On the Dr Christine blog today, we take a look at Hyperhidrosis Treatments.
What is Hyperhidrosis?
In some people, the body's mechanism for cooling itself down is overactive-so overactive that they may sweat four or five times more than is necessary or normal When sweating is this extreme it can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, anxiety inducing and life inhibiting. It can disrupt all aspects of a person's life from career choices and recreational activities to relationships, emotional well being and self-image. This kind of excessive sweating is a medical condition called hyperhidrosis.
What causes hyperhidrosis?
Excessive sweating can be a symptom of certain medical conditions or a side effect of some medications. Therefore it is advisable to first consult with your G.P. to exclude any underlying medical condition which may require treatment. If there is no underlying cause of excessive sweating then the condition is called primary hyperhidrosis and this can be treated very successfully with Botulinum Toxin.
What treatments are available?
There are a range of treatments available for primary hyperhidrosis and these include antiperspirants, iontophoresis, surgery and injections of Botulinum Toxin.
Botox has been licensed to treat underarm sweating since 2004, and is safe and effective. Treatment often lasts around 7 months.
How does Botox work to reduce sweating?
Botox (botulinum toxin) temporarily blocks the secretion of the chemical that "turns on" the body's sweat glands. By blocking this chemical messenger, botulinum toxin "turns off" sweating at the area where it has been injected.
What does the treatment involve?
The area where the sweat glands are located under the arm is identified by applying an iodine solution to the treatment area and then dusting with starch powder. The area is then marked and cleaned prior to being injected with Botulinum Toxin. The needles are tiny and the injections are not too deep and most patients report that the procedure is tolerable.
Please shave underarms and avoid using over the counter antiperspirants and deodorants 24 hours before treatment. It is also advisable to avoid aspirin and ibuprofen, Vitamin E, Gingko Biloba and St John's Wort for at least 24 hours prior to treatment as these may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Wear a dark loose top as the iodine may stain clothing.