Axillary hyperhidrosis is the most common type of excessive sweating. According to the study published in NCBI, profuse underarm sweating affects about 3,12% of US population. This perspiration disorder has a significant impact on social and personal life. Psychical problems, depression, and anxiety are very often consequences of axillary hyperhidrosis. While there are no obvious triggers of this excessive underarm sweating, it occurs uncontrollably and all of a sudden.
What is Axillary Hyperhidrosis?
Axillary hyperhidrosis is defined as excessive sweating in the armpits. An increased amount of sweat is produced even it is not needed for thermoregulation process. It means that sweating episode can occur even the body temperature is not increased due to physical activity, stress, or hot weather.
Many people with axillary hyperhidrosis experience also increased body odor. The smell does not arise only due to sweat, but it comes from the reaction between sweat and bacteria living on the skin. Since it is not always easy to recognize what sweating can be considered as axillary hyperhidrosis, dermatologists use certain criteria for diagnosis.
Diagnostic Criteria of Axillary Hyperhidrosis
- The onset of abnormal sweating is in the age of childhood and puberty
- Excessive sweating happens without an apparent reason
- Profuse sweating is observed at least 6 months
- Increased perspiration occurs only in some parts of the body (armpits, hands, feet, head)
- Sweating is relatively symmetrical (both underarms, feet or hands are affected similarly)
- Patients experience at least one episode a week
- Excessive sweating significantly affect daily life
- Some of the family members have similar symptoms (positive family history)
- Heavy sweating usually doesn’t occur at night
These axillary hyperhidrosis symptoms help doctors to recognize the severity of the condition. Excessive sweating that affects hands, feet, or head has the same symptoms. All these types of sweating disorders belong to primary focal hyperhidrosis. Primary, because there is no other health condition or a side effect of some medications that cause sweating. Focal, because excessive sweating affects only certain parts of the body.
Following table shows types of sweating belonging to primary focal hyperhidrosis.
Causes of Axillary Hyperhidrosis
We already indicated that axillary hyperhidrosis has no obvious cause. It is a condition itself. Many experts believe that excessive underarm sweating is related to genetics. This assumption confirms the fact that people with any primary focal hyperhidrosis have siblings or parents with the same condition.
Since axillary hyperhidrosis is considered as a predisposition, all available medical treatments only suppress the symptoms. It means every hyperhidrosis treatment tries to affect the activity of sweat glands and protect sweat from reaching an upper part of the skin. But most of these treating methods are sufficient and can reduce sweating for a long time. We are going to introduce them in the following paragraph.
Current Treatments of Axillary Hyperhidrosis
There are several good answers to the question of how is axillary hyperhidrosis treated. The choosing of the best treatment for excessive sweating depends on several factors:
- the seriousness of the condition
- recommendation of a dermatologist
- health condition (allergy, skin irritations)
- a time that can be taken for treatment
These are possible treatments for axillary hyperhidrosis that are commonly applied by a doctor or used at home.
Using over-the-counter antiperspirant or prescribed by a doctor is usually the first step in combat against excessive underarm sweating. Clinical antiperspirants contain aluminium salts (aluminium chloride or aluminium seq…) that help to narrow skin pores and prevent sweating. The power of antiperspirants depends on the percentage of active substances. Antiperspirants are available in the form of a solid stick, lotion, or spray. If you are interested in this type of treatment, we recommend checking out an article: The best antiperspirant for hyperhidrosis in 2019 (According to customer’s reviews).
Qbrexza is one of the new hyperhidrosis treatments. These medicated wipes contain anticholinergics that are usually used in oral medications for hyperhidrosis. These chemicals can also effectively suppress sweating. The topical application reduces the risk of side effects and doesn’t obstruct the organism as oral medicine. Qbrexza is designed only for sweaty armpits and has to be prescribed by a doctor.
This popular solution for excessive sweating uses a mild electrical current. A device produces direct or pulsed current and distributes it through tap water directly to the affected location. The procedure is based on ions that affect sweat glands in affected areas. While iontophoresis machines were in the past designed for palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands and feet), many modern devices contain adapters for underarms.
Iontophoresis session can be made by a dermatologist, who can add active substances to the water to intensify effects, but there are several iontophoresis devices for excessive sweating that can be purchased and use at home. While iontophoresis for home use doesn’t need any other chemicals, just tap water, it still belongs to the most effective ways how to get rid of excessive sweating.
MiraDry is also quite a new hyperhidrosis treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis. Unlike iontophoresis, MiraDry uses microwaves that paralyze sweat glands under the skin. Since it is a non-invasive method, side effects are not so often than in surgical removing of sweat glands. MiraDry can also be used only by a certified doctor. Here you can find more information about how MiraDry works, how sufficient it is and what are the positives and negatives of this treatment.
Injections of botulinum toxin are probably the most used treatment for heavy cases of axillary hyperhidrosis. This neurotoxic protein causes sweat glands paralysis that prevents perspiration. After an examination, a doctor decides how many injections will be inserted to every armpit. Since it is an invasive procedure, side effects are mild and not often. The long-lasting sweat protection belongs to the biggest positives of this treatment.
When antiperspirants and other treatments didn’t work enough, the last chance how to stop underarm sweating is endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. It is a surgical procedure when a surgeon interrupts the connections between the brain and sweat glands. This process is permanent, and it is not possible to recover this connection. Due to an invasive character, there are more possible side effects related to ETS surgery, such as pain, pneumonia, bleeding, infection, and weakness. But the loss of sweating in the affected area is permanent, and many patients experienced a big relief and improve life after the surgery.
ETS surgery is also searched by people who want to stop underarm sweating permanently or by those who have significant psychic problems related to their sweating.
If you are interested in how to stop sweating underarms naturally, some tips can mitigate sweat.
Herbal extracts can be consumed as a tea (sage, nettle, burdock root, walnut leaf, schizandra) or applied directly to the affected place. But the most comfortable and effective way is adding of hyperhidrosis supplement in the form of tablets to the diet. These supplements can strengthen the results of other treatment. Diet plan created by Miles Dawson can also be helpful. This nutrition expert explains in his book Sweat Miracle, how sweating can be reduced by proper diet. We have written a review of Sweat Miracle that can tell you more about this method.