The body regulates temperature by sweating. When our body heat increases, we sweat. And once sweat evaporates from the skin, the body feels cooler. Sweating is natural.
However, how do you stay cool when you're wearing a prosthesis? In most situations, sweat is unable to evaporate from the skin and instead begins to pool inside your prosthetic socket. The good news is that there are strategies that you can do to reduce the amount of sweat.
If you stay cool, you reduce your body's need to sweat. On a sweltering day, keep your blinds or curtains drawn. This prevents heat from the sun from overheating the room.
You can also eat smaller meals more regularly. Eating larger portions increases metabolic heat to break down food. And make sure to stay well-hydrated.
Wear breathable fabrics
One of the best ways to reduce sweating is by wearing light, breathable clothing. It allows more air to pass through the fabric, so you feel cooler and drier.
This tip is excellent for prosthesis users who require more energy to walk or move with a prosthetic limb—expending more energy results in more body heat, thus more sweat.
You can keep sweat under control inside your prosthesis with a breathable prosthetic sock, like the Knit-Rite Liner-Liner Prosthetic Sock. This prosthetic sock is designed to wick sweat and fight odor-causing bacteria.
Wash with a benzoyl peroxide cleanser
Although benzoyl peroxide won’t prevent sweat, it can reduce the embarrassing odor that comes with it. Body odor happens when sweat interacts with bacteria on the skin. You can kill odor-causing bacteria by washing the problematic area with a benzoyl peroxide cleanser. You can also target sweaty areas using skincare products with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA).
Prosthetic antiperspirants work by blocking the sweat ducts so sweat can't reach the skin's surface. The gland is still producing sweat; it won't get to the skin's surface with the antiperspirant.
You can apply prosthetic antiperspirant at night before bedtime. And again in the morning underneath your socks and/or liner. Using a prosthetic antiperspirant also ensures that the area is protected from too much friction leading to chafing.
You can try the Alps Prosthetic Antiperspirant Spray. It has twice the aluminum chlorohydrate found in other brands, preventing body odor, sweat rashes, prosthetic blistering, and chafing effectively.
If you feel that you are sweating excessively despite doing the tips above, you might want to consult with your physician to check if you have a condition called hyperhidrosis. There are several treatment options for this condition.
The first line of defense for hyperhidrosis is a prescription antiperspirant. If this doesn't work, your doctor might prescribe oral medication to block chemicals that enable specific nerves to communicate the need for sweat.
Anxiety also contributes to excessive sweating. If your doctor feels that anxiety is a huge factor in your issue, they may prescribe antidepressants.
Another option is Botox, which temporarily blocks the nerves that cause sweating. The injections typically last for six to 12 months.
In extreme cases, surgery might be on the table. Options include sweat gland removal and nerve surgery.
Which of these tips have you tried?