Is miraDry a solution for sweaty hands and feet?

My underarm do not sweat as much as my hands and feet. It's embarrassing to shake hands with people, because whenever I'm a bit excited, nervous or even scared, my palms and feet get completely slimy. I've noticed miraDry is used to treat armpit hyperhidrosis, but I don't know if the same treatment can be applied to other body areas.


F, 43, New Jersey

Tags:woman hands feet armpit excessive sweating hyperhidrosis sweat

Unfortunately, no. Not yet. MiraDry is a very effective solution for treating focal hyperhidrosis of the armpits. It's mechanism of function is to intentionally destroy sweat glands in the treatment area by use of electromagnetic energy. But for patients suffering from primary hyperhidrosis in other areas of the body, Botox is the most commonly recommended clinical solution.

Please note that if you are experiencing general or secondary hyperhidrosis, characterized by excessive sweating all over the body, you need to seek medical attention. Excessive body-wide sweating may be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition. Some possible health conditions associated with secondary or general hyperhidrosis include low blood sugar, lymphoma, an overactive thyroid, Parkinson's disease, fibromyalgia, congestive heart failure and side effects of certain medications.

Excessive perspiration of just the hands (palmoplantar hyperhidrosis) and the feet, however, is more likely to be caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system. The condition is often made worse in situations where individuals are experiencing excessive emotional stress or anxiety -- such as work or certain personal and social situations.

I can't offer any specific medical advice without a personal consultation, but I advise you to consult with a board-certified dermatologist to discuss your specific sweating issues, and to explore whether a twice annual Botox treatment may be right for you.

MiraDry has only been FDA-cleared for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis, or excessively sweaty underarms. It is an excellent technology that may be available for treating excessive sweating in other areas at some future date. But until that day comes the two most commonly recommended treatments are Botox injections and a DIY treatment called "iontophoresis".

My first recommendation is to consult with a board-certified dermatologist to determine the cause of your sweating. It's important to rule out some potentially serious underlying conditions that are also associated with excessive sweating. One thing to keep in mind about hyperhidrosis is that localized sweating in just one area usually isn’t serious, but full body, or "general hyperhidrosis", is potentially very serious.

If your hyperhidrosis isn’t serious and caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system (as is the most common cause of sweaty hands) your doctor may recommend Botox.

The procedure only takes 10 to 15 minutes and the improvements to sweating generally last somewhere between six and seven months.

That's a good thought, but the answer is unfortunately “no”. MiraDry is an FDA-cleared, clinical treatment for primary hyperhidrosis of the armpits. It’s a non-invasive solution that eliminates odor-producing sweat glands in the treatment area.

MiraDry works by directing very precise electromagnetic energy to the armpits. This EM energy is strong enough to permanently destroy the underarm sweat-producing glands. (The average human body has somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 million sweat glands, so eliminating a small number of them to reduce sweating is not dangerous). While MiraDry could theoretically treat palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands), it has yet to be cleared in the United States for use on other parts of the body.

Until such time as MiraDry is approved for treating sweaty palms and feet, your best treatment options are Botox injections and home administered "iontophoresis".

Most people are familiar with Botox injections for cosmetic treatments of the face. The active ingredient in Botox (botulinum toxin) blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and prevents facial muscles from contracting. While Botox is well-known to work wonders as a wrinkle fighter, it's also an excellent clinical treatment for the prevention of excessive sweating in cases of focal hyperhidrosis.

Iontophoresis on the other hand, is a home treatment that’s been commonly used for over 75 years. It’s been clinically shown to decrease sweating in the hands and feet with three self-administered electric water bath treatments per week. The process is simple and uses a mild electrical current to alter the permeability of the skin on your hands and feet. By changing the voltage gradient across the skin, transdermal drug transport across the skin barrier can be facilitated.

Iontophoresis does work to prevent sweaty hands and feet, but the number of required weekly treatments makes it an imperfect solution for many patients. It’s no wonder patients often opt for the simplicity of a single Botox injection every 6 months instead. If your sweating problem is bothering you and you're interested in an easy, low maintenance solution, I encourage you to contact a board-certified dermatologist to discuss Botox injections today.

The best clinical treatments for excessively sweaty hands and feet are Botox and Dysport injections. Both Botox and Dysport are based on the same active ingredient of botulinum toxin, which blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the treatment area.

Botox has been approved for the treatment of focal hyperhidrosis since 2004. The process is very quick -- often taking less than 20 minutes. During the procedure, your injector will carefully place approximately 20 small injections in each hand. To make the experience more comfortable, your doctor may use a topical anesthetic or numbing agent.

Side effects are minimal and may include some short-term weakness in your hands and a small amount of soreness following the procedure. In some cases you may experience mild bruising after your Botox injections. It's advisable to stop using blood thinners and NSAID’s prior to Botox injections in order to reduce incidence of bruising.

In most cases, patients see a marked improvement within two to four weeks. The effects are usually long-lasting, with an average six months of sweat reduction. For many patients with serious sweating problems, regular bi-annual Botox treatments are a life-changer. Many of our patients report increased social confidence and greatly improved quality of life.

So to answer your question about MiraDry: The short answer is "no". MiraDry does not have FDA clearance for any areas other than armpits.

If you are interested in treating your sweaty hands and feet, I advise you to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon about Botox or Dysport injections. We have had excellent results with this treatment and I encourage anyone whose sweaty hands and feet are a chronic problem to learn more about Botox treatment. 

Miradry does not yet have a means of treating excessive palmar sweating.  Best options at this time are Botox injections or home iontophoresis treatments.

The company is currently researching other areas, such as the hands and feet per our MiraDry rep. I cannot recall which area they are currently trying to approve. With this in mind, I can only assume the hands and/ or feet may be offered in the near future?