and Possible Side ...
- What to expect ...
What is it?
Excessive sweating or Hyperhidrosis is a genetic condition and is found in about 1% of the population. Hyperhidrosis usually starts during teens to early twenties and is when the body’s normal temperature regulation process goes awry. It causes excessive sweating, mostly from the underarms, hands or feet which results in moisture lying on the surface of the skin instead of evaporating as it normally would. The majority of people suffer from moderate hyperhidrosis at some point in their lives and it affects men and women, all races and every age group. Excessive sweating can occur at any time, while you are in a cold room, while you are calm, restful and without any stress or anxiety. Most sufferers do find the problem distressing and this may worsen their condition. This may make normal everyday activities more difficult to carry out and it can cause embarrassment at work. However it is not true that hyperhidrosis causes body odour.
What are the causes of hyperhidrosis?
Many things can trigger excessive sweating and this is also true of hyperhidrosis - it is just the amount of sweating that varies. Triggers can include:
- Heat or cold
- Alcohol, coffee or tea, smoking, hot or spicy food
- Stress, anxiety or emotions
- Certain times of the day
What problems does hyperhidrosis cause?
The need to wash or shower more frequently. Although this is not always convenient it is an effective and simple measure to take. Changing wet clothes several times a day and wearing certain colours that will not show the sweat. Lack of confidence through stress, tension and anxiety. Having to avoid food and drinks that trigger the sweating. Embarrassment at work or social situations. Most suffers do find this distressing and this may worsen their condition.
What is involved in the treatment?
Prior to treatment taking place one of our Aesthetic Nurse Practitioners will talk you through the procedure and take a medical history. Topical local anaesthetic is applied to the area for 20 minutes prior to the treatment for your comfort. Using a very fine needle, a tiny amount of Botox(R) or Dysport(R) solution is injected into the skin in about 10 to 15 sites spaced about 1cm apart. Sometimes an iodine and starch test is used to locate the area where sweating is greatest. Treatment causes only mild discomfort and normally takes about 30 - 45 minutes. It is uncommon for pain relief to be required following the treatment.
How quickly does it work and how long will it last?
You should notice some change between 7 - 14 days of your treatment. Treatment totally blocks the nerve endings for about 6 - 12 weeks before new nerve endings grow to replace them. Your next treatment can be given when the effects wear off. This usually happens after 9 - 12 months.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
In clinical trials a small number of patients experienced increased sweating in other parts of the body. Although the injection is given into the skin it is possible that a small amount may spread into the nerves supplying the muscles. In clinical trials about 0.7% of patients reported a slight weakness in the arm when the armpit was treated. This did not last and got better without intervention. As with any injection, there may be slight discomfort at the injection site and a small amount of bruising in the area treated.
What other treatments are there for hyperhidrosis?
- There are powerful non prescription antiperspirants available which could help prevent hyperhidrosis
- Applied at night, they work to shrink overactive sweat glands, safely, to eliminate sweating disorders
- Iontophoresis is the delivery of mineral or drug ions through a mild electrical current in a shallow water bath
- Positive ions in the water flow straight through the sweat ducts of the affected area, interrupting the sweating process by an unknown mechanism. Unlike Botox®, the effects are short lived and only last for 3 - 4 days
- Surgery can provide a permanent solution but the risks can be serious and the result may only be partly effective. Surgery is normally reserved for cases when other methods of treatment have not worked
Subcutaneous sweat gland curettage
- This is the surgical removal of the over-active sweat glands under anaesthetic
- It is generally thought to reduce sweating by up to 50% in sufferers
- An electrical current is applied through key hole surgery to cause destruction of the nerve fibres which supply sweat glands.
- It is effective at stopping the sweating on the palms and under the arms but there is a risk of compensatory excessive sweating in other areas of the body
- This involves cutting away the total area of skin of the affected areas
- This can cause large scars and there is a risk that the wounds will not heal well