Do you often find yourself quite sweaty and without a reason for it? Mr Akin Oluwole has spent many years helping patients with excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). Learn about the negative impact on life it can have, as well as how it can be successfully treated, from a specialist.
How much is considered 'excessive' sweating?
Excessive sweating is sweating that occurs when you are not meant to sweat. It’s normal to sweat when:
- It’s hot
- You are exercising
- You are frightened
In those situations along with others, it’s okay to sweat a lot. However, when you sweat in conditions of rest, this is considered excessive or abnormal sweating of hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis is not only about the quantity of sweat, but also about the circumstances of the sweating. Some medical conditions like menopause and overactive thyroid or some medications can cause excessive sweating (secondary hyperhidrosis). Excessive or abnormal sweating without a condition as the cause is called primary hyperhidrosis.
How might hyperhidrosis affect someone's everyday life?
Excessive sweating can have immense physical, psychological and economic effects on people, ultimately negatively affecting their quality of life.
The visible sweating can be disabling, embarrassing, affect moods and lead to depression. Some of my patients have to change their clothing multiple times a day, and others struggle to go out with friends or keep a relationship and/or struggle to keep a steady job because of the embarrassment of sweating over desks, papers and laptops. Even gripping can be difficult and driving may be affected.
Therefore, excessive sweating can affect virtually every aspect of a patient’s life.
How can Botox™ injections help?
Botox™ (botulinum toxin) blocks the nerves that stimulate sweating, leading to dryness. It works very well for axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating under the armpits) and can be life-changing.
It’s administered by injecting Botox™ into areas of high concentrations of sweat glands. After the injection, you will notice a difference usually after two days, but it may take a week or two to experience the full effect. However, something to remember is that treatment with Botox™ injection is temporary.
How long do the Botox injections last?
How long Botox™ lasts can vary from 3-12 months. Most patients will require repeat treatment, typically between 3-6 months. With time, the interval between injections could be up to a year.
What are the other treatment options for hyperhidrosis?
Several measures are used to treat primary hyperhidrosis, depending on the severity of the sweating:
- Wearing loose-fitting clothes may help.
- Getting an armpit shield to absorb and hide the excessive sweating. It can reduce visible sweating.
- Using strong antiperspirant sprays or a roll-on.
- Hand sweating can be treated by a process called iontophoresis. It works by using a device to apply a low dose of electric currents to the affected area.
- Surgery is a more definitive way to treat hyperhidrosis. It works by disconnecting the nerves that stimulate or transmit the sweating signals. It is a keyhole procedure called thoracic endoscopic cervical sympathectomy and is usually reserved for the most severe sweating situations. It is also associated with significant side effects like compensatory hyperhidrosis.
I think the most important thing to say is that if you are experiencing persistent excessive sweating, please see your GP to rule out and treat any underlying cause.
Don’t let excessive sweating hinder your quality of life – get in touch with Mr Oluwole and learn how he can help you.