Iontophoresis application – Table of contents
When is iontophoresis used?
Iontophoresis is used for excessive, pathological sweating on the hands (Hyperhidrosis palmaris), the feet (Hyperhidrosis plantaris), under the armpits (Hyperhidrosis axillaris) and occasionally on other parts of the body (e.g. sweating in the face, neck, thighs).
The diagnosis of hyperhidrosis is made by a dermatologist. The dermatologist can prescribe iontophoresis in the form of iontophoresis applications carried out in the practice – later on, if necessary, he can prescribe the special equipment for home use or recommend a suitable iontophoresis device for purchase.
Notes on the diagnosis of hyperhidrosis: Several qualitative and quantitative test methods, which primarily determine the extent and localization of hyperhidrosis, are available for the diagnosis. While qualitative test methods detect the areas where increased sweat production occurs, quantitative measurement methods can be used to determine the amount of sweat per time interval. These objective test procedures – together with a detailed medical history (in addition to the subjective sensation, the family history) – help the attending physician to determine the degree of hyperhidrosis and to select suitable therapies.2
- Iodine-strength test (also known as the minor test): The minor test enables the affected body area to be distinguished by colour using a special iodine solution: Potentially affected skin areas are brushed with it and then dusted with starch powder. Areas where excessive sweat production occurs turn brown.2
- Gravimetry: A special paper is applied to the affected skin area for a certain period of time. By measuring the difference between the weight of the test paper before and after, the amount of sweat per unit of time can be determined.2
Who can use iontophoresis?
If hyperhidrosis has been diagnosed, iontophoresis can theoretically be used without age restrictions. Although electricity and water are used, the therapy is completely harmless and painless if used correctly. Therefore, it is in principle also suitable for sensitive patients, children and elderly people.
However, the proper application of iontophoresis in children under 6 years of age is often difficult, as they can hardly understand the practical instructions. Of course, it is also not easy for them to keep still during the treatment period. This is one of the reasons why iontophoresis therapy for children under 6 years of age should only be carried out under medical supervision and never at home!
At any age, instruction by a specialist (usually the dermatologist) and subsequent correct operation is indispensable. Modern iontophoresis devices have treatment sequences stored in microchips to prevent incorrect operation.
The plate electrodes, which are placed in the baths to conduct the current, are nowadays often made of nickel-free material or even silicone. Therefore iontophoresis is also suitable for users with a metal allergy. For users with a chrome allergy, electrodes made of aluminium are available, and for some time now silicon/graphite electrodes have also been available.1
May not be treated:
- Patients with pacemakers (HSM, Pacemaker)
- Patients during pregnancy
- Patients with metal implants on/in the arms/legs to be treated (bone nails, endoprostheses)
- Patients with metal pessaries (diaphragms)
- Patients with osteoporosis or osteomalacia, as a so-called periosteal pain can occur
- Extensive wounds or injuries of the skin that cannot be covered
- Patients with chronic skin diseases, chapped skin, rashes etc.
- Children under 6 years (only under medical supervision)