The use of Botox® for sweating — which, in its heaviest and most severe form, is called hyperhidrosis — has proven to be a generally effective treatment for this condition, specifically on the underarms. The level of success that Botox® has shown in preventing sweating largely depends on the individual patient and how excessive his or her case of sweating is. Still, Botox® has proven itself to be helpful for many men and women. On average, a single treatment, which is administered with an injection, lasts for about three to six months.
Botox® is the commercial name for botulinum toxin A, a neurotoxin used to calm facial spasms and muscle contractions as well as for cosmetic purposes, such as to diminish wrinkles. Botox® for sweating was found to be an effective treatment of hyperhidrosis because of the ability of the neurotoxin to stop the release of acetylcholine, a chemical in the body that signals sweat production in the glands. The injection of Botox® temporarily blocks the sweat glands from receiving stimulation from the chemical and prevents excessive sweating at the injection site.
People who have hyperhidrosis often experience physical discomfort and emotional distress from feeling forced to hide their condition with clothing or by avoiding social situations. Patients who opt to use Botox® for sweating usually suffer from severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis, which is excessive sweating of the underarms. Though Botox® has been proven effective in treating underarm hyperhidrosis, it has not been established whether it is completely safe or effective for use on other areas of the body that suffer from excessive sweating, such as the face, feet and hands. Thus, Botox® is generally only administered on the underarms for cases of hyperhidrosis.
The use of Botox® for sweating is not a cure, and patients will typically have to schedule follow-up appointments about every six months. Additionally, sometimes more than one injection needs to be administered to the area. Still, patients suffering from excessive sweating should see significant improvement in their condition between treatment periods. Other benefits that patients experience and that indicate the effectiveness of the treatment are increased levels of confidence and a reduced sense of shame about their condition.
Still, like many medications, the use of Botox® does not go without risk. The use of Botox® can produce negative side effects, such as swallowing and breathing problems and the spread of toxins that can cause symptoms of botulism. It is also imperative for patients not to receive Botox® treatment while taking other medications, such as antibiotics. Thus, it is important for one to discuss both the benefits and risks of using Botox® for hyperhidrosis with a physician in order to find the best treatment for him or her.