Hyperhidrosis Treatment with Botox®

Botox® injections have emerged as a versatile treatment for a variety of clinical conditions.

From smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles to treating complex muscle spasticity disorders, newer applications for this treatment are being developed every day.

Hyperhidrosis, which is excessive sweating can be embarrassing to the individual and over time can have a significant impact on their quality of life.

Man sweating on the subway

Sweating is a common phenomenon that occurs in every human being. 

It can be a response to exercise and exposure to heat, and is a method to maintain body temperature and preventing over-heating. 

However, in some rare cases, sweating can be a lot more than what is considered ‘physiological’. According to an article in the National Library of Medicine, hyperhidrosis is a common occurrence in as many as 15.3 million people in the United States. Of these, 70% would categorize their excess sweating as severe in at least one area. 

Initial treatment options for hyperhidrosis include the use of over the counter antiperspirants which are effective in most cases. 

However, hyperhidrosis can affect parts of the body such as the hands and feet which can be hard to treat with such measures.

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What types of hyperhidrosis can you treat with botulinum toxins?

Hyperhidrosis can be broken into two types – primary and secondary. 

Primary hyperhidrosis affects the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, armpits, groin area and/or under the breasts. It is usually inherited.

Secondary hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating impacting the entire body. It is usually caused by another condition. This can range from neurologic conditions to menopause or even chronic alcoholism among other sources. 

Axillary hyperhidrosis

Axillary hyperhidrosis is an excess amount of sweating in a patient’s armpits. The cause of this type of hyperhidrosis is unknown.

Palmar hyperhidrosis

Palmar hyperhidrosis is an excess amount of sweating in the palms of a patient’s hands. The cause of this type of hyperhidrosis is unknown. It can be a cause of significant embarassment for a patient because it’s so visible and also can appear spontaneously. 

Plantar hyperhidrosis

Plantar hyperhidrosis is an excess amount of sweating in the soles of a patient’s feet. The cause of this type of hyperhidrosis is unknown. It can be a cause of significant embarassment for a patient because it’s so visible and also can appear spontaneously. 

What treatments are available for hyperhidrosis?

For primary hyperhidrosis, there are both surgical and non-surgical treatment options for patients. 

Treatment options include:

  • Topical antiperspirants such as aluminum chloride. These can often require frequent re-application and can cause skin irritation. Therefore, they are not a very effective treatment.
  • Surgical options can include cutting, clipping or destroying the nerves that control sweating in the problem area or removal or shaving of sweat glands in the affected area. Invasive treatments such as these sometimes cause serious complications, are more costly to perform and require more time to recuperate.
  • Minimally invasive procedures such as using an injectable like a botulinum toxin. This requires repeated treatments over the patient’s lifetime, but is safer than surgery and longer lasting and more tolerable than topical treatments. 

The Role of Botox®

Botox® has been used in the recent years in treating patients who suffer from excessive sweating. It works by blocking the nerves that are responsible for stimulating the sweat glands produce sweat. 

Treatments can be offered at specific areas where excessive sweating occurs such as the armpits, and can be very effective. 

The advantage of the treatment is also that it is fairly straightforward to administer when offered by an expert healthcare professional.

Evidence suggests that Botox® injections are a useful treatment in managing hyperhidrosis. Treatment effects last for a period ranging between 4 to 6 months, and repeat treatments may be required to maintain dryness. 

Botox® does not offer a cure for excessive sweating.

After treatment is administered, effects can take up to 4 weeks or so to show. Patients report good results and may not require future use of antiperspirants. 

Sweat glands are microscopic, so treatments may miss a few of these glands, meaning patients may still experience mild sweating, and this is easily controllable with over the counter measures if required.

In a nutshell, it appears Botox® injections can help patients get over excessive sweating as a problem, restoring their confidence and re-building their self esteem.

Are there any side effects?

Unfortunately, as is the case with any treatment, Botox® also is associated with side effects. Patients may experience pain at the site of injection, mild bleeding an bruising and generalized tiredness. Allergic reactions may occur but are rare.

Conclusion

Botox® has yet another benefit on top of its entire range – to help patients with excessive sweating problems. 

Treatment can be targeted and very effective and can help get back their quality of life. If you are a doctor who wants to help a patient with hyperhidrosis, then Botox® injections may be a good option to explore. 

The treatment is effective and has few side effects when administered by an experienced health care professional.

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