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|Hyperhidrosis Treatment Injections|
Botox injection solution to excessive sweating
If excessive sweating is significantly interfering with your daily life, you may benefit from Botulinum Toxin (Botox) injections. This treatment has been found to provide effective relieve from this socially embarrassing condition.
Sweating is one of the body's natural ways to prevent over-heating. However, in about 1% of people the sweating is profuse and way beyond what is required to control body temperature. This condition is known as hyperhidrosis.
What treatments are available?
The first response of a hyperhidrosis sufferer is to use anti-perspirant products which reduce the amount of sweat by plugging the sweat ducts. Strong, prescription anti-perspirants are also available. A technique that has been popular since the 1950s is Iontophoresis. This procedure uses water to conduct an electrical current through the skin’s surface to inhibit sweat production. However, the most effective treatment for hyperhidrosis which has not responded to these methods is botulinum toxin type A injections.
Botulinum toxin type A, commonly referred to as Botox, is made from naturally occurring bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum. Researchers in the 1950s discovered that carefully injecting minute amounts of the toxin could selectively mute the natural contracting action of muscles. This technique has become a commonplace treatment for facial wrinkles, but it also has the effect of preventing sweat glands from overproducing sweat. In fact, as long ago as 1822, a German doctor named Justinius Kerner, suggested that botulinum toxin injections might be used in the treatment of hyperhidrosis.
Sweat glands are stimulated by nerves that release a chemical called acetylcholine and cause sweat production. The botulinum toxin blocks messages from the nerves to the sweat glands. So even if the nerves are telling the glands to release sweat, they don't respond, thus blocking the release of the acetylcholine and dramatically reducing sweat production.
What can be achieved by Botox treatment?
Of course, the body still needs to sweat, so the aim of the treatment is to bring the degree of sweating down to a normal level. The expertise of the practitioner should result in only enough sweat glands being ‘knocked out’ to get rid of the embarrassment of hyperhidrosis, but sufficient sweat glands being left in working order to ensure that normal sweating continues.
“I went through that usual phase as a teenage boy where I permanently smelled of sweat,” said one patient. “But I never grew out of it. I learned how to mask the smell, but the slightest thing would cause sweat to trickle down from my armpits and leave unpleasant wet mark of my clothes. Botox injections turned the tap down a bit, so that I still sweat, but only when there is good reason to.”
As well as the armpits, common areas for treatment include the hands, the chest and the feet. However, extra-special care is needed in these areas to ensure that muscles aren't affected by the injections.
Undergoing Botox injections for hyperhidrosis
Before the actual treatment commences, a topical anaesthetic will be applied to the area of skin being treated. This will be left for 30 minutes for the numbing effect to take place.
A series of Botox injections are then performed in the area being treated using a very small needle. Under the arms, for example, this would usually involve around 12 injections to each armpit. The needle doesn't go deep, the location for the injections being determined by swabbing the armpits with iodine and dusting them with powder to identify the sweatiest areas.
Two hours after the injections, you will be able to resume normal activities, including exercise, although the skin may appear slightly bruised. A noticeable reduction in the amount of sweat coming from the treated areas will become apparent within a week.
As Botox is also a muscle relaxant (see above) there is the possible side effect of slightly decreased muscle strength in the area that has been treated. This is most noticeable when Botox is used to treat excessive sweating in the hands, especially with tennis players, for example, who wish to improve their grip by reducing sweat, but discover they have a weaker, less sensitive hold on their racquet. This side effect is not common, and if it did occur it would only be temporary, lasting for a few weeks.
As with all cosmetic procedures, it is essential to follow the advice of your practitioner after the procedure. This will make the outcome as successful as possible and reduce the risk of complications.
Choosing a practitioner to carry out the procedure
Botox is a potential dangerous substance and should only be administered by a doctor experienced in the use of Botox injections to treat hyperhidrosis.
Typical costs for the procedure are £400 for both armpits down to £150 for the forehead. If this is something that you are considering, you can discuss all of the issues mentioned here in greater depth during a consultation with a qualified and experienced practitioner.
Have your say!
If you've had experience with this procedure then why not leave a comment below and share your thoughts and advice with our readers.