Axillary Hyperhidrosis - Excessive Underarm Sweating

Axillary Hyperhidrosis involves extreme, dripping sweat in the armpits, with constant odor that is usually resistant to all deodorants. Axillary sweating may be present, alone, or in conjunction with any or all other types of hyperhidrosis.

Sufferers are prevented from wearing certain fabrics and colors because the sweat causes staining and rotting of the clothing. The sympathetic nervous system over-stimulates the sweat glands, causing the hyperhidrosis. This condition may be aggravated by anxiety, but it can occur without it. Each patient has to be evaluated individually, to determine if they are candidates for the ETS procedure.

When a man wears a suit and is bothered by the condition of axillary hyperhidrosis, he often decides he has to leave the jacket on, at all times, because the sweat from his armpits will soak through his shirt. (Some patients complain they have to change shirts two-to-three times, during the day!) A woman with this disorder will not be able to wear delicate fabrics such as silk, because the sweat will leave very noticeable, wet rings under her arms. The excessive sweating causes embarrassment and makes people feel less confident about themselves.

This condition usually begins around adolescence, however, some cases become apparent in the pre-teen years. Children can be very cruel to each other with teasing remarks, which intensifies the anxiety endured while going through phase of growing up. There can be a feeling of hopelessness because they think there is no solution to their problem, therefore, further isolating them from their peers. They do not even have the courage to discuss this condition with their family because they think they are the only ones affected by this. Sometimes, parents only become aware of their children's distress after the condition has been hampering them for several years. The parents notice the lack of social interaction, unhappiness, and low self-esteem. At this point, they can seek professional advice.

Before considering the ETS procedure (Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy), it is important for the patient to try other means of controlling the extreme sweating of the armpits. Some patients can be helped, temporarily, by the use of Drysol®, a strong, topical lotion containing aluminum chloride hexahydrate. This is applied at night and washed off in the morning. Basically, Drysol® and other over-the-counter products like Drysol® clog the pores, so their effectiveness will be diminished, in time. Drysol® may cause irritation to the skin, or a burning sensation, in which case, the patient should discontinue use.

Another treatment that can be tried in control of Axillary Hyperhidrosis is the use of BOTOX® (Botulinum toxin A) injections. This has a limited effectiveness and must be re-injected, periodically.

The only long-last method of controlling excessive sweating of the underarms is the ETS procedure.