Botulinum toxin

Most of us are familiar with botulinum toxin (or ‘Botox’ for short) as a cosmetic enhancement. This is a popular form of treatment for many people especially women to remove wrinkles and frown lines from their faces.

But we do not usually think of this as a treatment for excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis.

However this cosmetic treatment is now being used to treat excessive sweating and appears to be an effective solution, especially for armpit sweating (axillary hyperhidrosis).

How does botulinum toxin work?

In cosmetic procedures such as smoothing sway lines and wrinkles, it works by freezing the muscles which cause these signs of ageing thereby resulting in a youthful appearance.

When applied to excessive sweating it works in a similar way in that it blocks the nerves which connect to the sweat glands. These nerves transmit signals from the brain to the sweat glands which trigger the production of sweat but any blockage such as this prevents them from doing so.

This has the effect of reducing the amount of sweat produced which is good news for excessive sweating sufferers.

This toxin is injected into the affected area such as the armpits, and after 30 to 45 minutes, blocks any signals from the brain to the sweat glands.

This paralysing effect lasts for around two to 6 or even 8 months but it does wear off after that. You will require further injections in order to continue with these effects.

Have a botulinum toxin injection every 4 months to ensure that it remains a long term solution to your condition.

Benefits of botulinum toxin for hyperhidrosis

It is useful for treating specific areas which produce excess sweat such as the hands and feet. So, consider this treatment if you are looking to target a particular area of your body.

It has proven to be particularly effective at treating underarm sweating.

Another advantage is the fact that you only require a couple of sessions a year which is cheaper than having to undergo regular weekly sessions as is the case with other forms of treatment.

Plus this is a non-invasive form of treatment which is not obvious to the casual observer. In other words, no-one will know that you have undergone this treatment.

Risks of botulinum toxin for hyperhydrosis

There are risks with this treatment which you need to be aware of before you make a decision regarding this.

These include:

  • Injections can be painful especially for people suffering from excessive sweating from their hands or feet. Plus it is less effective at treating these types of sweating.
  • You may experience a severe allergic reaction to the injections.
  • You may develop cold or flu-like symptoms following these injections.

Plus it can be an expensive form of treatment. Even though you may only need one or two injections in a year the cost of the actual injection can be prohibitively high.

As a rough guide you can pay £400 for treatment for underarm sweating.

Finally, bear in mind that botulinum toxin injections are not a permanent cure for excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). You will need additional injections to continue with the results and to prevent a recurrence of your symptoms.

This treatment is only available for primary hyperhidrosis.

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