Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating and the use of Botox®

What is it ?

Sweating helps the body to lose heat, however some people produce too much. Most commonly this will affect the armpits and can be treated with Botox. Less commonly it may affect the whole body in which case it could be caused by an illness such as infection, overactive thyroid or diabetes and needs to be investigated by your doctor. Sweat itself does not smell – the odour is caused by bacteria if sweat is allowed to stay on the skin. HOW COMMON IS IT ? About 0.5% or 1:200 of the population have this in some form and it usually starts in the teens or twenties. About a third of people have a relative with this and so there may be a genetic course. Many things can trigger normal sweating, and this is also true for hyperhidrosis- it’s just the amount of sweat that is different. These can include exercise, stress, heat or cold, certain times of the day, alcohol, coffee, tea, smoking or spicy foods.

What can i do about it ?

Wear loose clothing. Natural fibres can be cool but may also remain damp for longer whereas synthetic fibres keep moisture away from the body. Keep your environment cool and well aired. Try to work out which food and drink make you sweat. This can be different for different people. Try to plan your day to avoid stress and include time to relax.

How does botox work for sweating ?

Botox is a protein prepared from grown bacteria and has been used safely for many years to relax muscles both cosmetically and medically. When small doses are injected into the skin of the armpit the Botox blocks the action of the nerves supplying the sweat glands. The injections are very fine needles, but an anaesthetic gel can be sent prior to the appointment for application if requested. The effects are variable but usually last for several months and can be timed for the spring/summer hotter months.

Are there side effects ?

4% of people notice a slight increase in sweating of other parts of the body. As Botox is a protein a small number of people will have mild flu like symptoms for a few days.