Excessive underarm sweating, also medically known as axillary hyperhidrosis, can range from mild dampness to severe dripping. In some cases, it can even result in substantial impairment in quality of life. Despite being a very prevalent condition (estimated to affect between 1 and 3 in every 100 people in the UK), there's still a lot of misconception about hyperhidrosis.
In the post, we will debunk 7 common myths about excessive underarm sweating and set you on the path of getting a long-lasting solution.
1. It's Just Sweating —Not a Big Deal
The average person has 2 to 4 million sweat glands. Sweat is essential to human survival and serves as the body's coolant, protecting it from overheating. We all sweat but some sweat more than others. This has lead to many people dismissing hyperhidrosis as just another term for regular sweating. This is a false assumption.
The reality is people with hyperhidrosis often produce 4 or 5 times more sweat than is considered "normal". While sweating too much is not dangerous or life-threatening, it's very limiting. It can make you self-conscious, disrupt your daily activities, and result in embarrassment and social anxiety.
2. Poor Personal Hygiene Causes Hyperhidrosis
A common misconception is that excessive sweating occurs when someone's hygiene practices aren't up to par. This couldn't be farther from the truth! In fact, most people who suffer from excessive underarm sweating are some of the cleanest individuals you will come across.
They often have to go the extra mile to stay clean and dry by changing clothes or showering multiple times a day as a coping mechanism. But this doesn't make the sweating go away. Hyperhidrosis has nothing to do with how clean you are.
That said, it's important to note that excessive sweat that isn't managed to some degree by good hygiene can predispose someone to foul odour.
3. If You Just Calm Down, You'll Stop Sweating So Much.
Did you know that your underarms can secrete up to 30 times more sweat when you're under stress than when at rest? Stress and anxiety are proven causes of axillary hyperhidrosis. But if you've read our article: 7 Possible Triggers of Hyperhidrosis, you by now know that stress is only one among many possible triggers of excessively sweaty armpits. Other likely causes include menopause, sleep apnea and an overactive thyroid.
So while engaging in deep breathing, mediation or other stress management practices is beneficial, these can sometimes only go so far.
4. You Can Fix it Yourself
It's easy to be misled by well-wishing friends and family who recommend things like "lose weight, and you'll be fine." Such recommendations rarely work and can, in some instances, prove harmful.
As you have read from the point above, excessive sweating can be attributed to different triggers. Some of these can be life-threatening and need professional medical attention.
And in most cases, this means a visit to a medical practitioner to diagnose and treat any underlying condition. This is the first step to bringing excessive sweating to stop or at the very least make it more manageable.
The reality is that it's nearly impossible to diagnose the cause of your hyperhidrosis by yourself.
5. There's Nothing You Can Do—You'll Always Be Like This.
An October 2016 study published in the Archives of Dermatological Research showed that 50% of people with hyperhidrosis were yet to see a doctor, often because they didn't think anything could be done.
If the numerous positive reviews we have gotten from patients treating their axillary hyperhidrosis with Botox is anything to go by, something can be done! Let no one ever convince you that you're helpless.
In 2004, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved Botox to treat excessive underarm sweating in patients unable to obtain relief using antiperspirants and other therapies. For more than 15 years, Botox has been used to effectively and safely provide reprieve to countless people who have hyperhidrosis.
6. Antiperspirants Are Adequate for All Cases of Hyperhidrosis
Antiperspirants are often the first-line therapy for excessive underarm sweating and also the mainstream solution. And it makes complete sense to start with this easy and straightforward topical treatment. Antiperspirant contains an active ingredient that enables it to reduce the amount of sweat a person can produce.
Not to be confused with deodorant, which has no effect on the amount of sweat produced but instead has antibacterial properties to combat body odour. For some people who have mild cases of hyperhidrosis, over the counter or clinical strength antiperspirants will be adequate. But for more severe hyperhidrosis, antiperspirant probably won't cut it.
Occasionally further treatment is necessary, and you have to consider options like prescription medicine, MiraDry System, Botox injections and surgery. Make sure to carry out adequate research and ask your doctor about the pros and cons before settling on any treatment option.
7. Surgery is the Ideal Solution.
While some people living with hyperhidrosis have found relief after undergoing surgery to remove sweat glands, the International Hyperhidrosis Society recommends that surgery only be considered as a "last resort" after other treatment options have failed.
That's because surgically removing sweat glands could trigger side effects like irregular heartbeat, abnormally low blood pressure, heat intolerance, or excessive sweating on other areas of the body.
At Dr Aesthetica, we recommend Botox, a safe and minimally invasive alternative for treating excessive underarm sweating.
The first step to overcoming excessive underarm sweating is educating yourself about the condition. This means letting go of any misconception or misinformation that might be standing in the way of you getting a long-lasting solution. We hope this article has encouraged you to do just that! If you would like to learn more about how we use Botox injections to put a stop to sweaty armpits, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.
We look forward to helping you overcome this often embarrassing and limiting condition.