Armpit excessive sweating
Many people who complain of excessive sweating have primary hyperhidrosis. This idiopathic disorder is characterised by excessive, bilateral, and roughly symmetrical sweating, most commonly affecting the axillae, palms, feet, and face.
For some patients, excessive sweating is intolerable as it stains and damages clothes, reduces confidence, and limits social contact. Treatment options have been limited but now include botulinum toxin for severe axillary hyperhidrosis.
What causes excessive sweating?
Sweating is your body’s way of cooling down and getting rid of some chemicals. Sometimes heavy sweating is normal. You may sweat a lot when you exercise, when you are too hot, or when you are frightened.
It’s normal for teenagers to sweat more than they did when they were younger. A teen’s sweat glands are growing along with the rest of his or her body.
And menopause often causes women to have heavy sweating now and then.
But some people have a condition that makes them sweat too much. They may drip sweat even when it’s not hot and they’re not exercising. Some people carry a towel around with them because their hands are always wet with sweat.
For these people, sweating is a problem that can be very hard to live with, even though they have no other health problems. In most cases, there’s no known cause for this condition.
- High temperatures. If your environment is too warm, that can trigger sweating. It’s your body’s best mechanism for reducing internal temperatures to prevent injury from the heat.
- Anxiety and other emotions. If you’re feeling stressed, angry, embarrassed, or afraid, you may start to sweat a lot. The sweaty palms and armpits that go along with stage fright are an example of this kind of sweating, which can be excessive.
- Medical conditions. Menopause, obesity, an overactive thyroid, heart failure, and other medical problems can all cause excessive sweating.
- Foods. Spicy foods are famous for causing a sweat response in sensitive individuals. Alcohol and caffeine can also trigger sweating in some people.
- Medications. Some medications, particularly certain painkillers, illicit drugs or hormonal treatments, can trigger a sweat response.
What is hyperhidrosis?
While sweat is a normal part of everyday life, for some people, excessive sweating, particularly in the armpits, can become problematic. In these instances, you may be dealing with a condition called hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis is classified a few different ways based on where it occurs and what’s causing it:
- Focal hyperhidrosis. This type of excessive sweating is limited to a particular area of focus, such as the underarms.
- Generalized hyperhidrosis. If hyperhidrosis impacts several body regions, it may be classified as generalized hyperhidrosis.
- Primary hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis occurs in the absence of another triggering problem, such as obesity or medications. It may be caused by genetics, and people with a family history of hyperhidrosis are at higher risk of developing the condition. Excessive armpit sweat that’s not attributable to another illness or medication is sometimes called primary axillary hyperhidrosis.
- Secondary hyperhidrosis. This type of excessive sweating is caused by a known triggering factors, such as a medication or a medical condition like hyperthyroidism.
If you’re sweating a lot and it’s not related to a specific reason you can pinpoint, you might be dealing with hyperhidrosis.
Other causes of heavy sweating
Certain problems such as diabetes, heart failure, anxiety, and overactive thyroid can cause heavy sweating. In addition, some medications may also cause heavy sweating as a side effect.
Treatments for armpit excessive sweating
- Clinical strength antiperspirants. Antiperspirants are typically the first line of defense when treating the condition. Some of these products are available by prescription, but others are available over-the-counter. Check the label for aluminum chloride, which Nino says “reduces sweating by blocking secretions from the sweat glands.” Aluminum zirconium is another ingredient that can block the secretion of sweat.
- Topical lotions. Lotions that contain aluminum chloride have also been found effective in reducing excessive sweating in the armpits. It’s a roll-on that you apply sparingly at night. You should keep your arms up until the lotion dries. If you put your arms down, that doubles the strength of it and it can irritate the side of the arms.
- Oral medications. Oral medications are usually reserved for people with facial sweating or generalized hyperhidrosis that affects several regions of the body, rather than just the armpits. However, they can be an option for some people if other therapies haven’t worked. These prescription medications contain an anticholinergic agent, which blocks the effects of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that’s involved in excessive sweating. Side effects of these medications can be problematic in some people and may include: dry mouth, constipation, impaired taste, blurred vision, difficulty urinating, and heart palpitations, all of which are associated with drying out of the body, Cook-Bolden notes. There’s a potential link between the use of anticholinergic medications in older adults and increased risk of dementia and/or brain atrophy, so be sure to discuss the pros and cons with your doctor, especially if you’re over the age of 65.
- Underarm wipes. A new prescription medication on the market called Qbrexza (glycopyrronium) takes the upsides of the oral medications and removes some of their side effects by embedding the medication into a cloth that can be wiped over the armpits to quell excessive sweating treatment in melbourne. Used daily, these cloths reduce sweating by acting on the nerves in the sweat glands to slow the secretion of sweat. A few swipes with the medicated cloth can reduce the amount of underarm sweat you generate without causing some of the other drying side effects, such as dry mouth or constipation, of systemic oral medication.
- miraDRY. Another newer technology called miraDRY can be used to treat axillary hyperhidrosis. This nonsurgical, inpatient treatment uses microwave technology to destroy sweat glands in the underarm area. It was found to reduce underarm sweat in over 90% of patients by an average of 82%.
- Anti Wrinkle Injection injections. The same botulinum toxin injections that give middle-aged Hollywood stars those impossibly smooth foreheads can also be used to quell excessive sweating. With this treatment, your dermatologist will inject a small amount of Anti Wrinkle Injection into the armpits. Once there, the toxin paralyzes the sweat glands and stops the excessive sweating. It reduces the amount of sweating by about 30% on average so you’re not paralyzing all of the sweat glands, just some of them. It doesn’t sound like that much, but it’s enough to make a huge difference in what you’re experiencing. Anti Wrinkle Injection injections usually last about four months to a year, so you’ll need to keep up with routine injections to maintain results.
- Lasers. Some patients may be offered a precision laser treatment that heats up and destroys sweat glands without damaging surrounding tissue. It can be very effective and provide permanent results, sometimes with just a single treatment. One study showed that this type of treatment had reduced underarm sweating by about 78% six months after a single treatment.
- Surgery. In some cases, patients with hyperhidrosis that doesn’t respond to other therapies may undergo a type of surgery called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, which cuts nerves in the armpits to block excessive sweating. It can be risky because most patients experience compensatory sweating in a different part of the body that may end up being as bad or worse than the original sweating problem. Because it’s irreversible, it’s considered the last resort for underarm and hand sweating.
- HIFRF. A newer procedure called high-intensity focused fractional radiofrequency micro-needling is also gaining traction in the treatment of primary axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating). In this approach, very small needles are placed under the skin and radiofrequency energy is applied to destroy sweat glands. The approach is still new – it’s currently FDA-approved for the treatment of facial wrinkles – but one study found that patients had a 75% to 80% reduction in hyperhidrosis symptoms within one week of treatment. The results lasted six to eight months.
Generally speaking, starting with the least invasive option and working your way down the list to more invasive or irreversible treatments as others prove ineffective is usually a smart approach. Depending on the severity of your case of hyperhidrosis, you may find that a topical lotion works just fine while other people need more permanent intervention.
This is why at Skin Club, we ask our patients to undergo an initial consultation with our doctors before we recommend any type of treatment. This is where we try to see what the root cause of the problem is and what we can do to solve it. This way, we could properly align our treatments to your individual needs and goals so we can deliver expected results.