Iontophoresis is a medical procedure whereby a device is used to deliver mild electrical current through water to an infected body part. The procedure is usually applied on feet, hands or armpits, and is aimed at stopping excessive sweating. The current delivered by the device isn’t strong enough to hurt you, and all you will feel is a slight tingling sensation. The treatment is mainly used for hyperhidrosis disorder which causes persistent sweating in people. It can also be used to treat hyperthyroidism or sports injuries since it can reduce swelling and pain. Iontophoresis is usually prescribed to people who have tried other pharmaceutical antiperspirants but have failed to see any results. Studies have shown that the treatment can reduce palmoplantar sweating, which is sweating in the hands and feet by up to 81 percent. It is a long-term solution to hyperhidrosis as long as a patient keeps to the treatment regimen.
How it Works?
Surprisingly, doctors do not know exactly how iontophoresis treats excessive sweating, but it is believed that the electrical current temporarily blocks a person’s sweat glands which in turns stops sweat from coming out. People who suffer from hyperhidrosis need to undergo iontophoresis sessions at least a few times a week preferably around 3. The sessions can last anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. Once sweating is seen to have reduced to a manageable level, the doctor can reduce the number of sessions in a week to up to 1 session. Unfortunately, once you have started the treatment, you will have to keep doing it if you want to keep the results.
When used to treat injuries such as sports injuries, anti-inflammatory medication is added to the water used in the procedure. This is thought to reduce pain as well as other soft tissue injuries. Doctors believe that iontophoresis treatment is effective in treating sports injuries because the current helps the skin absorb the anti-inflammatory medication easily. When treating injuries, the treatment is only used until an injury starts to heal. Injuries only require you to have a few sessions for only one week with each lasting for 5 to 10 minutes.
The procedure itself is safe and painless. Some people, however, may experience mild side effects after treatment such as drying of the skin, blistering, peel or irritation. The side effects are easily treatable and can be prevented by using moisturizer after the treatment. Petroleum jelly can also be used before the treatment to stop any irritation. Iontophoresis is also not advisable for people with heart conditions, epilepsy or have medical implants such as pacemakers.