Hyperhidrosis – excessive underarm sweating

What is hyperhidrosis?

Sweating is necessary to control body temperature and is a normal response to a rise in temperature or anxiety. Hyperhidrosis is excessive under arm sweating caused by the over activity of the eccrine gland. In about 1% of the population, this system over works at a very high level, causing sweating to occur at inappropriate times, far in excess of the amount necessary to maintain normal body temperature. Men and women are equally affected by the condition. It is very common and it is thought that there are currently over one million people in England who are affected by it.

Unfortunately hyperhidrosis is not a temporary condition. Hot or cold, the sweating is constant. Consumption of tea, coffee and alcohol and spicy foods can impact on the condition.

Treatment for hyperhidrosis

Excessive sweating can be treated with botulinum toxin or an antiperspirant with aluminum chloride.

Botulinum toxin has been successfully used to treat this condition. However, if you are considering treatment, in the first instance keep a diary to ascertain whether the problem is linked to lifestyle. Some changes could prevent the trigger and have a positive affect.

It may be advisable to use a particular type of anti-perspirant, (aluminum chloride) which can be purchased over the counter. It works by blocking the sweat glands. Treatment may take a few weeks to build up its effect. This is because it is thought to gradually clog up the sweat gland that causes a gradual reduction in sweating. If successful, treatment can be continued indefinitely and may only need to be applied once every 1-3 weeks to keep the sweating under control.

However if the treatment is unsuccessful, Botulinum toxin type A can be administered by a trained nurse, dentist or doctor. The medication given by a tiny injection binds to the nerves that controls sweating in the skin, and reduces sweating. Clinical studies have shown that this treatment reduces the amount of sweating by 75 – 80%. A course usually lasts 4-6 months.

Prior to administration a consultation is undertaken and a full medical history obtained.

Sandbanks Aesthetics at Lilliput Health offers advice and treatment for hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating).