The non-surgical answer for the treatment of excessive underarm sweating
Imagine meeting people with sweat soaked underarms that show through your shirt or shaking hands with someone with sweaty palms. These embarrassing and awkward situations put one at a distinct disadvantage in social and professional life. Many people constantly battle this problem and have tried many different treatments such as topical and oral medications, iontophoresis, and some have suffered to the point of considering radical surgery to get relief from this condition called hyperhidrosis. Unfortunately, even surgery has not proven to be effective because compensatory hyperhidrosis can result in other parts of the body after surgery. Now there is a better way to free oneself from hyperhydrosis. BOTOX® has been used successfully to erase wrinkles and now it can be used to control embarrassing sweating problems as well.
What is hyperhydrosis?
Severe primary hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a medical condition that involves hyperactive sweat glands. Sweat is your body’s temperature regulator. In severe primary hyperhidrosis, sweating significantly exceeds the body’s normal requirements. Severe primary hyperhidrosis often goes undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and untreated due to lack of awareness.
Primary hyperhidrosis can be diagnosed based on a history and physical examination by a physician. Some physicians may use the Hyperhidrosis Disease Severity Scale (HDSS) to quantify the extent to which hyperhidrosis affects your daily activities. This condition usually begins during childhood or adolescence and may be found in other family members. Affected areas of the body include underarms, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. Most common triggers for excessive sweating include emotional (stress, anxiety) and thermal (heat) stimuli; therefore many usually do not sweat during sleep.
Before being treated for hyperhidrosis, patients should be evaluated for secondary hyperhidrosis due to other potentially associated medical problems, including endocrine disorders such as hyperthyroidism, neurological problems, use of certain drugs or medications, cancer, chronic infections, dermatologic syndromes, and conditions associated with excess catecholamine discharge, so that these serious underlying diseases can be addressed and treated.
BOTOX® in the USA
Botulinum Toxin Type A is a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. BOTOX® was first FDA approved in December 1989 to treat two eye muscle disorders (blepharospasm and strabismus). Since then it has been approved to treat cervical dystonia, a neurological movement disorder causing severe neck and shoulder muscle contractions. In 2002, it was approved to temporarily correct frown lines between the eyebrows. In 2004, the FDA has approved BOTOX® for the treatment of severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (severe underarm sweating) that is inadequately managed with topical agents such as antiperspirants or prescription skin medications.
How does BOTOX® control hyperhydrosis?
BOTOX® is injected into the areas that the excessive sweating occurs. The injected BOTOX® then temporarily blocks the nerve from releasing acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that stimulates the sweat glands to produce sweat. The full effect of BOTOX® is noted within seven to ten days and has been shown to last for about six months. Symptoms will return gradually, and you will know when the time is right for another treatment.
Why BOTOX® for hyperhidrosis?
BOTOX® injections can be performed in the doctor’s office. It is a non-surgical procedure; therefore there are no scars, no down time and has minimal risk. The most common adverse events following treatment include injection site pain and bruising.