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What is Axillary Hyperhidrosis? Causes & Treatments

September 21, 2020 6 min read

axillary hyperhidrosis

Sweating is a normal part of the human life cycle. Each of us carries up to 4 million glands used to emit sweat all over our bodies. People sweat for a myriad of reasons, including:

  • Temperature
  • Mood
  • Illness
  • Medication
  • Exercise
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Weight
  • Nutrition

Most people experience underarm sweating. And while it isn’t something you want to experience at social functions or in the office, it’s perfectly acceptable at the gym. Most individuals manage underarm sweat with store-bought antiperspirants, deodorants, and regular hygiene. But what happens when your sweat is unmanageable?

Axillary hyperhidrosis is when a person experiences underarm sweating at a significantly greater and more chronic level. 

What is Hyperhidrosis?

Before we get into the cause of and treatments for axillary hyperhidrosis, let’s first examine hyperhidrosis in general. By definition, hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes the body to sweat excessively, even when there is nothing to trigger sweat. The disorder is chronic, causing constant sweating at inappropriate and inopportune times. It can be extremely embarrassing to those affected by it, altering romantic, social, and work lives.

    There are two types of hyperhidrosis:

    1. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is the most common form. It occurs when overactive sweat glands produce copious amounts of sweat without a trigger.
    2. Secondary hyperhidrosis is caused by hormones and health-related problems. Examples of secondary hyperhidrosis causes include hyperthyroidism, obesity, diabetes, and reactions to certain medications.

    Areas most affected by hyperhidrosis include:

    • Underarms (also called axillary hyperhidrosis)
    • Face and head (craniofacial hyperhidrosis)
    • Soles of feet (plantar hyperhidrosis)
    • Palms of hands (palmar hyperhidrosis)
    • Pelvic area including butt

    So the official definition is that axillary hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive underarm sweating.

    What Causes Axillary Hyperhidrosis?

    While there are several natural causes for sweat, none of these apply to axillary hyperhidrosis. Research suggests that the condition may be hereditary, as many sufferers have a sibling or parent also experiencing symptoms of the disorder. But in all honesty, nobody knows for sure what causes axillary hyperhidrosis.

    Not having an exact cause of primary hyperhidrosis means physicians must find ways to treat the symptoms, rather than the cause. This creates a need for long-term treatment strategies.

    Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes the body to sweat excessively, even when there is nothing to trigger sweat.

    Axillary Hyperhidrosis Treatments

    prescription for underarm sweating

    Since the discovery of axillary hyperhidrosis people have been wondering how to stop excessive underarm sweating. For many, the answer is medicated deodorant. But advancements in medical technology and research have made it possible to treat axillary hyperhidrosis in various ways.


    1. Home Remedies for Axillary Hyperhidrosis

    Since the discovery of mortality, there have been home remedies to heal what ails you. The same can be said for excessive underarm sweating home remedies. Some of these treatments include:

    • Watching What You EatSpicy food, alcohol, and caffeine are all known to encourage sweating. Steering clear of these foods and drinks will help reduce symptoms of hyperhidrosis.
    • Shaving Your Underarms – The hair on your underarms not only holds moisture making you feel sweaty even when you’re not, it retains heat as well. If you sweat excessively, the last thing you want is warm armpits all day long.
    • Waiting Between Showers and Dressing – For chronic sweaters, heat can trigger a sweating spree. After enjoying a nice hot shower, be sure to dry off and let your body acclimate to the cool air outside your bathroom before dressing. Dressing too quickly locks the heat in under your clothing and will encourage sweating.
    • Staying Hydrated – It sounds counterintuitive, but the more water your body has, the less it sweats. Why? Because sweat is your body’s way of flushing out toxins. By diluting toxins with water, there is less to flush out through sweat.

    These are a few of the ways to deal with excessive sweat on your own at home. Check out our comprehensive list of home remedies for hyperhidrosis. There are also over-the-counter remedies to try.

    2. Prescriptions for Axillary Hyperhidrosis

    One axillary hyperhidrosis treatment is prescription medication. Oral medicines reduce sweating by decreasing the stimulation of your sweat glands. Most prescriptions for underarm sweating include anticholinergics. These medicines block acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, from sending chemical messages to trigger sweat.

    Oral medicines reduce sweating by decreasing the stimulation of your sweat glands.

    Another medication used for axillary hyperhidrosis is beta-blockers, which affect your central nervous system. These work best for those who feel they sweat most in situations that cause anxiety.

    Finding the right medication for you requires the help of a physician, as each prescription for underarm sweating acts differently on the body.

    3. Laser Therapy, Injections & Wipes for Axillary Hyperhidrosis

    Alternative methods for oral medication include laser therapy, injections, and medicated wipes. The most common of these are:

    • Botox – An injectable treatment using onabutulinum toxin A, Botox stops sweating at a semi-permanent level. Patients require reapplication once every 6-7 months.
    • miraDry – A laser heat therapy, miraDry offers a permanent solution to excessive underarm sweating. The application of laser treatment closes pores and destroys sweat glands inside the underarms. This stops the production of sweat at the root. Unfortunately, this treatment only works on the underarm area, leaving excessive sweaters with other problem areas to deal with.
    • QBREXZA – Individually packaged wipes used once daily are another option for excessive sweaters. Each wipe is medicated with glycopyrronium tosylate to block sweat gland receptors.

    As with any medicated treatment, there are benefits and side effects to each. It’s a good idea to speak to your physician about available treatments and how they could affect you long term before selecting one.

    4. Medicated Antiperspirant for Axillary Hyperhidrosis

    Deodorant and antiperspirant have long been the top agent used in the fight against sweat and odors caused by sweat. For those with axillary hyperhidrosis, standard brand antiperspirants aren’t enough. Fortunately, there are prescription antiperspirants that use Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate available for purchase. The combination of liquid from sweat and Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate, creates a gel-like substance that blocks pores from emitting sweat.

    How you use antiperspirant is just as important as which product you choose. It’s important to clean and dry the area thoroughly before use. The best time to apply medicated antiperspirant is before bed.

    excessive underarm sweating home remedies

    5. Using Your Wardrobe to Manage Axillary Hyperhidrosis

    Believe it or not, the clothing you wear can also play a role in treating, or masking, excessive sweating. The commonality of this disorder has created an entire movement in the fashion industry for absorbent and breathable materials.

    There are many different brands selling clothing that can assist in reducing the visibility of your sweat. Absorbent underclothes are a popular seller because they soak up sweat before it has a chance to reach your outer clothing. 

    There are also products that repel liquid and stains. These are a great way to manage ongoing sweat throughout the day and keep your clothing longer. At Ejis, we create sweat proof basics that act against hyperhidrosis in several ways. These include:

    • Silver infused fibers – Silver is a natural antibacterial agent. By infusing it into the fibers of our clothing it blocks odors and bacteria caused by sweat. It also helps regulate body temperature.
    • Sweat proof technology – Ejis sweat proof basics block sweat from reaching your clothes. This means, while you will continue to sweat, it won’t transfer onto your dress shirt, pants or jacket.
    • Completely breathable – While you wear your sweat proof Ejis undershirts and boxer briefs, you don’t need to worry about overheating. The materials we use are breathable, keeping you cool, even if your sweat glands don’t realize it.

    Having the right clothing in your wardrobe will drastically improve the way you feel about yourself despite this condition.

    Knowing you have options to help you live your day-to-day life without the fear of armpit stains and sweat marks is a big deal. Having the right clothing in your wardrobe will drastically improve the way you feel about yourself despite this condition.

    There may not be a guaranteed cure for hyperhidrosis but having somebody in your corner striving to create a more comfortable, sweat-free environment helps. From sweat proof undershirts to boxer briefs and dress socks, Ejis will keep you looking your best in any given situation. (Buy from our shopor on Amazon.)

    This article was originally published in January 2020, and was updated in September 2020.

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