Perspiration in the armpits is not only uncomfortable physically but puts people in socially embarrassing situations. It causes a wet patch to appear on clothing but does not always give off a bad odor. Some people perspire without exerting themselves. The medical term for excessive underarm sweating is called axillary hyperhidrosis. Sweat is produced to regulate body temperature but those who suffer from hyperhidrosis, the sweat glands produce more sweat than necessary. Luckily, this condition is not a sign of ill-health but can cause discomfort.
There are certain specific treatments that can get rid of excessive underarm sweating. These include topical antiperspirants, Botox injections, iontophoresis and oral anticholinergic medicines. Some individuals turn to surgery as a last resort although this has a variety of complications. Antiperspirants that can be used to combat axillary hyperhidrosis include the regular over-the-counter varieties and the higher strength prescription ones.
Ways To Get Rid Of Excessive Underarm Sweating
OTC Topical Antiperspirants
If you suffer from a mild form of excessive underarm sweating, use a good quality OTC antiperspirant. Do not confuse antiperspirants with deodorants. A deodorant masks body odor while an antiperspirant reduces sweating. Avoid using herb-based or natural brands as they are too mild to be effective. Use an antiperspirant that contains an active ingredient.
You can use either gels or sprays, depending on the degree of sweating you experience. Most good quality antiperspirants contain aluminum compounds as active ingredients. Make sure you follow the recommendations and instructions written on the container for best results. Always wash your underarms with soap and water and pat dry. Once you apply or spray on the antiperspirant, allow it to dry completely before putting on your clothes.
When OTC antiperspirants fail, you must visit a dermatologist for more effective alternatives. It is likely that the first plan of action will be the use of a medicated or prescription antiperspirant. The most powerful ones are aluminum salt-based. They are similar to OTC antiperspirants but contain a higher concentration of aluminum active ingredients. The most common active ingredients are aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum hydroxybromide and aluminum chloride.
Driclor, Anhydrol, ZeaSORB and Drysol are generally recommended. Driclor and Anhydrol are roll-ons while ZeaSORB is available in powder form. Drysol is an extra strong antiperspirant solution that can be dabbed on. Once you buy a product, read the instructions very carefully. Many of these antiperspirants have side effects like skin irritation and inflammation. In such cases it is best to reduce the dosage and check with your doctor.
Oral Anticholinergic Medication
Underarm sweating can be treated using oral medication. The chemical acetycholine causes excessive perspiration. Anticholinergic medication when taken orally has been known to restrict the effect that acetycholine has on the sweat glands. Propantheline, glycopyrrolate, oxybutynin and benztropine are some of the commonly prescribed medicines for treating axillary hyperhidrosis. The common problem with these drugs is the effect it has on the body as a whole.
Since it blocks the production of sweat, the body’s capacity to cool down is compromised. This type of treatment is generally not recommended for athletes or individuals who engage in physical training. Treatment using anticholinergic medication must only be taken under the strict supervision of a qualified physician.
Botulinum toxin type A injections are typically marketed as an anti-wrinkle treatment. It is now also used to control the production of sweat in the armpit area. The treatment involves administering intradermal injections in the areas where the sweat glands are located. This prevents them from producing sweat.
The treatment is effective for approximately 4-6 months. The injections are expensive and each treatment is priced anywhere between $500-$1000. Botox injections are also painful and in most cases, a local anesthetic is administered. This form of treatment should be considered only when all other techniques fail. Known side-effects of the treatment include soreness in the injection area as well as temporary muscle weakness.