Hyperhidrosis is a condition in which natural perspiration is considered excessive. About 1-2% of the population is affected by this condition, and there are many with less severe symptoms who still suffer.
Excessive sweating can be generalized or found in specific areas of the body, mainly the underarms, palms and the soles of the feet. This can be a huge source of embarrassment for many people. This sweating can be independent of temperature or emotional state and generally is not associated with odor. Excessive sweating often starts during adolescence and can sometimes be a catalyst for anxiety.
What Are Some Ways To Treat Excessive Sweating?
Oftentimes underarm sweating is treated with aluminum chloride deodorants (like drysol), but they are known to cause irritation and are not very effective.
Antidepressants can sometimes be used to decrease anxiety related with excessive sweating, but this does not fix the problem itself.
Anticholinergic drugs, like ditropan, can be used, but usually have other side effects such as dry mouth and blurred vision.
Iontophoresis is a treatment used for excessive sweating but it requires daily to weekly sessions to be effective, which is not practical for most people as it is very time consuming.
Surgery where the sympathetic nerves in the chest are destroyed can also be performed by a neurosurgeon, but this method is problematic even aside from the risks of surgery and anesthesia. Though axillary (underarm) sweating can be decreased, surgery can cause a compensatory increase in sweating in other parts of the body.
BOTOX® is now FDA-approved for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis, and is used off label for treating the palms and the soles of the feet.
How Does BOTOX® Work To Stop Excessive Sweating?
BOTOX® works by temporarily blocking the chemical signals from the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands. By not receiving signals, the glands stop producing sweat. Results from BOTOX® treatment last between six and nine months.
What Can I Expect During And After The Treatment?
Your specialist will first perform an iodine starch test to look at the area where most of the sweating is occurring. Then, a very fine needle is used to inject small amounts of BOTOX® into the skin in a grid fashion, near the sweat glands. Within a week, the amount of perspiration should greatly decrease.
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