Laser Treatment Rids Excessive Underarm Sweating

Quinter_Suzanne lab coatPeople who suffer from excessive underarm sweating now have an additional treatment option to rid themselves of an often embarrassing, and sometimes even debilitating, medical condition called axillary hyperhidrosis.

“For some people it’s a condition that rules their life,” says UC Health dermatologist Suzanne Quinter, MD, the only physician in Greater Cincinnati to offer laser treatment designed specifically to address excessive underarm sweating.

Those with the condition, she says, can be affected in life altering ways which range from having to limit their clothing options with regard to color and fabric to more severe emotional issues such as isolation due to embarrassment from stains and odor.

Axillary hyperhidrosis is the result of overactive sweat glands. Two types of glands are located under the arm just below the skin’s surface: the eccrine gland which secretes an odorless, clear fluid to cool the body and the odor producing apocrine gland.

Quinter, also an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, says the laser treatment requires two treatment sessions and destroys the sweat glands. These glands, she says, do not regenerate which offers long-term results in a very short treatment time.

“Luckily, one’s body does not need underarm sweating to regulate body temperature as there are sweat glands throughout the body’s hair-bearing surfaces,” she says, adding that prior to this technology, the only other long-term treatment option was a lifetime of semi-annual botulinum toxin (trade name Botox) injections.

However, with some patients botulinum toxin works and for others it doesn’t block the sweat ducts enough, she says; and while prescription antiperspirants or medications are also available, some patients do not respond to these treatments and there are known side effects to the medications such as mild to severe allergic reactions.

Since the laser treatment is considered a cosmetic procedure, as are the botulinum toxin injections, Quinter says she recommends the laser treatment for a faster and more effective result. Although the laser treatment procedure requires numbing of the area, the known side effects are temporary pain and mild to moderate swelling which resolves with time, she says.

“It’s basically two treatments and you are done with underarm sweating,” she says, adding that the laser treatments are currently only approved for under the arms.

The cost of treatment is approximately $3,000; however, Quinter says the cost of biannual botulinum toxin injections adds up to about the same amount after one year.

Quinter sees patients at UC Health Physicians Office North in West Chester.

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