Botox is not just used for wrinkles. What is less commonly known is that Botox can have huge benefits for those who suffer from excessive underarm sweating (hyperhidrosis).
Underarm hyperhidrosis can be quite embarrassing depending on the social setting because of body odour as well as sweat stains on the clothing.
Read on for more information about how botox injections can help with hyperhidrosis, and read about how botox compares with the other treatment options for hyperhidrosis.
It is a normal physiological response for the body to produce sweat when placed in a hot environment, undergoing physically strenuous activities or when nervous or stressed.
Hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating even in a cool and calm setting. It usually manifests in the underarms, hands, and feet.
Sweat is produced by sweat glands when a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine reaches and activates the sweat glands.
In patients with hyperhidrosis, there could be an overproduction of acetylcholine which results in overstimulation of the sweat glands and hence excessive sweat secretion.
Botox injections into the underarms help to stop the release of acetylcholine which reduces sweat gland activity and ultimately results in lesser sweat production.
Antiperspirants work by obstructing the sweat glands so that sweat is unable to be secreted. When the sweat glands are blocked, there is a feedback mechanism to the body to reduce further production of sweat.
However, antiperspirants can sometimes cause side effects such as rashes or skin irritation.
Compared to Botox, antiperspirants are an affordable option. However, daily compliance is required for it to be effective.
Anticholinergic drugs such as oxybutynin work by preventing the sweat glands from working. It can work well when combined with topical antiperspirants.
However, side effects may include dry mouth, dry eyes, blurring of vision, and abnormal heart rhythm. Furthermore, in people who stay in a hot climate, a reduction in sweating may impair the body’s ability to cool itself, thereby increasing one’s risk of heat stroke or heat injury.
It is a home-based treatment that is only applicable to excessive sweating for the hands or feet. Unfortunately, it does not work well for the underarms.
Excision or laser removal of the sweat glands can be done as a day surgery treatment under anesthesia.
Side effects include infection, loss of sensation in the underarms, and scarring.
Specific to the underarms, FDA has approved hand held medical devices that emit electromagnetic energy that can destroy the sweat glands.
However, this is a relatively new treatment option and more studies have to be done on its safety and efficacy.
Botox for underarm hyperhidrosis is a quick, safe, and effective treatment with minimal discomfort. Each treatment session takes between 15 to 20 minutes and results typically last 4 to 6 months.
Compared to the application of topical antiperspirants or oral medications, undergoing botox injections twice a year is a more convenient option with a lesser chance of skin irritation or rashes.
Botox is also far less invasive than surgery with a lower risk of side effects. Botox for hyperhidrosis has minimal to no downtime whilst surgery usually requires 1 to 2 weeks for the wound to recover and heal.
Botox is a well-studied treatment for excessive underarm sweating and is recommended for those who prefer to undergo treatment twice a year as compared to the daily cream application or oral medications.
Newer treatments for hyperhidrosis are on the horizon which makes this an exciting space!
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