Q My 12-year-old son has been having sweaty palms since he was young. I think his case is quite serious. He is very bothered by it and this affects his self-esteem and confidence.
He sweats more when he is nervous. At times, the perspiration will wet his school work and examination papers.
Can sweaty palms be cured? Please advise us on how we can improve his situation.
A Sweaty palms are not uncommon in both children and adults.
Various degrees of sweating affect people differently.
Most children can tolerate sweaty palms and go on with their daily lives without any problems.
It usually becomes a concern when it affects a child's schoolwork or it becomes socially embarrassing.
If your son tells you that he is bothered by it and it is affecting his examinations and self-esteem, you should consult a doctor who can help to alleviate his excessive palm sweating.
There are different modalities of treatment, depending on the severity of the sweaty palms.
There are topical anti-perspirants that are applied on the palms, iontophoresis where a low electric current is passed through a tray of water with the hands submerged in it, and a last resort would be to undergo surgery to cut the nerves supplying the sweat glands in the palms.
The last treatment is not routinely advised as it is a major and irreversible operation that can turn sweaty palms into very dry hands.
Dr Chan Poh Chong
Head and senior consultant in the division of general ambulatory paediatrics and adolescent medicine at the National University Hospital