Sunday, July 03, 2011

Armpit medicine finds sweat solution

COMEDIANS like the great John Cleese must get great inspiration from everyday activities like browsing the Classifieds. Just imagine Cleese, with dead parrot on his shoulder, fronting up to Bayside Cosmetic Medicine Clinic at Victoria Point and demanding: "The headline on your ad says 'armpit sweating' and I'd like an economy-sized packet, thank you."
But that's where the joke ends. The clinic's Find Us First notice, in fact, offered an "effective solution" for excessive armpit sweating, which consulting physician Gertrude Behan says carries the medical name, axillary hyperhydrosis.
It's not funny to the many sufferers.

DR BEHAN Behan says the causes are multifactorial but the major contributor is parasympathetic overdrive, which is related to the body's nervous systems.
"We all get a bit more sweaty in our underarm region when we are nervous and a bit more sweaty when we are hot, but sufferers of underarm sweatiness will tell you that though their sweatiness is more acute when they are stressed or hot it is a problem for them all the time," she says.
"The people who suffer the most are genetically predisposed to sweaty underarms and it bothers them the most when they are different from the people they are with."

GLANDS in the armpits empty because tiny muscles contract, Dr Behan says; the solution involves superficial injection of botulinum into the dermal muscles so they do not contract.
"Botulinum has been used since the 1940s for treating cerebral palsy," she says. "It has also been used in treating ocular squints.
"It is a recently adopted treatment for hyperhydrosis. Previously a spinal operation which severed the parasympathetic nerve supply to the axilla was advocated. However, in my experience very few people proceeded with this treatment."
Dr Behan has advertised the treatment option because "it is both so little known and an effective treatment which has been almost life changing in the confidence and happiness it brings hyperhydrosis sufferers; the treatment is on the NHS in the UK but unfortunately does not have a Medicare rebate here".

GERTRUDE Behan was born in Chinchilla, attended school in Brisbane and studied medicine at Queensland University. She has a background in general practice and has worked in the Redlands for 20 years.
"When I was in my thirties I had my first skin cancer excised from my face," she says. "Beautiful skin is healthy skin and Queenslanders are so fortunate that so much research has been devoted to improving skin health in recent years.
"I am passionate about skin health and have a blog attached to my website ( area I find very exciting and hope more research is directed towards is how diet may affect one's susceptibility to burn in the sun."

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times. Image courtesy

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