Did you know that about 240 million people in the world sweat excessively? Hyperhidrosis is the medical condition of excessive sweating. And at least 3% of the world population suffers from it. Thankfully, anyone can use Botox for sweating.
“What?” You read that right. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Botox to treat excessive sweating. Here’s how it works.
What is Botox?
Botulinum toxin, commonly known as Botox, is a neurotoxin protein. It is made from bacteria that cause botulism, a rare and potentially fatal disease. However, Botox injections are safe if administered by a professional.
Perhaps the most commonly known use of Botox is for cosmetics. Doctors inject Botox to inhibit the development of wrinkles temporarily. Forehead lines, crow’s feet around the eyes, frown lines, lip, chin, neck, and mouth lines are common wrinkles a Botox injection can eradicate.
But aside from cosmetic reasons, Botox has its medical uses. The primary medical use of Botox is to block nerves and paralyze muscles. For example, medical professionals use Botox to treat cervical dystonia, a painful condition in which neck muscles involuntarily contract or spasm.
But another medical use of Botox is to limit excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis.
What is Hyperhidrosis?
When you sweat more than expected at certain temperatures or activity levels, you have hyperhidrosis. People with hyperhidrosis sweat five times more than the average of people do. There are two types of hyperhidrosis.
Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis
As the name implies, primary focal hyperhidrosis focuses on one point. It can be the sole of the feet, the palm, the armpits, or just the face. This type usually manifests itself in childhood and is commonly hereditary.
Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis
Also called diaphoresis, secondary generalized hyperhidrosis affects a more significant part of the body. Unlike the primary focal hyperhidrosis, diaphoresis sweating can occur during sleep.
Botox for Sweating
Injecting Botox is a relatively new treatment that helps reduce excessive sweating. It is primarily used to treat hyperhidrosis in the armpits. However, it is also a suitable treatment for the other parts of the body.
How Botox Injections Work Against Hyperhidrosis
The eccrine glands help regulate body temperature. It is partially responsible for sweating. When the body’s internal temperature rises, the eccrine glands secrete water to the skin surface through the pores.
The sympathetic nervous system controls the eccrine glands. Small doses of Botox injections temporarily incapacitate the nerves around the area. This is how Botox injections treat hyperhidrosis.
The bacteria botulinum toxin is made from, Clostridium botulinum, is a neurotoxin. By definition, neurotoxins are substances that affect the nervous system by altering its structure or function.
Botox alters neurotransmitters that tell the body how to react. Specifically, Botox blocks the neurotransmitters that activate the sweat glands in the injected area.
Botox is NOT Permanent
The effects of Botox are not permanent – whether administered for aesthetic or medical reasons. The toxin itself is flushed out of the body’s system within a few hours of injecting. However, its effects on the nervous system last for a few months.
It will usually take the body three to four months before it generates new nerve terminals that can overpass the effects of the toxin. However, there are cases of a Botox treatment lasting for 14 months. Botox injection is not a permanent fix for hyperhidrosis.
Experts say that those with hyperhidrosis need Botox injection every 7-16 months.
Which Parts of the Body Can I Use Botox
Injections to Treat Hyperhidrosis?
The FDA approved the use of Botox injections to treat hyperhidrosis only on the underarms. However, doctors can prescribe Botox injections to treat hyperhidrosis on other parts of the body.
The treatment can be used on these parts of the body:
But beware, Botox injection in the hands and feet is less effective compared to the underarms. Also, there may be a few side effects. Additionally, the treatment can be more excruciating than on the underarms.
If you need Botox injections on the face, groin, or chest, it’s best to have an extremely experienced dermatologist. These areas have very complex muscular and tissue structures. It takes a thorough knowledge of these areas on the doctor’s part to successfully and safely perform the treatment.
How Does the Procedure Go?
A dermatologist, or a doctor certified to inject Botox, can perform the treatment in just a few minutes.
The first step the medical professional takes is numbing the area of injection. They will do this either with ice or a local anesthetic.
The doctor will inject tiny amounts of Botox just underneath the skin in a grid pattern. The injections are around a couple of centimeters apart.
What to Do Before the Procedure
It’s essential to have a frank conversation with the medical professional before a procedure. The doctor can give pointers what to expect, what not to do, and ask critical questions.
The patient should inform the doctor of any medical conditions they have. He should also notify the doctor of any medications he is taking. Any medical information the patient provides can reduce the risk of adverse side effects or complications.
It’s best not to shave the area of injections for at least three days before the treatment.
What to Do After the Procedure
After the procedure, the patient should not have hot baths or showers for the day. They should also avoid exercise. It’s best to return to the doctor after a couple of weeks to check for side effects or check for missed areas.
What are the Potential Side Effects of Botox Treatment?
The potential side effects of a Botox are:
- Muscle stiffness
Do You Need Botox for Sweating?
Botox treatment has its side effects. But with the right communication with experts, you can avoid those side effects. Just make sure that to inform the doctor of any medical condition, prescriptions, or how you feel after the procedure.
It is a relatively new treatment, but Botox for sweating works almost instantly. If you have hyperhidrosis, it’s highly advisable that you speak with a medical professional about the best treatments.