Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating and it affects almost one percent of the population. This excessive sweating can occur in the hands, in the feet, or in the armpits. Today, scientists and researchers claim that this excessive sweating is caused by the sympathetic nervous system. They are still trying to completely understand this condition.
Hyperhidrosis can be broadly characterized as primary or idiopathic and secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis is much more common than secondary hyperhidrosis. The effects are more commonly found in areas like the scalp, face, hands, trunk, feet, thigh, and armpits. On the other hand, secondary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating of the rest of the body.
Primary hyperhidrosis starts during early childhood and continues into early adolescence. The symptoms become more apparent during puberty and then they continue for the rest of the person’s life. Nervousness and psychiatric disorders are not the usual culprits for primary hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis can be very embarrassing on a professional and a personal level.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is usually caused by an underlying condition like psychiatric disorders, endocrine treatment for a malignant disease, obesity, endocrine disorders like hyperthyroidism, and menopause.
Topical medications, oral medications, iontophoresis and surgery have not shown to be effective in treating patients who suffer from hyperhidrosis. Botulinum toxin has been reported to provide the effective relief from hyperhidrosis.
Botulinum toxin type A, which is also more popularly known as Botox, is made from a naturally occurring bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum. It has been effective in treating a number of conditions like cervical dystonia or spasms of the neck. It has also been used by doctors to treat facial wrinkles, excessive sweating and migraines.
Botox is being used nowadays in order to decrease the sweating in the underarms and in the feet. Botulinum toxin is injected into the affected area so that the sweat glands do not overproduce sweat.
The sweat glands are stimulated when its nerves release a chemical called acetylcholine. When you inject botulinum toxin near these sweat glands, it will block the release of acetylcholine. The production of sweat is reduced significantly in this case.
The treatment of hyperhidrosis starts with the application of a topical anaesthetic cream. Afterwards, the Botox injections are performed on the area to be treated. The needle used is a very fine one. It is similar to the acupuncture needles used in Chinese medicine. Several injections will be given on the area to be treated.
After the series of injections, the skin will look bruised and it will feel numb from the anaesthesia. After two hours, you will be able to resume normal activities. You will notice a decrease of sweating in the treated areas after three to five days. The treatment will last for about six to nine months. Sometimes follow-up injections are needed in order to achieve the desired effects, but discuss this with your cosmetic surgeon or doctor during your initial consultation.