Severe underarm sweating is a medical condition known as severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis, which involves overactive sweat glands. Sweat is your body’s temperature regulator. In severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis, sweating significantly exceeds the body’s normal requirements for cooling.
Botox Treatment For Underarm Sweating
BOTOX® is FDA-approved for severe underarm sweating that is inadequately managed with topical agents. BOTOX helps control this condition by temporarily blocking the chemical signals from the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands. When the sweat glands don’t receive chemical signals, the severe sweating stops.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hyperhidrosis is a disorder characterized by excessive uncontrollable sweating in excess of the amount required to regulate body temperature. It is estimated that 8.5 million people in the United States suffer from some form of hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis has no discernible cause and may involve the axillae (armpits), palms (hands), soles (feet), face, and groin. Secondary hyperhidrosis has an underlying cause such as an endocrine disorder, secretory tumors, sympathetic nervous system disorder, or neurological/psychiatric disorders. You should talk to your doctor to determine if there is an underlying cause for your condition.
Axilla is an anatomy term that refers to the underarm or armpit area. Axillary hyperhidrosis refers to excessive underarm sweating. The exact cause of the condition is disputed. Some experts feel it has to do with the size of the sweat glands, some feel it is related to over-activity of the sweat glands and others feel it is stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.
Axillary bromidrosis (also called bromhidrosis) is the secretion of foul-smelling sweat and is defined as the combination of hyperhidrosis and osmidrosis. Axillary osmidrosis is a disorder characterized by chronic offensive armpit odor. Like hyperhidrosis, the exact pathophysiology of axillary osmidrosis is also disputed.
*Procedure results are typical and may vary
There are two types of hyperhidrosis, primary and secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis occurs on the hands, underarms, feet, or face and has no apparent trigger. Secondary hyperhidrosis is more widespread and is usually triggered by medication, a medical condition, or excessive heat.
Having primary hyperhidrosis is like having the eccrine sweat glands always in “on” mode. These are the most prevalent sweat glands in the body, and they are activated by nerves. This is why, with normal function, we often sweat when we are anxious or excited. People with secondary hyperhidrosis often experience excessive sweating at night when they sleep. Conditions that could trigger secondary hyperhidrosis include:
- Perimenopause or hormone disruption
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Certain medications
Hyperhidrosis occurs where there is an abundance of eccrine glands. Common areas affected include the underarms, hands, feet, and face.
BOTOX injections are simple and convenient. To make the procedure as comfortable as possibe, the provider applies a topical numbing cream to the skin, which stays on for up to an hour to reach maximum effect. Then, the provider cleans the skin and uses a very small needle to inject BOTOX just beneath the skin. Injections take just a few minutes. There is no downtime after the appointment, though patients may develop some swelling, tenderness, or bruising. These are usually minor if they do occur.
A few treatment options have shown positive effects in the reduction of excessive sweating. These include:
- Iontophoresis. This treatment may be considered for hyperhidrosis of the hands or feet. It is not known how iontophoresis works, but it is thought to block sweat from reaching the skin’s surface. Treatment must be repeated at least a few times a week to achieve good results, and it is not appropriate for everyone. Because iontophoresis involves a low electrical current that travels through water in which the hands or feet have been placed, it is not recommended for people with epilepsy, a cardiac condition, any metal implants, such as joint replacements, or a pacemaker. Pregnant women should not undergo iontophoresis.
- Medication. A doctor may prescribe a clinical-strength antiperspirant to reduce excessive sweating. They may also prescribe an anticholinergic drug, which stops the activation of sweat glands. Patients should be aware that anticholinergic drugs may cause side effects like dry mouth, dry eyes, heart palpitations, blurred vision, and difficulty urinating.
- Surgery. Some doctors perform surgery for severe hyperhidrosis. A surgical procedure may sever or remove the sweat glands that are overactive, or may sever the specific nerves that are overstimulating sweat glands.
- MiraDry. This nonsurgical treatment, performed in the clinical setting, targets sweat glands using thermal energy. Several treatments may be needed to achieve satisfactory results.
Of the available treatment options for hyperhidrosis, BOTOX injections seem to be the most convenient. Results from this therapy build over 5 to 7 days and can last several months.
In many cases, a thorough consultation, medical history, and review of symptoms can diagnose hyperhidrosis. A doctor may suggest blood or urine tests to help identify the cause of excessive sweating. Noninvasive sweat tests can also be performed to measure the extent of excessive sweating.
It is not common. Most people with hyperhidrosis report that their condition either stays the same or worsens over time. Fortunately, the treatment options that are available today, including BOTOX, demonstrate proven results.
Compensatory sweating is a potential side effect of surgery to treat hyperhidrosis of the armpits, hands, or feet. The procedure, thoracoscopic sympathectomy, severs the nerves at a specific location to disrupt overactive sweat glands. Compensatory sweating is excessive sweating that occurs on the chest, back, abdomen, legs, face, and/or buttocks as a result of this procedure.