Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic physician, liposuctionist)
Templestowe Lower and Berwick Clinics
Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2004, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction, fat transfer, skin needling, and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections.
There are a number of treatments for hyperhidrosis.
- Aluminium chloride (topical medication) -usually used for underarm sweating.
- Iontophoresis – regular treatments, placing affected area in electrically charged water/sodium glycopyrrolate
- Anti-cholinergic medication – suited to those who sweat in several areas
- Anti-wrinkle injections – injections used normally for facial wrinkles can be injected in areas such as the underarms/hands/feet. The average duration of effect is 8 months
- miraDry – a permanent treatment for underarm sweating using microwave energy
- Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (surgery) – an operation to that destroys a portion of the sympathetic nerve trunk to stop problems such as sweating, and facial flushing.
Hyperhidrosis is defined as sweating in excess of the normal needs of the body. There can be underlying medical problems causing this in some cases, and it needs to be investigated by a doctor.
At Victorian Cosmetic Institute we specialise in the use of anti-wrinkle injections and miraDry for the treatment of excessive sweating in the armpits, hands and feet.
What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a condition that is characterised by sweating or perspiration in excess of the normal needs of the body.
It is classified as either primary or secondary hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis is not due to any particular underlying reason, and can result in excessive sweating in the palms, feet, underarms, face and scalp. There is usually an associated family history. Sweating usually affects both sides, and is less at night than during the day. Secondary hyperhidrosis is a result of an underlying medical condition such as infection, endocrine disorders, metabolic disorders, neoplastic diseases, neurological conditions, spinal cord injuries, cardiovascular disorders, respiratory disorders, anxiety and stress. The treatment of secondary hyperhidrosis will require treatment of the underlying problem or cause.
The rates of primary hyperhidrosis are estimated at 3% of the population, the age group most affected is from 18 to 54 years.
How can hyperhidrosis be treated?
Anti-perspirants are usually the first line of treatment for underarm and palm sweating, but are not as useful in other areas. Driclor, a brand of aluminium chloride, blocks sweat glands and eventually destroys them. It is usually applied at night and washed off in the morning. In the long term, it can be used less frequently as sweating decreases. Irritation is a common side effect, and may often require the use of hydrocortisone 1% to reduce this. Driclor is available over the counter.
After application of anaesthetic cream, Minor’s starch-iodine test may be performed. This involves putting iodine on the area to be treated and allowing the area to sweat for a while. Starch is placed on the area and the sweaty areas highlight in black. These areas are then treated with the injections.
The hands can also be treated, and often only the dominant hand is treated (to avoid a wet hand shake). The dosage is variable in the hands, but usually requires around 50-100 units per hand. The face or scalp can be treated for excessive sweating with anti-wrinkle injections. There is the possibility that it will affect the muscles of facial expression also, and this may lead to unwanted changes in the muscles. The dosage for the face/scalp will depend on the size of the area treated. Feet are very difficult to treat with, anti-wrinkle injections and can often be unresponsive to even larger doses. The main difficulty with the treatment of feet with anti-wrinkle injections is the sensitivity of this area to injections and sedation may be required to do the procedure. Our Cosmetic Doctors commonly perform this treatment at Victorian Cosmetic Institute by our doctors.
Facial sweating can also be treated. Anti-wrinkle injections can be used in some areas, but because they also relax the muscles of facial expression, they cannot be used in all areas as they may affect one’s ability to express normally. They are effective for areas such as the upper lip and forehead in particular, and may have the added benefit here of reducing wrinkles in these areas if present. Alternately, topical agents can be used for facial sweating. We commonly recommend topical glycopyrrolate gel, which usually lasts for about 3 days with each application.
miraDry uses microwave energy to destroy the sweat glands located in the armpit to radically reduce odour and excessive 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. Miradry is a good option for those wanting a more permanent treatment. The miraDry treatment is done in clinic and involves minimal discomfort with no downtime required after it.
Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy is usually the final step in improving hyperhidrosis. By surgically disrupting the nerves that cause sweating (the sympathetic nervous system), this procedure is able to reduce sweating in the upper limbs, feet, or underarms. depending on the level of the nerve destruction. Facial flushing can also be treated with this procedure. Side effects from ETS surgery include a dilated pupil, a droopy eyelid, and compensatory sweating may occur in other areas. This treatment is not performed at Victorian Cosmetic Institute, but is performed by specialist surgeons.
How does miraDry permanently treat 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. 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.
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
While some patients report feeling localised swelling and/or soreness, this generally clears up in a few weeks. In rare cases, patients can experience short-term numbness in the underarm area or the skin of the upper arms.
At your initial consultation, our highly trained and experienced practitioners will discuss your suitability and expected outcomes of the miraDry excessive sweating treatment. Get more information about miraDry excessive underarm sweating treatment here.
Why should I choose Victorian Cosmetic Institute as my provider of hyperhidrosis treatment?
Making that first phone call can be a confronting task – many of our patients have preferred filling out our online enquiry form. We can then contact you with an understanding of the results you are hopeful of achieving and ensure the treatment is appropriate.
Otherwise, you can phone us directly on 1300 863 824.