Axillary Hyperhidrosis: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment Options.

Axillary hyperhidrosis

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.

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis
Sweaty armpits Axillary hyperhidrosis
Sweaty hands Palmar hyperhidrosis
Sweaty feet Plantar hyperhidrosis
Sweaty face Craniofacial hyperhidrosis

Causes of Axillary Hyperhidrosis

natural deodorant and body odorWe 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
  • budget

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.


Iontophoresis for armpitsThis 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.

Related: 10 Best Iontophoresis machines in 2019: Complex Overview And Comparison.


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.

ETS Surgery

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.

Natural cures

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.

10 Comments on “Axillary Hyperhidrosis: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment Options.”

  1. Thanks for sharing this great article about axillary hyperhidrosis, its causes and treatment options. I learned lots of new things about this. I have been suffering about heavy sweating on the face and back especially, I don’t know whether I have some sort of hyperhidrosis or whether it’s just cause my very active lifestyle. I will take a further look at your website and other articles out there.

  2. I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I have never been to the doctor although I think that I have some of the symptoms you listed above. I am not doing anything hard but still, I can sweat a lot just for no reason, I did not know it is some sort of “disease”. I am using antiperspirant so far but I will definitely think about doing botox.

    1. Danijel, hyperhidrosis is more a condition than a disease. In the case of secondary hyperhidrosis caused by some other illness, the sweating is more like a side effect. But doesn’t matter how we call it, many people suffer from very serious sweating that can affect their daily life very dramatically. 

      If you think about Botox, you can find some information in the article Botulinum Toxin Injections – An Effective Treatment of Hyperhidrosis. 

      In the case of antiperspirants, many people use antiperspirant-deodorant from some famous brands. These products usually don’t contain a higher amount of aluminium chloride or other active substance, that’s why they are not so effective.

      Clinical strong over-the-counter antiperspirants can do this job much better. Read more about antiperspirants under the section treatment/antiperspirant on our web.

  3. These are great tips and I cannot help but to thank you for supplying this much information concerning the axillary hyperhidrosis. You have really cleared all my misconceptions and cluelessness towards it. This is really interesting and I’m thankful especially for the curing methods of treatments. This is good to know of. Thumbs up from me

  4. Hello,
    I found it very interesting to read your article and see the different reasons that can cause sweating. In my case I notice that I can sweat a lot when I do a physical activity. In general in this case it has very little smell, all good.

    On the other hand, when I feel nervous or stressed as you explain, this sweat has an unpleasant smell. From now I prefer to perform a natural treatment to mitigate sweat. I consume regularly and I love herb extracts in the form of tea. 

    Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Claudio!

      Many people have similar experience like you. During stress situations we produce so called apocrine sweat. It has a different composition like sweat coming from eccrine sweat glands.  Sweat from apocrine sweat glands contains more proteins. When these proteins meet skin bacteria, the smell is released. 

      There are several ways how to avoid excessive sweating caused by stress. The faster solution is to use an over-the-counter antiperspirant. If you prefer natural solution, these home remedies can be helpful, too. 

  5. Thank you for your post. It has useful information for me. Whenever I meet some stress situation, there is serious hyperhidrosis. I feel particularly shame when I give presentation to a large group of audiences.

    You article gives a series of treatment for this situation. I would like to try the natural methods. You provide advice on how to use the natural way of curing this illness, including herbal extracts, tablets, and diet plan etc.

    You also suggest to read book Sweat Miracle, which provides ways of reducing hyperhidrosis by proper diet. I am going to purchase this book and will study in detail. 

    It is kind of you sharing this useful information with us.

    1. Thank you, Anthony, for your comment!

      Yes, we try to provide information about excessive sweating disorder for everybody. Medicaments for hyperhidrosis are usually used by people with severe sweating and those who sweat profusely all around the body.

      Natural treatment is helpful for everybody even the effect varies from person to person. If you prefer natural treatment of excessive sweating, Sweat Miracle E-book is a reasonable choice. You will find there many tips and hacks how to get rid of hyperhidrosis. We wish you all the best!

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