Thursday, May 17, 2012

Do you sweat too much? Read this.

Several million people suffer from hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating.  It is estimated that 2-3% of population has hyperhidrosis.  People with hyperhidrosis often sweat even when it’s cool outside.  It runs in families and many people choose to live with it since, no permanent effective treatment existed until now.  There are several conditions that can cause excessive sweating such as menopause, hyperthyroidism.  This is termed secondary hyperhidrosis. 

The main symptoms are excessive underarm perspiration.  It can effect the palms and soles of the feet.  Most people with excessive sweating have had to alter their lifestyles, and their clothing because it causes many embarrassing moments not to mention permanent stains to blouses, shirts and other articles of clothing.

Available Treatments:

This is the front line of therapy for most people.  Usually the deodorant consists of 10-20% aluminum chloride hexahydrate.  This can be irritating to your skin and expensive.  It can also cause damage to your clothing. 

Some people have tried anti-cholinergics such as robinul but these are not very popular due to side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness and difficulty urinating.

This is an FDA approved procedure that utilizes electric current to temporarily shut down sweat glands.  This is effective for hands and feet.  It takes 10-20 minutes per session and several sessions are needed.

The FDA has approved Botox for underarm sweating.  About 70-100 units are divided equally between the patient’s armpits and injected.  At a cost of $10-$12.00 per unit the expense is considerable.  The Botox may last 3-6, months but again is only temporary.

Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS)- 
This transects the nerve that is responsible for stimulating your sweat glands.  This is usually not too effective for excessive armpit sweating.  It’s good if someone has excessive palms, sole or facial sweating.

Other surgical rx’s-
Sometimes one can use special suction cannula to remove the sweat glands or use a special surgical shaver which will “shave” away the glands.  These are surgical procedures; often require anesthesia and a more prolonged recovery.

This can be a very disabling and devastating condition.  It causes extreme embarrassment.  Many people alter their types of clothing- the colors they wear.  They limit their arms or shoulder movement so as to not reveal their wet armpits.  It can affect careers where people need to manipulate equipment with their hands, like a surgeon.  Then there is a risk of dehydration.  I had one patient who would drive to work with her armpit hanging out the car window to “keep them dry.”


Late last year, miraDry was approved by the FDA to correct permanently excessive axillary or armpit sweating.  It is NOT used to treat excessive hand or foot sweating.

The procedure is done under local anesthesia as an out-patient.  In Fort Myers, FL, this will be either in the licensed surgery center of Dr. Robert J. Brueck MD, who is the only Southwest Florida surgeon licensed to perform the procedure, or at Fort Myers' All-Inclusive Medi-Spa, by staff trained to perform the procedure.  The area of skin with excessive sweating is determined and infiltrated with local anesthetic, similar to the way Novacaine is administered when having a tooth filled. The miraDry procedure is then performed.  The treatment of both armpits takes around 40 to 45 minutes.  The miraDry machine delivers electro-magnetic energy to the armpit area to eliminate the eccrine or sweat glands.  Once eliminated, these glands DO NOT regenerate.

What will it feel like?  There are no incisions.  Once the local is injected, we wait 5-10 minutes for it to take effect.  This totally eliminates any pain or discomfort.

What do I do after the treatment?  It’s simple, we usually put some ice packs under the patient’s arms and they are discharged home.  The most important thing the first day or two is ice to minimize the swelling.  Usually a simple Motrin or Advil is all that is needed for controlling minimal pain.  You can shower the next day and go to work.

What are the results?   Most patients will experience an immediate reduction in their underarm sweating.  In one clinical trial patients experienced an 86% reduction.

How many treatments do I need?  You will need 2 treatments separated by about 3 months to maximize your results.  On rare occasions a person may need a 3rd treatment.

How long does it last?  The decrease in sweating is permanent.  Once the eccrine sweat glands are destroyed by the electromagnetic waves, they do NOT regenerate.

Is it harmful to de-activate under arm sweat glands?  The sweat glands in the under arm area represent only 2% of the total number so there are NO more bad side effects.

Who can have mira-dry?   Patients should be 18 years or older. If you have excessive sweating, this is made to order.

Dr. Brueck, a Board Certified Fort Myers plastic surgeon, advises that this article is for informational purposes only and should not regarded as medical advice. 

(c) 2012 Dr. Robert J. Brueck MD


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home