Excess Sweating (Hyperhidrosis) Treatments
What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis means excessive sweating. Sweating is one of the most important ways in which the body loses heat, however, people with hyperhidrosis produce sweat in amounts far greater than needed to control their temperature. Many things can trigger normal sweating and this is also true for hyperhidrosis it's just the amount of sweating that varies. Examples of triggers include exercise, heat or cold, alcohol, coffee or tea, smoking, hot or spicy food, stress, anxiety or strong emotions and certain times of the day. Hyperhidrosis may primarily affect the armpits, the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. Antiperspirants are a first-line treatment but for a more long-lasting result, Botulinum toxin injections with Botox ® may be used.
Botox® contains a highly purified protein which causes reduced muscle activity and blocks signals to sweat glands. It is manufactured by Allergan Pharmaceuticals. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has licensed this drug for cosmetic use and for the treatment of muscle spasms and excessive sweating.
What are the advantages?
The major advantage of Botox® for excessive sweating is that it is very effective and convenient. Several days after treatment there is a significant reduction in the amount of sweating that will generally last between 3 to 6 months. The injections can be repeated as often as necessary.
How does the treatment work?
The affected area is outlined on the skin after applying iodine solution and starch power. The treatment involves the injection of tiny amounts of Botox® in a grid pattern over the affected skin. There is a small amount of discomfort during the treatment, but no anaesthetic is usually required. When injected into the skin, Botox® blocks the actions of the nerves that supply the sweat glands, this prevents the glands from producing sweat.
How long does a treatment last?
Botox® blocks the nerve endings but over about 6-12 weeks new nerve endings grow to replace them. This means that the effects of treatment last for several months but eventually they will wear off.
Are there any side effects?
The needles used are very fine to minimize the discomfort during the injections. Mild swelling or redness may occur in the treated areas, but any local discomfort is short-lived. Some patients complain of temporary increased sweating elsewhere on the body.
BOTOX/VISTABEL® injections can also be used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.