Ask the Doctor: How Can I Stop Excessive Sweating Under My Arms?

The weather is finally warming up and the time will soon come for spaghetti straps, tube tops, sleeveless shirts and other cooling seasonal garments. It can be wonderful to strip down after months in coats and scarves – but it can also be anxiety-inducing if you’re one of the more than 7 million people suffering from a condition called axillary hyperhidrosis.

AH is a fancy term for excessive sweating from the armpits. Year-round, but especially in the summer, we get patients coming to our offices wondering how to stop sweating.

Fortunately, excessive sweating isn’t something you have to live with. There are numerous procedures available to stop the problem – for instance, we’ve had lots of success with miraDry. Read about the pros and cons of each method and see if one is for you.

What is Axillary Hyperhidrosis?

There are few people who haven’t experienced an unsightly underarm sweat stain on their favorite shirt. It’s usually just proof that your body is working as it should: Perspiration is evidence of your sympathetic nervous system working to get rid of excess heat, detoxify dissolved solids and maintain salinity in your body.

With AH, however, your body goes into overdrive. Patients with this condition find they produce an amount of sweat that goes well beyond what’s needed to regulate body temperature. The result can be beads of sweat and frequent wetness, even when doing non-physically challenging activities.

It’s easy to see how this can quickly become a problem. But how can you fix it?

Fixes for Excessive Sweating

Antiperspirants

Dermatologists often turn to prescription antiperspirants as the first line of treatment for excessive sweating. As you sweat, the antiperspirant is pulled into your sweat glands, plugging them and signaling your body to cut down on sweat production.

The pros of this solution include low price and ease of use. Unfortunately, these chemicals can irritate the skin and cause an uncomfortable burning sensation.

Botox

Botox isn’t just for your face. A doctor can inject botulin toxins into your underarms. It works by temporarily blocking a chemical in the body that stimulates sweat glands. It takes a few days to work and will require several injections in different spots under your arms. If you don’t like needles, this could be a problem.

Surgery

In extreme cases, doctors may turn to a surgery called sympathectomy. During this procedure, a surgeon clamps a nerve chain responsible for reactions like sweating and blushing, permanently reducing the brain’s ability to trigger such reactions.

It’s a risky procedure that can result in bleeding, infection and unfortunately, more sweating in other parts of the body.

Microwaves

One of the latest non-invasive techniques for addressing excessive sweating under the arms is called miraDry. A doctor numbs your underarm and uses a device to deliver timed microwave energy to the entire area. Each armpit takes about 30 minutes to complete. The results are immediate and, unlike many other procedures, the process does not have to be repeated to maintain results. You’ll come out dry and refreshed immediately.

Summer time is around the corner and it can be uncomfortable enough without excessive sweating. Examine your options or come into WIFH today for a consultation and learn how we can help keep you dry and comfortable.

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