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Hyperhidrosis – What is it and how can I get rid of it?

Hyperhidrosis is defined as excessive sweating or perspiration, which is generally confined to the underarms, but can also occur on the hands, feet, or other body parts. It is generally agreed that if a patient says they experience excessive perspiration, that alone is sufficient to make the diagnosis of hyperhidrosis.

When I discuss hyperhidrosis with patients, I ask them if they regularly experience wetness in their underarms that causes them embarrassment or discomfort. I also want to know whether this causes them to “re-think” the types of clothing they might wear, which might warrant treatment. Someone who, for example, avoids satin or silk tops because they are afraid they will have noticeable wet marks under their arms, may want to consider treatment for this.

Treatment options:
Over-the-counter antiperspirants/deodorants- While underarm deodorants are designed to control odor caused by sweating, antiperspirants actually are designed to stop perspiration in the area where applied. The active ingredient in antiperspirants is generally an aluminum compound. While there has been some concern about the relationship between aluminum-containing antiperspirants, both the National Institute of Health and the American Cancer Society have reported that there is no conclusive link between antiperspirants and breast cancer.

Hydrosal®

Hydrosal Professional is a unique product that contains 15% aluminum chloride and 2% salicylic acid. It is applied at night and the results last through the next day. It is recommended to be used nightly for a week, then used as needed (generally 2-3 times per week to maintain results). Common side effect is skin irritation, but that will generally go away as you continue to use the product. This is a great way to stop the yellow “armpit stains” on your clothing!

Botox®

Botox is now FDA approved for excessive sweating! This is an effective treatment that works by blocking the stimulation of sweat glands. The treatment lasts over 6 months, and patients should notice improvement within 4 weeks. It requires about 15 injections in each underarm with a tiny needle. The treatment takes about 15 minutes, but you will be in the office for about 45 minutes. The clinical studies on Botox for excessive sweating found that 80% of patients reported a 50% reduction of underarm sweating at 4 weeks after the treatment.

If excessive underarm sweating is a problem for you, come in for a consultation to discuss the treatment options that would be best for you!



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Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA