Axillary Hyperhidrosis

Axillary hyperhidrosis is a condition where an individual experiences excessive sweating in the armpit area, beyond what is needed for body temperature regulation. This condition can lead to significant discomfort, social embarrassment, and practical issues with clothing. It’s a common condition that affects both men and women, often beginning in adolescence or young adulthood.

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Key Points

What is axillary hyperhidrosis?

Axillary hyperhidrosis is a medical condition where the sweat glands in the armpits produce more sweat than necessary for cooling the body. This excessive sweating can occur even without physical exertion or high temperatures.

Who gets axillary hyperhidrosis?

The condition can affect anyone but typically starts in adolescence or early adulthood. The exact cause is often unknown, but it can be linked to family history or certain medical conditions.

Clinical features

The primary symptom is excessive sweating in the armpits, which can soak through clothing and cause noticeable sweat marks. The condition can also lead to skin irritation and an increased risk of skin infections due to the moist environment.

Diagnosis and differential diagnosis

Diagnosis is typically based on the clinical presentation and patient history. It’s important to consider secondary causes of hyperhidrosis, such as hyperthyroidism or diabetes, which require specific treatment.

Impact and complications

Axillary hyperhidrosis can significantly impact social, emotional, and professional aspects of life, causing embarrassment and limiting clothing choices. It can also affect skin health, leading to irritation and infections.

Treatment Options for Axillary Hyperhidrosis

In addressing axillary hyperhidrosis, the treatment strategy is centered on reducing sweat production to enhance the individual’s quality of life. Topical treatments include the use of aluminium chloride hexahydrate in high concentrations and compounded anticholinergic drugs, which can be applied as a roll-on or cream. Oral medications, specifically anticholinergic drugs, are also employed to decrease sweating. Dermatologists trained by the Australasian College of Dermatologists administer anti-sweat injections, which are effective in reducing both sweating and odour. Patients may be eligible for a Medicare rebate under certain criteria when treatment is performed by a dermatologist. Surgery, such as sympathectomy, is considered a last resort and is reserved for severe cases, though it carries significant risks. Lifestyle adjustments, including wearing breathable fabrics and using absorbent materials, can also be beneficial. While there is no cure for axillary hyperhidrosis, these treatments can substantially alleviate symptoms and improve daily living.

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