Botox Sweating – Hyperhidrosis
Botox Excessive Sweating
Botox for excessive sweating
Although not as commonly known as the use of Botox® for wrinkles, Botox® is an excellent treatment for excessive sweating, particularly of the armpits. Treatment is almost universally successful and in most patients, will last 6-12 months.
Excessive sweating (termed Hyperhidrosis) is a very distressing condition for patients resulting in social embarrassment. Without the use of Botox, many of our patients find their sweating is so excessive that on occasions the sweat literally drips from their armpits or palms. This has traditionally been very difficult to control.
Why do we sweat?
Sweat is our bodies temperature regulator – we sweat to rid our body of excess heat. Excessive sweating is caused by overactive sweat glands where the sweating significantly exceeds the bodies normal requirement for cooling.
What causes severe sweating / Hyperhidrosis?
There are 2 recognised categories of excessive sweating:
It is not related to any significant medical reasons in most people. It affects around 5% of the population and can start in the teenage years. It is unclear why this form of excessive sweating occurs. It is the most common cause of excessive sweating and is able to be treated with Botox® even if other treatments such as antiperspirants are not successful.
Occasionally an underlying medical cause for the excessive sweating can be found such as an overactive thyroid gland, spinal cord injuries, neurological disorders or cardiovascular problems. This type of Hyperhidrosis is treated by treating the underlying cause and does not need Botox®.
What causes Primary excessive sweating?
Our sweat glands push sweat into our skin via a tiny muscle that acts like a pump to propel the sweat from the sweat gland under our skin onto the skin’s surface.
For reasons we are not entirely clear about, in primary hyperhidrosis the activity of these sweat gland associated muscles are overactive.
How does Botox for excessive sweating work?
Botox® works by temporarily blocking the chemical signals that cause the sweat gland associate muscles to contract.
There are hundreds, possibly thousands of these very small sweat gland associated muscles in each or our armpits or palms and so by blocking the majority of these small muscles from working Botox® significantly reduces the amount of sweating.
What is involved in the treatment?
It is a very simple procedure. It involves a number of small injections with a small needle more akin to a small pin that what many people perceive as a needle. Fortunately, Botox® will spread about 1-2 cm out from each treatment site and in doing so limits the sweat production over this area. Because of this spreading effect, a limited number of injections are required in each area. Typically, in an armpit, these injections are literally like a ‘small prick’.
Treatment is quick and takes only about 10-15 minutes. There is no downtime so patients can immediately return to their normal activities.
However, the palm and soles of the feet are more uncomfortable to have injected and local anaesthetic creams or maybe even local anaesthetic blocks are sometimes needed to treat these areas.
How successful if the treatment?
Treatment is effective in 100% of patients and a marked difference should be noticed within 2-10 days.
The longevity of treatment varies but most patients will experience 8-12 months of significantly reduced sweating (on average sweating is reduced by about 80%). Thus, in most patients, the treatment is once a year.