There’s no doubt about it – excessive sweating can put a damper on anyone’s day. Whether it affects the underarms, hands or face, large amounts of sweat isn’t just a nuisance, but it can also be uncomfortable and embarrassing.
In fact, excessive sweating is a medical condition that can have a severe impact on quality of life, from limiting wardrobe choices to taking a toll on one’s emotional well-being.
Called hyperhidrosis, the disorder affects around 950,000 Canadians, according to the Canadian Dermatology Association, a number that represents approximately three per cent of the population.
Fortunately, there are treatment options available for those looking to alleviate symptoms. While some opt for strong antiperspirants, others have gone down the surgery route seeking relief.
What many may not realize, however, is there is an alternative treatment that may be more effective than topical solutions and less invasive than going under the knife.
Botox is being used by medical professionals to treat hyperhidrosis in clinics across Canada and around the globe. While it may be better known for its cosmetic advantages – particularly to curb the aging appearance brought on by wrinkles – the injections are now also changing the face of hyperhidrosis treatment.
Check out these ways Botox is changing the lives of patients suffering from the drawbacks of excessive sweating and why it might be the right fit for you.
Botox (or onabotulinumtoxinA) is a natural, purified protein that has numerous uses outside the better-known cosmetic realm.
In Canada, the drug has been approved to treat medical conditions such as chronic migraines, spasticity in muscles and muscle stiffness, and to decrease muscular responsiveness.
According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, it has been approved in at least 20 countries to treat excessive underarm sweating.
The drug is injected under the surface of the skin and works by temporarily interrupting the chemical secretion that triggers sweat glands. It remains under the skin, continuing to block the chemical and keeping the area sweat free.
Botox is most commonly used to treat excessive sweating of the armpits, but it can also be effective in other areas, including the hands, feet, head and face.
One of the advantages of opting for Botox to treat hyperhidrosis is the ease of the procedure.
Injections are quick – taking just minutes to complete – and don’t require anaesthesia. They can be performed in a physician’s office, which means patients don’t have to step foot in a hospital. Additionally, there is little to no recovery time, meaning one can generally get back to a typical day after receiving treatment.
While patients may return to their healthcare provider after a couple weeks to review the results and receive additional injections in areas that may have been initially missed, this subsequent visit isn’t usually the last. That’s because Botox isn’t a permanent cure, but rather a temporary solution that offers fast-acting relief before gradually fading. This means patients will have to receive repeat treatments once the effects wear off, which can be anywhere from several months to more than a later.
Although Botox requires repeat treatments to maintain its effectiveness, its performance in fighting excessive sweating is impressive nonetheless.
In the case of underarm sweating, the drug has resulted in an 82-87 per cent decrease, according to the International Hyperhidrosis Society. Those results can be noticeable just days after treatment, with the full effect taking root within a couple weeks. The society states dryness typically lasts four to 12 months, but can extend to as long as 14 months.
When used to treat excessive hand sweating, Botox is 80-90 per cent effective, with results lasting approximately six months.
The society notes that while Botox can work well for the head and face, the injection technique for these areas requires more skill and should be carried out by an experienced practitioner.
How Much Does Botox Cost?
While the price for Botox injections will vary depending on the size and location of the injection area, one Botox treatment generally costs between $200 and $500. And, because hyperhidrosis is a medical condition, it is often covered by private medical plans and possibly by the government, depending on the province.
Patients paying out of pocket should keep in mind that the Botox treatment is not a one-time cost, however, as the need for repeat injections will result in repeat charges.
When dealing with something as valuable as your health, it is important to seek out a qualified and experienced practitioner. A good place to start is speaking to your doctor about your condition, treatment options and how to seek out the best care.
And, as if with any drug, there are some side effects to consider before taking this avenue. According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, Botox used for excessive hand sweating may cause temporary pain and weakness in the hands. A potential side effect with Botox used for face sweating is asymmetry, which is temporary and can be corrected with additional injections. And Botox used for excess sweating in the feet is reported to be less effective than other body parts.
However, the society states Botox does not negatively affect the body’s temperature control, nor does it cause compensatory sweating on other body parts. In fact, repeated Botox treatment for excessive sweating is safe and can have long-lasting improvements in hyperhidrosis symptoms, increasing patients’ job productivity and overall quality of life.
No one should have to struggle through life dealing with the deterrents and limitations created by excessive sweating.
With the growing availability of Botox injections in Canadian clinics (like ours!), a solution to this pesky problem has never been more accessible.
Not only can patients avoid going under the knife with this quick and simple procedure, but they can be assured promising results that will lead to a more fulfilling and freeing lifestyle.
Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider to learn more about tackling excessive sweating and whether Botox is a suitable option for you.
About Dr. Kumar Shivdasani
Dr. Kumar Shivdasani is a medical practitioner with 25 years experience. He began his career in emergency at Vancouver General Hospital and addiction medicine – later branching into cosmetic medicine. He is the owner of CuR Laser and Skin in Vancouver, BC. Education, good lifestyle and diet changes lay the foundation for developing overall health and wellness, helping Kumar’s clients achieve and maintain their target goals. Dr. Kumar is also dedicated to helping others as shown by his support for Summits of Hope and Turning Point Recovery.