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Medically, Frey syndrome is also known as gustatory hyperhidrosis or auriculotemporal syndrome. It was named after the Polish neurologist Lucja Frey (1889-1942), who first described the syndrome in 1923. Excessive sweating while eating and skin reactions on the face are noticeable symptoms of Frey syndrome.
When people chew, suck, or bite food, they start to sweat. Some of those affected also complain of skin reactions in the area of the face, especially the cheeks, such as individual redness or tingling. The symptoms create a high level of suffering in the patient.
The "gustatory sweating" is probably triggered by incorrect impulses of one or possibly two nerves (auriculotemporalis nerve or auricularis magnus nerve) that supply the affected area.
Symptoms often appear after removal of the parotid or parotid gland. However, Frey syndrome can also occur if another force is applied in the region of the facial nerves or if the nerves are paralyzed. It is believed that the surgical procedure, for example, affects nerve fibers of the involuntary nervous system, creates false networks and leads to misdirection. The normal stimulus of saliva production in the mouth, triggered by certain foods, then leads to reactions on the outside of the cheek.
Frey syndrome does not appear immediately after the operation, but only a few months later.
The syndrome is most successfully treated today with botulinum toxin injections (trade name Botox). Botox is injected under the skin to the areas that turn blue after an iodine starch test. This injection lasts for about a year and during this time, according to studies, Frey syndrome hardly ever occurs. Side effects are not expected, however the injection can be painful.
Alternatively, treatment with anticholinergics is also possible. Ointment is applied locally with scopolamine or an aluminum chloride solution. This treatment only helps very temporarily.
Surgically removing the tympanic nerve in the tympanic cavity, the cavity of the middle ear, is also a possible treatment option.
Sage has a sweat-reducing effect and may help relieve the symptoms of Frey syndrome. Sage is available in many forms on the market, for example as tea, tablets or drops. (tf, ok)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Schlereth, Tanja: Hyperhidrosis - causes and therapy of excessive sweating, Dtsch Arztebl Int, 2009, aerzteblatt.de
- Neumann, A. / Rosenberger, D. / Vorkach, O. / u .: Incidence of Frey syndrome after parotidectomy, ENT, Volume 59, Issue 2, 2011, link.springer.com
- National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD): Frey Syndrome (accessed: July 9, 2019), rarediseases.org
- Motz, Kevin M. / Kim, Young J .: Auriculotemporal Syndrome (Frey Syndrome), Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America, Volume 49, Issue 2, April 2016, sciencedirect.com
- Prattico, Francesco / Perfetti, Paola: Frey's Syndrome, The New England Journal of Medicine, 2006, nejm.org
ICD codes for this disease: G50ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.