What is Axillary Hyperhidrosis?

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  • Written By: Steve R.
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2018
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Axillary hyperhidrosis is a medical disorder that results in extreme underarm sweating. The condition is typically characterized by body odor and sweat stains. A person suffering from axillary hyperhidrosis has no control over the rate of his sweating. The condition, which affects millions of healthy Americans, is caused by a defect in the nervous system. Treatment may include special antiperspirants and other treatment devices, as well as surgery.

While sweating is a natural bodily function, axillary hyperhidrosis causes the body to produce more sweat than necessary. A person with the condition will often sweat profusely no matter their frame of mind or weather conditions. This medical disorder may cause embarrassment for an individual due to the odor from the sweat. Also, the excessive sweating is noticeable, as the underarm sweating can be noticed through a person's clothes. This condition may cause a person to shy away in certain social and business settings.


There are many things a person with this disorder can do to try to curb the excessive sweating. A person can purchase over-the-counter antiperspirants. Antiperspirants that are made with aluminum chloride are proven to combat the abundant underarm sweating. A person will apply this special antiperspirant before going to bed for about 10 consecutive days and then will need to use it just once a week after that. The aluminum salts in the antiperspirant slowly gather in a person's sweat ducts and aid in lessening the amount of perspiration in the armpits. While aluminum chloride wards off sweating, it can irritate the skin. Anti-inflammatory medication with hydrocortisone can help to soothe any irritation.

Another method used for fighting axillary hyperhidrosis is botulinum toxin, more commonly referred to as Botox. To combat annoying perspiration, a person has 50 units of Botox injected into approximately 20 places in each underarm with a tiny needle. While the injections may be uncomfortable, Botox treatment can provide relief from excessive armpit sweating for up to six months. Approved by the Federal Drug Administration, Botox treatment, which can be expensive, is covered by numerous health insurers.

Also, a person may take anticholinergic medication, which can decrease perspiration. These oral medications are not commonly used due to the side effects. Insomnia and disturbed vision are some of the side effects associated with taking anticholinergic medication.

In some instances, surgery may prove effective. The nerves responsible for sweating are medically destroyed with an endoscopic instrument. A costly and risky procedure, surgery may result in producing sweat in other parts of the body and may also cause nerve damage.



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