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Hot Idea for Some People

Managing Perspiration and Odor

For people who suffer from excessive underarm sweating (or primary axillary hyperhidrosis), RVA’s hot and miserably humid summers can be a season of stress, embarrassment, and frequent clothing changes. But that doesn’t have to be the case anymore. A new procedure called miraDry is available for men and women in Central Virginia. It’s the only non-invasive FDA-cleared aesthetic treatment that safely removes underarm sweat and odor glands. As an added bonus, many people experience a reduction in underarm hair.

Although sweating is an essential part of the body’s cooling system, we don’t need the sweat glands in our underarms. Each of us is born with approximately 2 million sweat glands, and our underarms contain only about 2 percent of that total. This procedure targets the sweat glands in the underarms; the rest of the body will continue to perspire normally.

The miraDry procedure takes just over an hour to perform. Once you’re in a reclining position, the underarms are numbed and then treated with proprietary energy technology. During treatment, you might experience tingling, a warm sensation, or nothing at all. After the anesthetic wears off, you may feel a stinging sensation and slight swelling in the underarms. Ice packs are recommended – some patients say using frozen, mini-size water bottles is a good idea. There’s no required downtime, and you can resume your daily routine right away, with the exception of strenuous lifting or exercise in the first twenty-four hours.

Regular antiperspirants typically reduce sweat by 20 percent. Clinical antiperspirants offer roughly 30 percent relief. In its early stages, miraDry has been clinically shown to reduce sweat by up to 82 percent – permanently. Ninety percent of people are successfully treated with one treatment. The other ten percent may need a touch-up treatment six weeks after the first.

The cost of the treatment is $1950.00, and is not covered by insurance, although you may be able to use your health savings or flexible spending accounts (HSA/FSA). When patients and friends ask me if I think it’s worth it, I tell them to imagine being free – free to wear the black dress without white stains of not-so-invisible protection of deodorant or antiperspirant, free to enjoy your wedding day without any fear of sweat or odor (and deodorant) when you take your jacket off, free to wear a satin shirt without having to slather on deodorant repeatedly, or pack a change of clothes. And free to work out without paying for odor-free exercise clothes all the time. For many people, the cost might be worth it. Plus, there’s the added benefit of no longer having to shave.

Whether you sweat a lot or just a little (but especially if you sweat a lot!), with miraDry, you can embrace life to the fullest without fear or embarrassment of underarm issues getting in the way.

Catherine Douglas, WHNP-BC, is a board-certified nurse practitioner practicing at Virginia Women’s Center since 2007. She stays active collecting Star Wars memorabilia, building LEGO sets with her 5- and 6-year olds, and exercising at the gym.
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