Underarm excessive sweating, also called axillary hyperhidrosis, is a common condition affecting millions of people worldwide. It is often highly embarrassing, and can be socially isolating. Sufferers often tailor their clothing to hide their problem, and some need to change shirts several times per day.
Fortunately, safe and highly effects treatments are available!
The first line treatment is antiperspirants. Clinical strength antiperspirants (e.g. Driclor brand) are much more concentrated that regular antiperspirants. It is essential that this product be applied at night, to a dry armpit, to minimize irritation. Even with the correct technique, irritation can occur.
If this is not effective, the next line treatment is botulinum toxin injections. During a simple office visit, your dermatologist can inject botulinum toxin the armpits via multiple small injection points. This medication stops the chemical signal to the sweat glands, and the glands greatly reduce sweat production. It treatment is extremely safe, and is usually minimally uncomfortable. Numbing creams and other techniques can be used to further improve comfort. The great majority get relief of their symptoms, with the benefits lasting 4-12 months. The treatment can be repeated as the effect is wearing off, to sustain the benefit.
Previously the cost of botulinum toxin injections was a major limitation. However, after recognition of the severe impact on quality of life of this condition, and the great safety and effectiveness of treatment, Medicare now subsidizes botulinum toxin injects for severe axillary hyperhidrosis, for those who have failed to respond to Driclor. This treatment must be administered by specially approved dermatologists (and some other specialists) to claim this subsidy. Our dermatologists are approved to offer this subsidy to you. This simple and effective treatment is now affordable for all.
For the small number of people for whom the above is not effective or appropriate, other treatments are available, including devices that ablate the axillary sweat glands with electromagnetic energy, and surgical removal of the sweat glands in this area.