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Excessive Sweating of the armpits also known as (Axillary Hyperhidrosis) or hyperhydrosis
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Excessive sweating of the axillary or armpits is known to the medical community as hyperhidrosis. Laymen know this term as armpit sweating or excessive sweating. Every person experiences excessive sweating, hyperhydrosis and axillary sweating. However, estimates display the fact that there are possibly 1%-5% of the population that is afflicted with sweating so severe that these people consider surgeries to solve their sweating problems. An LA Times article reported that 25% of the US population suffers from excessive perspiration.

Excessive sweating and hyperhydrosis are resistant to most deodorants and "antiperspirants." Many times, people with excessive sweating of the arpmits and axillary regions experience hand sweating (palmar sweating) in addition to foot sweating (plantar hyperhydrosis).

Excessive sweating and hyperhyrosis treatments that involve surgery should only consider surgery after they have exhausted EVERY OTHER METHOD KNOWN TO MANKIND. I say this seriously because we have hundreds of people who have contacted us who have undergone a surgery known as ETS (endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy), have experienced severe compensatory sweating, that is sweating in other parts of the body outside the armpit like the stomach, rear end, crotch and legs. In addition, once the nerves inside the thoracic region have been cut, there is virtually no way to repair them or successfully reverse the surgery. Although some people come out of the surgery just fine, the percentage of people with severe compensatory sweating has to be 10-20% of the patients and not the <1% that is reported to prospective patients seeking surgery consultations.

Excessive sweating and hyperhydrosis surgeries such as ETS can be horrible for this fact and there should be and I say this with caution, a restriction upon who can and can not have this surgery. Or at a minimum, Dr.'s should fully disclose the awful potential of the compensatory sweating side effects and the real percentages of those people who are affected adversely by the surgery.

Dr. Reisfeld of the Center for Hyperhidrosis in CA recommends Maxim antiperspirant as a good surgical alternative. Dr. Reisfeld is one of the best in the field of Thoracic surgery. Dr. Reisfeld does not recommend ETS for excessive hand sweating and excessive armpit sweating.

Normal sweating is required for our body to thermo-regulate or cool off. Sweating in the body also allows our bodies to excrete toxins found in our bodies. Another derivative of armpit sweating is known as axillary bromhidrosis where in this case, bacteria known ias cornebacteria that live on the skin oxidize into a foul smelling odor. There are 2 types of sweat glands in the armpit area. One is called eccrine and the other is called apocrine. The eccrine glands are located deep in the skin and produce the watery sweat solution and the apocrine gland are located near the surface of the skin and produce an protein like chemical. Your hands contain eccrine glands and do not respond to antiperspirants. Your armpits and pubic regions contain apocrine glands and respond well to antiperspirants.

Excessive sweating causes - the reason for excessive armpit sweating and hyperhidrosis is generally related to an overactive sympathetic nervous system. Sometimes food, obesity and anxiety can play a role, but it basically is the way you were created. Although sometimes a medical condition such as diabetes can be attributed to the cause and if this is true, the medical disorder should be treated.

Excessive sweating and hyperhydrosis diagnosis - generally patients know their symptoms very well and can describe them to the Dr. with precision accuracy. There are medications such as Ditropan you can take. Generally I like to recommend a patient take 5 mg tablets 1-3 times per day. Ditropan can make you very sleepy and give a dry mouth but can be helpful to control sweating.

Excessive sweating and hyperhydrosis can also be treated by a machine called Drionic which uses iontophoresis which basically uses electrical current to "zap" or paralyze your sweat glands temporarily.

Surgical Treatments - Outside of ETS, there is probably a good method of surgery which involves removal of the sweat glands in the armpits. Conventional methods involved excision of the sweat glands but this can lead to scarring and hair loss and may lead to a constriction of the skin in the armpit which can restrict your movement. There is a new procedure that Dr. Reisfeld does using suction and scraping (currettage). This is a procedure where the surgeon generally makes small incisions in the armpit and then scrapes or through vaccuum assistance, removes the sweat glands. The success rate I am told is around 90%. This would probably be a good alternative for those who do not respond to conventional treatments for axillary sweating and hyperhydrosis of the armpits.