Underarm excessive sweating, known as axillary hyperhidrosis, is a common condition affecting millions of people worldwide. It is often highly embarrassing, and can be socially isolating to individuals. Sufferers often tailor their clothing to hide their sweating. Some need to change outfits several times per day. Fortunately, safe and greatly effective treatments are available!
Antiperspirants are the first line of treatment. Clinical strength antiperspirants (e.g. Driclor brand) are much more concentrated that regular antiperspirants, therefore are more effective. To reduce irritation, it is crucial to apply antiperspirants at night to a dry armpit. Even with the correct technique, irritation can occur.
Clinical treatment options
Botulinum toxin injections
Botulinum toxin injections are the next line of treatment if antiperspirants are not sufficient. During a simple office visit, our dermatologist can inject botulinum toxin in the armpits via multiple small injection points. This medication blocks the chemical signal to the sweat glands, thereby greatly reducing sweat production. Treatment is extremely safe, and is usually minimally uncomfortable. Numbing creams and other techniques can be used prior the injections to further improve comfort. The great majority get relief of their symptoms, with the benefits lasting 4-12 months. To sustain the benefit, the treatment can be repeated as the effects are wearing off.
Previously the cost of botulinum toxin injections was a major limitation. Due to the detrimental impact on the quality of life of this condition and the clear effectiveness and safety of this treatment, Medicare now subsidizes botulinum toxin injections for severe axillary hyperhidrosis, especially for those who have failed to respond to Driclor. Treatment must be administered by specially approved Dermatologists (and some other specialists) in order to claim this subsidy. Our dermatologists are approved to offer this subsidy to you. This simple and successful treatment is now affordable for all.
Other treatments are available for a small number of people where the above options are not effective or tolerated. These include devices that ablate the axillary sweat glands with electromagnetic energy, and surgical removal of the sweat glands in this area.