Q: I suffer from excessive underarm sweating. I’ve tried every over-the-counter antiperspirant on the market and nothing really helps. I heard that there’s a new procedure that can really help curb excessive underarm sweating. Can you tell me what it’s about and what the risks are?
A: Axillary hyperhidrosis, or excessive underarm sweating, affects millions of people around the world (about three percent of the population). It is a medical condition in which the underarm sweat glands are overactive and produce more sweat than is needed to cool the body. Excessive underarm sweating can be a truly debilitating, daily struggle that interferes with all aspects of a person’s everyday life. Many of the patients we see at our practice are embarrassed and anxious about their underarm sweat. They’re tired of ruining their clothes—in fact, many of them bring another shirt to change into after their appointments. Most of these patients say they’ve tried everything, from medical deodorant to Botox injections, but these only provide temporary relief. They want a safe and permanent solution.
A recent medical treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis is miraDry. It’s a quick procedure that uses the only FDA-cleared, non-invasive technology to provide lasting results. MiraDry uses precisely controlled electromagnetic energy to eliminate underarm sweat glands. Because the sweat glands don’t come back once eliminated, the results are dramatic and lasting. In fact, in a recent clinical study, the average sweat reduction was 82 percent. The outpatient procedure generally lasts about two- to two-and-a-half hours total, and there is minimal to no downtime following the treatment. Patients are usually advised to have two procedures three months apart in order to maximize the results.
As a physician who offers this procedure, I’m constantly asked, “Don’t I need my underarm sweat glands?” or, “Will there be any compensatory sweating in other parts of my body?” The answer to both questions is no. Our bodies contain more than four-million sweat glands, and only two percent are located in the underarms. Eliminating these glands will not affect the body’s ability to cool itself.