Underarm hyperhidrosis is a physical condition that triggers excessive sweating of the armpits. Also known under the name excessive sweating, this physiological dysfunction is not life-threatening. However, this immoderate sweating can cause self-esteem problems and the people affected often feel repercussions on their social life.

What causes hyperhidrosis?

Excessive sweating comes from a sympathetic nervous system dysfunction. When the nervous stimulation is too elevated, sweat glands produce a lot of sweat. Many things can cause this condition. There also seems to be a genetic factor, but certain diseases and hormonal changes can also cause these symptoms, such as diabetes, thyroid dysfunctions, anxiety problems or menopause. According to a Statistics Canada study published in 2011, more than 950 000 canadians suffer from hyperhidrosis, with 30% of them having a family history.

How to solve a hyperhidrosis condition?

Many solutions are available to solve hyperhidrosis. Some are temporary, whereas others offer long-term results.

Antiperspirants

The first solution is using very strong antiperspirants, which are available over the counter in pharmacies. Those antiperspirants contain methenamine or aluminum salts that block sweat canals. Generally, those products work short-term. However, on the long-term, they can lead to other problems such as itching since they irritate the skin. Therefore, for people suffering from advanced hyperhidrosis, antiperspirants are not always the best solution,

Injections of therapeutic Botox

This method is minimally invasive and therefore is quite popular. In order to reduce the stimulation of sweat glands, a nurse will inject therapeutic Botox in the glands by using a very fine needle. To start, injections can be done every 7 months, and slowly, the frequency is decreased. This solution offers excellent results and is very much appreciated by a majority of patients.

Sweat gland surgery

Contrary to therapeutic Botox, sweat gland surgery is a very invasive and drastic procedure that has its risks. Therefore, it should only be performed as a last resort. Two types of surgeries are performed to solve hyperhidrosis: endoscopic sympathectomy and sweat gland ablation.

In the first case, nerves causing sweat are sectioned by making small incisions. The sweat gland ablation surgery is only offered to people suffering from very advanced hyperhidrosis.

Surgeries are recommended as a last resort since they can cause further complications. Sometimes, sweat will go to another part of the body and hyperhidrosis will come back. This is called compensatory hyperhidrosis. In that case, treatment becomes complicated.

Finding a solution that works for every individual

For a great majority of people suffering from underarm hyperhidrosis, therapeutic Botox injections offer the best results, allowing the patients to have a better quality of life. This treatment is risk-free and highly efficient.

Excessive sweating is a real problem that deserves accessible solutions to allow people suffering from it to maintain a normal life. After having suffered for years of hyperhidrosis and applying the methods discussed above, patients are able to do things they had not done for years. It is now possible for them to wear clothes of colour without being scared of having sweat stains. Furthermore, social situations that used to be embarassing are now pleasant!

Geneviève Grenier 

Professional nurse injector

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