Excessive armpit sweating also known as excessive axillary sweating is another part of the focal hyperhidrosis problem. Usually excessive armpit sweating comes together with palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis but also appears as a solitary location for excessive sweating. It affects those patients both on a social and functional level. Exact statistics are not known but it is a well spread problem. Obviously because it is a subjective issue there are different levels of excessive sweating. If a patient describes the sweating as dripping along their upper arms and soaking through their clothing then they can be described as suffering from excessive armpit sweating. Usually this problem starts in the late teens and can represent maturation issues but if it continues through the years it can be considered more of a chronic problem.
There are multiple and varied groups of antiperspirants available on the market. One can start with over the counter preparations and if those do not help then the next step should be the application of prescribed aluminum chloride lotions. They come in different strengths and in order to get those with 20% and higher there is a need for doctor prescriptions. Those preparations can cause some irritation and burning sensations but they should be tried.
Maxim - is available online and it has a neutral PH which might give a better tolerance to this preparation. Another product that can be obtained online is Sweat Block available at SweatBlock.com. Those antiperspirants are working on the same principal as Drysol. The difference could be in the concentration of the active ingredient which is aluminum chloride.
Botox - If those local antiperspirants do not help then the next option is to try Botox as a temporary but expensive solution. Those injections can help up to 3 - 4 months. Botox is well tolerated and almost painless. If one is looking for partial improvement, especially in the hot summer months then this may be a viable approach. One should keep in mind that the effectiveness of Botox can go down as repeated Botox injections are given. One might experience relief that can last 6 months and the second Botox injections will give between 4-6 months relief. Over time the time relief will be shortened. The reason for this is that our bodies are able to deactivate the active ingredients in the injection faster and hence shorter relief duration.
Surgical Options - Until about 1995 the surgical approach most commonly used was the excisional method. In this operation an elliptical excision of the armpit skin was carried out. A few varieties to this method existed but it was existed but it was associated with a relatively big scar and long healing times. However it never offered a 100% success rate.
Improved Surgical Method:
Since 1995 axillary suction currettage became the procedure of choice for the most effective treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive armpit sweating). In this procedure a mechanical force is applied to the subdermal layers of the skin (underneath the skin of the armpit) destroying as many sweat glands as possible. Other methods did come along such as the application of ultra sound, laser and energy treatments but they have yet to prove their effectiveness. To learn more about the surgical method we recommend you visit Dr. Reisfeld's Armpit Sweating page.
New miraDry Treatment:
For isolated excessive armpit sweating there is a new treatment approach which incorporates heat energy produced by microwaves which in turn destroys the sweat glands located underneath the skin surface. This treatment involves application of heat which is produced by microwaves and applied in steps to the armpit area. The whole procedure is done under local anesthesia and does not involve any surgery. The pain is very well controlled with local anesthetics and any amount of residual pain after the procedure is minimal to moderate and can be managed well with oral pain medications. Some minor swelling and local irritation can be expected for a matter of days not weeks. In some cases the procedure needs to be repeated once after 3-4 months’ time in order to very satisfactory results. The long term benefits of this procedure are not yet established.
Axillary hyperhidrosis is a well-known problem. Treatment options should start with conservative measures going on to surgical interventions. Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) is not recommended for those patients who are suffering only from excessive armpit sweating. Hyperhidrosis Surgical methods have improved to allow procedures for the different types of focal hyperhidrosis. It is always recommended that you discuss your options with a doctor who performs the procedure.
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