Axillary hyperhidrosis (AH) is a chronic neurological condition that causes excessive underarm sweating. Since sweating is a natural physiological response to stress and the environment, defining ‘excessive’ sweating can be difficult and can lead to individuals not seeking treatment. As a result, AH is often undiagnosed in the US; given that axillary hyperhidrosis is highly treatable, it can needlessly impact the personal and professional lives of those who suffer from the condition.
In the US in 2021, GlobalData epidemiologists forecast roughly 1.75 million lifetime diagnosed prevalent cases of AH. While this is a substantial number of individuals, it represents little more than 0.50% of the population and is much lower than the widely cited 2002 estimate published by Strutton and colleagues with an AH total prevalence (includes both undiagnosed and diagnosed cases) of 1.4%, or over 4.68 million cases. This disparity represents a diagnosis rate of only 40% and a difference of over 2.93 million individuals (as shown in Figure 1). This indicates that more targeted efforts are needed to increase awareness and clarify diagnostic criteria to significantly increase the number of people diagnosed and treated for AH.
A potential point for intervention is by raising awareness in men. Despite AH occurring at roughly equal rates by biological sex, men are less likely to be diagnosed than women as women are more likely to seek treatment for a variety of reasons such as stigma and social expectations. According to GlobalData epidemiologists, 60% of AH cases occur in women, while only 40% of AH cases occur in men, which suggests that roughly two men are diagnosed for every three women. Closing this gap alone would result in an additional 353,000 individuals being diagnosed, many of them likely to receive treatment to help mitigate the negative impact on their personal and professional lives.
Without intervention, the number of undiagnosed individuals will continue to rise. Thus, it is crucial to raise awareness about the condition in both the general population and among clinicians to increase the number of diagnosed individuals and improve patient outcomes.