What Is It?
Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating caused by over-active sweat glands) is a medical condition that causes excessive sweating beyond what is necessary for the body to regulate temperature. People who have this condition may sweat even in cool temperatures or when they are resting. Excessive sweating can sometimes occur as early as childhood, but more commonly it begins with the onset of puberty. Occasionally over-active sweat glands appear later in adult life for unknown reasons. Hyperhidrosis is a result of increased secretion of eccrine sweat and usually occurs on the underarms, palms, soles of the feet, forehead and can have a significant impact on the quality of life for many men and women. At least 3% of the global population suffer from this medical condition.
Types Of Hyperhidrosis
There are two types of hyperhidrosis:
Primary focal hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating that is not caused by another medical condition, nor is it a side-effect of medications. This type of sweating occurs on very specific areas of the body (focal areas) and is usually symmetric, i.e. the left and right sides of the body are affected similarly. The disorder is classified as axillary (underams), palmar (palms of the hands) or plantar (soles of the feet). Adolescents and adults with hyperhidrosis often struggle with various social implications caused by the condition, rarely seeking treatment and often choosing to suffer in silence. Around 90% of people with excessive sweating have this type.
Secondary generalised hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating caused by another medical condition, or as a side-effect of a medication.
How To Manage Excessive Sweating
There are some factors that trigger the excessive sweating and these will differ between individuals, but can include anxiety, exercise, hot weather, spicy foods and stress. Lifestyle measures to reduce the signs of hyperhidrosis include wearing loose, cool clothing made of fabric that is designed to absorb sweat and not promote odour, as well as specially formulated anti-perspirant deodorants.
Sweat Reducing Procedures
Botulinum toxin has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of severe underarm sweating (primary axillary hyperhidrosis). Injections of small amounts of botulinum toxin into the underarms will temporarily block the nerves that stimulate sweating, with results which may last for six months or longer. It usually takes around 7 – 10 days to take effect. Mild bruising may occur, but usually when armpits are treated, there are no issues after the procedure. In the palms of the hands, some temporary muscle weakness may occur, especially for the muscles of fine motor control of the dominant hand.
miraDry – the Skin Specialist Centre is the only centre in New Zealand (and the first in Australasia) to introduce the miraDry system to reduce underarm sweat and odour.miraDry is a non-invasive FDA-approved treatment that uses light energy to destroy underarm sweat and odour glands. Once those glands are destroyed, they do not grow back, ensuring long-lasting results.
Antiperspirants – topical treatment of hyperhidrosis involves the application of prescription antiperspirant that locally blocks sweat production. Such treatments can be safe to use for maintenance therapy and often prove effective for localised hyperhidrosis.
Sweating can be a problem for many reasons, especially for people in the northern part of the North Island where humidity and temperature remain high for many months of the year. Excessive sweating can cause unsightly sweat stains and, at times, strong body odour and discomfort which can, unfortunately, hinder social events due to embarrassment. Until recently, management of underarm sweating included invasive surgical procedures or ongoing management with topical products or botulinum toxin injections for temporary results. The Skin Specialist Centre is a specialised dermatology practice where the latest medical, surgical, cosmetic and laser and light techniques are either carried out or supervised by specialist dermatologists. The Skin Specialist Centre was the first in New Zealand and Australia to offer the FDA-approved miraDry technology and is still the only specialist dermatology centre in New Zealand which offers this technique, which is a non-invasive procedure which eliminates sweat glands through the delivery of precisely controlled electro-magnetic energy beneath the underarm skin to the specific location of the sweat glands, resulting in their destruction. At the same time, the top layers of the skin are cooled and protected. You will typically see a reduction in underarm sweat immediately after one procedure session; two procedures are typically required to maximise the results and the duration. In controlled clinical trials, between 70 – 90% of patients saw a significant reduction in their underarm sweat, and virtually all the patients achieved some reduction. Patients continued to show a dramatic reduction of sweat when followed twelve months after the procedure. Like any other medical procedure, results can vary from patient to patient, so be advised that large reductions may not occur in every single case. The procedure is successful in reducing underarm sweat by around 85% after two treatments when patients have been assessed twelve months following treatment. Unfortunately, it cannot be used to treat excessive sweating in other areas such as sweaty hands or sweaty feet as the procedure requires an underlying layer of fat. Underarms have this, but hands and feet do not.
If you have been concerned that you could not raise your arms with confidence, or felt you had to throw away your favourite blouse because of staining, the miraDry system may be the appropriate treatment for you.
How Does it Work?
The miraDry system delivers precisely controlled electro-magnetic energy to where the sweat glands reside in the axilla (underarm). The sweat glands are eliminated, and because sweat glands do not grow back, treatment results are lasting and dramatic. As only about 2% of the approximate four million sweat glands in your body are located in the underarms, this treatment will not affect the body’s ability to cool itself.
What Happens During the miraDry Procedure?
The dermatologist and/or his specialist laser nurse customises treatment for each underarm with multiple placements of the miraDry system. Local anaesthesia is administered to the area prior to the procedure to maintain comfort by the tumescent technique (high volume anaesthesia). The procedure normally lasts around one hour. Minimal or no down-time is required following the procedure. We would recommend a mild pain relief medication such as Paracetamol and the application of ice-packs to the treated site for a few days. Exercise can typically be resumed within several days. Mild localised soreness or swelling is normal and usually clears within a few weeks. Occasionally, swelling can be significant, but always resolves with time. Occasional patients have a temporary, short-term altered sensation in the skin of their underarms or upper arms, which gradually disappears. This is very rare and particularly most unlikely to happen when the armpits have been anaesthetised using the tumescent technique.
Are Sweat Reduction Results Permanent?
Yes, the results are permanent as the technology destroys sweat glands, which the body then permanently eliminates.
Is it Safe?
Electro-magnetic energy has been used safely in other areas of medicine for years. Electro-magnetic energy is used in cardiology, general surgery, urology, oncology and cosmetic treatments.
How Do I Know if I am a Good Candidate for miraDry?
The miraDry procedure is ideal for people who are bothered by underarm sweat, have embarrassing underarm sweat outbreaks, and are frustrated through constantly ruining clothes and frequently applying antiperspirant. The miraDry procedure is not for use for hand and feet sweating. Patients must be adult, aged 18 and over.
The miraDry is a two-step process – the first treatment will produce significant results, and following the second treatment you should see as much as an immediate 85% improvement. The treatments are spaced three to four months apart to maximize the results and duration. Patients may also experience a decrease in odour, as well as some permanent hair reduction. Around 10 – 15% of patients will require a third treatment to see full improvement.
Advantages of miraDry:
A quick in-office procedure with minimal downtime
Dramatic reduction of sweat
Fast and lasting results
Non-invasive and toxin-free
What’s the next step?
If you already have an appointment booked at The Skin Specialist Centre, you can easily add an excessive sweating treatment/consultation to your booking by calling our friendly team on (09) 524 5011. If you have never been to The Skin Specialist Centre, you can either give us a call on (09) 524 5011 or make an enquiry by clicking on the Enquire Now option below.