Talking About Dermatology

5 Things Hyperhidrosis Sufferers Need to Know about Botox Injections

Hyperhidrosis is a skin condition characterized by excessive sweating. The palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, and the armpits are most often affected, but any part of your body can sweat excessively. As many as 1% of American adolescents and young adults suffer from hyperhidrosis, and they can suffer from extreme emotional distress as a result of the excessive sweat. Many treatments are available for people with hyperhidrosis, including Botox injections. Here are five things hyperhidrosis sufferers need to know about Botox injections.

How do Botox injections treat hyperhidrosis?

Acetylcholine, a type of neurotransmitter, is responsible for sending signals between your brain and your sweat glands. This neurotransmitter tells sweat glands throughout your body that you're nervous or overheating, and the sweat glands respond by producing sweat. Since you're producing too much sweat, these signals need to be interrupted.

Botox injections work by blocking the transmission of acetylcholine. When your palms, soles, armpits or other sweaty areas are injected with Botox, the sweat glands in those areas can no longer receive your brain's signals. This renders the sweat glands temporarily nonfunctional. 

How is this treatment performed?

To help you be more comfortable, your dermatologist may first numb the area that will be treated. If anesthesia is necessary, an anesthetic cream or spray will be applied to your skin about an hour before the Botox injections begin. Once the area is suitably numb, the procedure can begin.

Your dermatologist will then begin injecting botulinum toxin into your skin with a small needle. Each injection will release up to 2.5 units of the toxin into your skin to a depth of a few millimeters. Many injections will be given in a grid-like pattern to ensure that all of the sweat glands in the area are disabled.

Are Botox injections painful?

The pain level for Botox injections varies based on which area of your body is being treated. If you need injections in your armpits, you can expect only mild discomfort and may not even need anesthesia. Injections in the armpits feel about the same as getting your blood drawn. If you have a low pain tolerance, or if you're very scared of needles, tell your dermatologist so that they can numb your armpits.

The palms and soles are much more sensitive, so anesthesia is usually required for these areas. Without anesthesia, injections in these areas would be very painful. With anesthesia, you won't feel any pain, though you'll feel movement or pressure around the area that's being treated.

How effective are Botox injections?

Botox injections have been shown to be a very effective treatment for hyperhidrosis. One study followed 141 adolescent patients through their Botox treatments and found that 79 (54.9%) of them responded to the treatment within two cycles of injections.

The 79 patients who responded to the treatment scored either three or four on the hyperhidrosis disease severity scale (HDSS) before treatment began. Four weeks after their first treatment, a whopping 92.9% of these patients had significantly improved and had HDSS scores of one or two. Their sweat production had decreased by an average of 83.9%.

How long do the results last?

The results of Botox injections don't last forever, so you'll need to repeat the treatment periodically to keep seeing results. The aforementioned study of 141 patients found that the median duration of the Botox treatment was 131 days after the first cycle of treatment. Once you start noticing that you're feeling sweaty again, tell your dermatologist so that the treatment can be repeated.

If you suffer from excessive sweating of your soles, palms, armpits or other areas, ask a dermatologist from an establishment like Jordan Valley Dermatology if you're a good candidate for Botox injections.