Botox as a treatment for hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)

Hyperhidrosis is the name given to excessive sweating. It can affect any area of the body but is most commonest around the armpits, but also commonly affects the hands, feet and forehead.

Primary Hyperhidrosis is the most common form. It is not caused by any underlying disease and can affect any area. It generally affects both sides of the body though not always totally equally, and often starts in adolescence or even childhood. Typically, it is not present when asleep, and it can run in families. The cause is not known, although anxiety can make it worse. Although it is not temporary, it can sometimes improve with age. Approximately half a million people in the UK are affected.

Secondary Hyperhidrosis is uncommon. It can affect the whole body (generalised hyperhidrosis) or specific areas, or it may only affect one side of the body, often while asleep. It can be caused by illness or infection, obesity, or hormonal conditions such as an over-active thyroid, the menopause or diabetes.  It can also be a side effect of certain medications, including SSRI anti-depressants such as Prozac. These causes must be ruled out before Primary Hyperhidrosis can be diagnosed. At your consultation with Dr Blatchley he will consider these other causes and on the rare occasions that they may be a possibility will discuss this with you before starting any treatment

Tiny amounts of Botox are injected through an ultra-thin needle into the areas affected and work by blocking the effects of the nerves that cause hyperactivity of the sweat glands. You can generally expect the effect to last for 6-12 months, though the actual period will vary from person to person.

Preparing for your Treatment – You will be asked to shave your armpits the day before. The consultation will take about 60 minutes, during which Dr Blatchley will map out the areas of sweating with a special test. To prepare for the appointment you will need to:

  • Shave your armpits
  • Wear a loose singlet style t-shirt to allow full access to you armpits
  • NOT use antiperspirants on the day as this will interfere with the test to map the sweat areas. Since the test uses iodine the top you wear should be cotton so that it can be washed later.