Sweating is completely normal and necessary for the body to reduce heat. However, excessive sweating (or hyperhidrosis) is a condition that affects the amount of perspiration produced by the body. Sweaty palms is the most common form of hyperhidrosis. It can also cause excessive foot, underarm and facial sweating. Hyperhidrosis is caused by overactivity in the sweat glands which produces sweat in greater amounts than the body actually needs.
Patients with excessive sweating complain of soaking of the underarms within minutes of getting dressed. They also complain of persistent wetness of the palms. The sweating is often uncontrollable, embarrassing and not anticipated. Patients who do not seek treatment suffer throughout their entire lives from it, and can have severe psychological and emotional effects from it. The condition can leave the affected areas constantly damp, making everyday activities difficult to carry out and inevitably causing embarrassment to the sufferer.
BOTOX® is normally used to treat facial frown lines and wrinkles by temporarily paralysing the muscles but it can also be effectively used to prevent the sweat glands from producing excess levels of sweat. Before the days of BOTOX®, surgery was one of the only methods to help some of these patients. Nowadays, excessive sweating can be easily controlled with BOTOX® injections.
Benefits of Excessive Sweating Treatment
- The treatment is quick and simple to perform and can reduce and almost eliminate sweating for around 6 months
- The treatment is non-invasive with virtually no recovery time necessary: you can resume your normal activities immediately after treatment
- Not permanent and will naturally break down
- Increases confidence and makes wearing your favourite clothes more comfortable
How is Excessive Sweating treatment performed?
Using a very fine needle, a small amount of BOTOX®, is injected into 10 to 15 places about 1 cm apart and spread evenly in each area. BOTOX® blocks the actions of the nerves that supply the eccrine glands. This prevents the glands from producing sweat. BOTOX® blocks the nerve endings, but over about 4-8 months new nerve endings grow to replace them. Thus repeated treatment is necessary to maintain the result.
How effective is the treatment & how long will the results last?
Effects of the treatment commence within the first week and a significant reduction in underarm sweating is usually evident within 4 weeks. Different people have different responses to treatment. However, usually the treatment lasts an average of 6 months before further injections are required. This treatment will not abolish sweating completely, but you should notice a dramatic reduction.
Who is not suitable for this treatment?
It is not suitable for people with neuromuscular transmission disorders (e.g. Myasthenia Gravis), chronic respiratory problems, coagulation disorders, pregnant women, breastfeeding mums, if there is a history of allergy to the injection ingredients or infection at the injection site or if the patient is taking any of the following medications: aminoglycoside antibiotics, anticoagulants, aspirin or muscle relaxants.
Risks & Complications
Side effects are generally infrequent and rarely troublesome. There may be increased sweating in other parts of the body and, even more rarely, there may be slight muscle weakness. These effects disappear within 4 months without requiring additional treatment.
Alternative Treatments for excessive sweating
Many treatments for excessive sweating have been described, but few are effective and acceptable, and none have been without possible complications.
- Topical agents may cause irritation and staining, and are not effective
- Iontophoresis may provide relief, but is time consuming and requires frequent and numerous treatments. It is not effective
- Tablets frequently have unacceptable side effects, and are only partially effective
- Surgical Operations often fail to cure excessive sweating and can produce numerous complications