Don’t let excessive underarm sweating ruin your life
Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic doctor, liposuctionist)
Templestowe Lower, Berwick and Beaumaris Clinics
Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2005, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. Read More
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Have you noticed excessive underarm sweat? Do you notice stains on your clothes and the amount of antiperspirant you need to frequently apply? Excessive underarm sweating (also called axillary hyperhidrosis) affects millions of people everyday. This medical condition can be permanently treated without using chemicals or undergoing surgery.
What causes excessive sweating?
Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) is a condition that is characterised by perspiration in excess of the normal needs of the body.
Primary hyperhidrosis occurs without any underlying reason, and can lead to excessive sweating in the underarms, palms, feet, scalp and face. Most patients with primary hyperhidrosis have an associated family history. If you have primary hyperhidrosis you will sweat on both sides of your body and experience it more during the day than night. It is estimated that 3% of the population, between 18 to 54 years experience primary hyperhidrosis.
Secondary hyperhidrosis occurs because of an underlying medical condition that includes:
- Endocrine disorders,
- Metabolic disorders,
- Neoplastic diseases,
- Neurological conditions,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Cardiovascular disorders,
- Respiratory disorders,
- Anxiety and stress.
Secondary hyperhidrosis requires treatment of the underlying cause or problem.
How to effectively treat excessive sweating in the underarms
Primary hyperhidrosis can be treated with topical treatments, iontophoresis (not performed at Victorian Cosmetic Institute), oral medication (anti-cholinergics), anti-wrinkle injections, miraDry and surgery. We usually start treatment with the least invasive measures and if there isn’t sufficient improvement, progress the treatment.
The first line of treatment for palm and underarm sweating is usually anti-perspirants. An over the counter brand of aluminium chloride (Driclor) is effective at blocking and eventually destroying sweat glands. We suggest it is applied at night and washed off in the morning. As sweating decreases over time, it can be used less frequently. It is important to note that some patients experience irritation when using Driclor. Hydrocortisone (1%) can reduce this irritation.
Anti-cholinergic medication is another way we can non-invasively treat your hyperhidrosis. This medication affects the part of the autonomic nervous system responsible for sweating. It’s important to note that this medication isn’t selective for sweating. Side effects can include:
- Dry mouth,
- Urinary retention, and
- Blurred vision.
Anti-wrinkle injections are based on an inhibitor that relaxes your muscles. We know now that anti-wrinkle injections can treat much more than frown lines, crow’s feet, reduce chin dimpling and even narrow a wide face. Anti-wrinkle injections have been widely used for the treatment of primary hyperhidrosis, especially in the underarms, face and scalp. It can also be used in the palms and feet, but is very painful to inject in this area and may require some form of anaesthesia and analgesia
miraDry uses a precise amount of electromagnetic energy to destroy the sweat glands located in the armpit to radically reduce odour and sweating in this area. Because your underarm sweat glands are only 2% of the body sweat glands, eliminating them will not affect your body’s ability to regulate temperature. The miraDry treatment is fast and involves minimal discomfort with no downtime required after it.
Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy surgery is generally the last step to improve excessive sweating. The nerves that cause sweating are surgically disrupted, resulting in reduced sweating in the underarms, feet and upper limbs. We do not perform this treatment at Victorian Cosmetic Institute.
How anti-wrinkle injections can treat sweating
Anti-wrinkle injections prevent excessive underarm sweating by stopping the nerve signal to the sweat glands in the area. Before we inject the wrinkle injections, we may perform a Minor’s starch-iodine test. This involves placing iodine on your underarm area and waiting for area to sweat. To highlight the sweaty areas, we place starch over the iodine. We then treat the highlighted black sweaty areas with anti-wrinkle injections.
How miraDry permanently treats excessive underarm sweating
The miraDry excessive sweating underarm treatment is the only non-invasive technology to provide lasting results for underarm sweat without using injections, chemicals or undergoing surgery. While two procedures are recommended 3 months apart, many patients only need to have one procedure.
The benefits of the miraDry procedure include:
- Dramatic reduction of underarm sweat
- Immediate and lasting results
- Minimal to no downtime after treatment
- Non-invasive and toxin-free
The miraDry system uses the exact amount of electromagnetic energy via a handheld device to the underarm sweat glands to eliminate them. This energy is directed below the skin surface into the sweat glands. While the sweat glands are destroyed by thermolysis (a heating process) the surface of the skin stays comfortable and cool. Sweat glands in your underarms will not regenerate after the miraDry system. After the first miraDry procedure, most patients can expect to see a reduction of up to 82%.
To make the miraDry treatment as comfortable as possible, we administer a local anaesthetic prior to treatment. After the miraDry treatment, patients can resume their regular activities. In some cases strenuous exercise may need to be restricted for a few days. While complications from the miraDry treatment are rare, some patients report swelling, discomfort and numbness of the underarm area. It is important to note that miraDry is only used to treat excessive sweating in the underarm area – it cannot be used to treat primary hyperhidrosis in any other body areas. Book a miraDry consultation in by phoning us on 1300 863 824.
Treatment in Melbourne
Since 2005, we have helped thousands of people with excessive sweating by using anti-wrinkle injections and miraDry. It is important to note that hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that needs to be assessed by doctors. Led by Dr Gavin Chan, our highly trained and experienced Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses will provide a full medical assessment of your condition, and then advise the appropriate treatment. To find out how we can help you book a consultation on 1300 863 824 or Book your your consultation online here.