By Youwen Zhou, MD, Ph.D.

No Sweat! A New Way To Control Excessive Sweat

Does Everyone Sweat Like Me?

Almost every one sweats as a normal reaction to stress such as heat and exercise. However, some people sweat excessively underarms, on the hands or the feet, causing severe social and psychological embarrassment. These people suffer from a condition known as primary focal hyperhidrosis. It affects one in twenty people worldwide. Some people are so embarrassed by this condition that they never seek help from their medical doctors.

Sweating Is Treatable

Contrary to what many believe, excessive sweating is treatable.

Traditional therapies include:

  • antiperspirants (applied on top of skin);
  • surgical removal of sweat glands;
  • severing the sympathetic nerves linked to the sweat glands (sympathectomy);
  • blocking the sweat glands with small galvanic electric currents (iontophoresis).

Although effective for most people, removal of sweat glands can lead to scarring in the underarms and other complications. Similarly, sympathectomy, which also is quite effective, carries the risk of unintended surgical side effects and rebound sweating in previously unaffected areas (compensatory hyperhidrosis). Iontophoresis requires repeated treatments regularly. The effect is rarely complete and it is inconvenient for most people.

In addition to these choices, some people can benefit from taking medicines (anticholinergics) by mouth that block the neural transmitters controlling the sweat glands. Although effective for many people, this therapy has the severe drawback of causing side effects in other body systems such as blurred vision, dry mouth, bloatedness and constipation.

Conquering Your Sweating Problem

A recent development has revolutionised the treatment of sweating problem. This is using botulinum toxin (Botox®) to inactivate the sweat glands. Botox®, which has rapidly become one of the most commonly used anti-aging remedies, also blocks the sweat glands. It completely stops sweating in the area where it is placed with the help of insulin needles.

Since it is applied locally there are no widespread side effects. It works for almost every one. Each twenty-minute injection session can stop sweating for six to twelve months - so, most people can get satisfactory relief with one or two Botox® sessions each year. For most people, this therapy is a delightful change, liberating them from daily worries of sweating in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For more information about the uses of Botox®, click on www.BotoxFacts.ca.


About SkinCareGuide:
The SkinCareGuide.ca Network of dermatology-related websites was founded by a prestigious group of international dermatologists. It provides comprehensive information for patients and physicians about the skin, its care and various skin conditions and treatments. Content is reviewed by an independent Board of Medical Advisors to ensure that the information is accurate, unbiased and up-to-date. This information is not intended to replace a consultation with your own physician.


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