in some occupations where damp hands
may soil or damage products. (ie. paper, metal, electrical components)
Hyperhidrosis affects approximately 3% of the population.
are the treatment options for hyperhidrosis?
There are several ways to treat hyperhidrosis. Many of these treatments
are covered by medical plans. In order to find the best treatment for
you, speak to your dermatologist. Possible treatment options are as
- Topical treatments:
the application of aluminum chloride hexahydrate has been
shown in clinical studies to reduce swearing by approximately 50% for
mild hyperhidrosis sufferers.
iontophoresis is appropriate for people who suffer from hyperhidrosis
affecting the hands or feet. This application is not recommended for
underarm or head/facial hyperhidrosis.
- Botulinum toxin type A:
Botox injections are appropriate for moderate to severe
hyperhidrosis sufferers.Injection is done into the affected area and is
effective for as long as the nerve to the sweat glad is deadened.
Percentage reduction in sweating using this method was reported to be
83% in 95% of people studied. The average duration of effect is 7
months until symptoms recur.
- Surgery: this is a
last resort for people whose lifestyles are seriously affected by
hyperhidrosis and for whom other more conservative methods have failed.
iontophoresis for hyperhidrosis safe?
Iontophoresis as a method of introducing substances through the skin
has been performed since the 1930's. In 1952 is was found that a
therapeutic effect could be achieved without introducing substances
through the skin. The electric current alone was effective in reducing
sweating in 85% of people with hyperhidrosis. See contraindications
are the side effects of iontophoresis?
Side effects of iontophoresis are few:
or feet may occasionally become too dry resulting in cracks or
fissures. This can be relieved with the use of moisturizers.
- Redness of the skin is not uncommon, but occasionally hives
may form. This can be treated with a hydrocortisone cream.
are the contraindications of iontophoresis?
To ensure you are a suitable candidate for iontophoresis for
hyperhidrosis you must not:
- be pregnant
- have a cardiac pacemaker
- have cancer
- have swollen, broken, or inflamed skin on the areas to be
- have metal implants in the area to be
many treatments are required to treat hyperhidrosis?
Sessions last 20 minutes for hands, 40 minutes for hands and feet.
Research has shown that optimum results are obtained with 5
to 10 treatments administered every 2 to 3 days initially. After that,
frequency is dependent on how symptoms recur. Sometimes one treatment
every two weeks is enough to keep symptoms at bay.
The current can feel uncomfortable or itchy, but should not be
iontophoresis for hyperhidrosis cost?
Treatments at the Baywood Physiotherapy and Athletic Injury Centre
location in Ajax are as follows:
Hands or feet: $40 per visit
Hands and feet $60 per visit
successful is iontophoresis?
85% of individuals with hyperhidrosis will show improvement in their
iontophoresis covered by my insurance plan?
If your insurance plan covers physiotherapy, then iontophoresis is
covered at our clinic. Treatment is administered by a physiotherapist.
Stolman LP MD,FRCP(C) Treatment
of Hyperhidrosis Dermatologic Clinics Oct 1998;16(4):863-69.
Thomas I. Palmoplantar
hyperhidrosis: a therapeutic challenge. Am Fam Physician. Mar 1 2004;