What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is of 2 types. Excessive sweating can be due to an underlying medical condition or medication, or it can be due to a common genetic condition. The latter is called primary focal hyperhidrosis, and it causes excess sweating from the underarms, palms, soles and other areas of the body. The condition generally begins in adolescence, causing symmetrical sweating which occurs primarily in the daytime.
What Causes Hyperhidrosis?
Sweating is caused by 2 kinds of glands. Eccrine glands cool the body and secrete odorless watery fluid. Apocrine glands secrete a thicker fluid and cause odor. Both apocrine and eccrine glands are present in the armpits. These glands are stimulated by nerves that trigger excessive sweating from hormonal and emotional stimuli, temperature, and physical activity.
Patients with primary focal hyperhidrosis sweat four or five times more than is necessary, or normal. The condition is embarrassing, uncomfortable, and interferes with personal and professional life. Hyperhidrosis afflicts millions of people around the world, at least 3% of the world’s population.
*Individual Results May Vary*
How Can I Treat Hyperhidrosis?
Fortunately, there are treatments available for excessive sweating. Some patients benefit from over-the-counter topical preparations such as Certain-Dri, which can be used on the palms, sole, and underarms. For maximum effect, this is best applied at night time when excessive perspiration won’t wash the topical medication away. If Certain-Dri is not successful in controlling the sweating, a prescription strength aluminum chloride solution Drysol can be tried. The most common side effect from this product is irritation in the area of treatment, particularly in the underarm region.
Another option for the treatment of excessive sweating of the hands and feet is iontophoresis. The hand and feet are submerged in a water bath through which an electric current is passed. The current passes through the skin and “turns off” the sweat glands. The iontophoresis device is covered by some insurance plans. Unfortunately, some patients do not respond.
Botox® is FDA approved for excessive sweating of the underarm, and is also used off label for sweating of the palms. Botox® treatment is expensive, needs to be repeated at least every 6 months, requires multiple injections, and is often challenging to get covered by insurance.
Qbrexza® is a new topical wipe used daily to the armpits to reduce sweating. Though effective and applied to the skin, it can have systemic side effects such as dry mouth and dilated pupils.
miraDry® Fortunately, there is now a safe, effective, comfortable and permanent solution to underarm sweating and odor. miraDry destroys the sweat glands with an average 80% reduction of sweat in one treatment. We are proud to offer this revolutionary procedure in our office.