Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Heavy sweating is a condition that affects many people around the world. Not only is it a very embarrassing problem, but it is known to disrupt your life in many ways. Botox injections, while typically being associated with cosmetic enhancement procedures, have been known to treat several types of medical conditions, out of which one is the problem of excessive sweating. Also known as hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating is a term used for abnormal sweating, particularly when the weather is not hot. It has been observed that people suffering from such a condition tend to soak through their clothes or even drip sweat. Regular deodorants or antiperspirants have no effect on people suffering from hyperhidrosis. So does using Botox injections for sweating really work? Let's take a look.

Effectiveness of Botox in Treating Excessive Sweating

Introduction to Botox

Without knowing the facts about Botox, it's not possible to understand how Botox helps treat excessive sweating. Botox is a neurotoxin made from botulinum. However, when it is used by a licensed professional and in the correct doses, it is safe to be used for a variety of medical conditions.

Everyone knows Botox as the number one cosmetic treatment for smoothing wrinkles, fine lines, and for other cosmetic procedures. However, what many people do not know is that doctors are successfully using Botox injections for the treatment of many neuromuscular conditions such as muscle spasms, chronic migraines, and of course hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating.

Excessive sweating is known as hyperhidrosis. This condition causes people to experience abnormal swearing, even in cold weather. Antiperspirants available on the market generally do not work on this condition and people suffering from this end up soaking through their clothes or even start to drip sweat.

Using Botox for Excessive Sweating

Botox is one of the latest treatment options that is being used for helping people suffering from excessive sweating. If you are a person who is suffering from abnormal sweating and do not find any relief even after using prescription antiperspirants, then you may be the ideal candidate for treatment with Botox.

Botox injections have been approved for the treatment of hyperhidrosis by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), particularly for those who experience excessive underarm sweating. This drug is also used 'off-label' for treating sweating problems in areas such as the face, palms, and feet. Off-label use means that the particular medication being used has been approved for the treatment of another condition, but it works just as well for treating other related conditions.

How Does Botox Help Treat Excessive Sweating?

Botox injections have a paralyzing effect. This is primarily how it works in treating excessive sweating. Botox blocks the functioning of the nerves that activate the sweat glands of the body. In a normal person, who does not suffer from abnormal sweating, the nervous system is responsible for activating the sweat glands of the body when the body senses a rise in temperature. This is the body's automatic process for cooling. However, in people suffering from hyperhidrosis, the nerves that are responsible for activating the sweat glands become overactive, thus making the person sweat continuously or abnormally.

Injecting Botox directly to the parts of the body which commonly experiences excessive sweating, causes the overactive nerves to become paralyzed. This prevents these nerves from signaling the sweat glands, stopping the sweating process. However, keep in mind that sweating will only be prevented in the areas where the Botox has been directly injected.

Studies Showing Effectiveness of Botox in Treating Excessive Sweating

Botox has been approved by the FDA for treating excessive underarm sweating. Studies have shown that Botox can successfully treat excessive underarm sweating. Apart from underarm sweating, doctors are also using Botox 'off-label' for the treatment of sweating in other parts of the body.

Even off-label treatment for sweating with Botox injections have shown that it successfully treats sweaty palms in almost 90 percent of cases. However, treatment of other parts other than the underarm area, wear off faster. The effect of the treatment lasts longer when used in the underarm area.

Studies have also shown that Botox reduces sweating on the forehead by 75 percent and the effect lasts for nearly five to six months.

Research from the Women's College Hospital in Toronto, Canada, has shown that Botox injections can also help with sweating issues of the feet. Many people experience excessive sweating on the soles of their feet. While there are not many studies done on this subject, the initial research is promoting. However, the problem is that getting Botox injections on the feet are much more painful than getting them in other areas.

Cost of Botox Injections

The average cost of Botox injections varies depending on the area you reside in as well as your condition. If you need several injections on many parts of the body, then the cost will be quite high. The average cost for treating two underarms with Botox injections is expected to be around $1000. When Botox is used for such medical purposes, insurance companies do tend to cover a part of or all of the cost.

Are There Any Side Effects of Using Botox to Treat Excessive Sweating?

While there are generally no side effects associated with the cosmetic procedures with Botox, many studies have been done on evaluating the safety of Botox for medical uses such as treating excessive sweating. While most people tolerate Botox injections well, there may be some side effects such as:

  • A headache
  • Experiencing flu-like symptoms
  • Pain and bruising at the site of injection
  • Droopy eyes (if the injection has been given on the face)
  • Tearing of the eyes or dry eyes (also for facial injections)

It is very rare to experience any serious side effect with Botox injections. However, serious side effects can happen when Botox starts to affect the entire body. These side effects can last for a couple of days to a couple of hours or even weeks following your injection. Some serious side effects may include:

  • Trouble seeing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of bladder control

After Effects of Botox Injections

It is possible to go back to your normal activities immediately after receiving the Botox injections. It takes anywhere between two days to seven days to notice a reduction in sweating in the area that has been treated. It takes two weeks to stop sweating altogether.

Keep in mind, though, that the effects of Botox are only temporary and you will need to get injections again after some months. It has been observed that for treating underarm sweating, the effects of Botox last between four months to a year. For treating sweating of the hands and feet, the results last for a shorter period of time and you will need to get the injections again after just six months.

After two weeks of receiving the injections, you will be able to witness the full effect of Botox. Your doctor will call you back for a follow-up appointment and may perform any 'touch-up' procedure if needed.

Conclusion

Botox has been shown to be extremely effective in treating excessive sweating. For those suffering from this embarrassing problems, it can help improve the quality of their life drastically. Unfortunately, Botox injections are very expensive and not everyone can afford the same.

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References

Glogau, R.G., 1998. Botulinum a neurotoxin for axillary hyperhidrosis no sweat botox. Dermatologic surgery, 24(8), pp.817-819.

Naumann, M., 2001. Evidence-based medicine: botulinum toxin in focal hyperhidrosis. Journal of neurology, 248(1), pp.I31-I33.

Glogau, R.G., 1998. Botulinum a neurotoxin for axillary hyperhidrosis no sweat botox. Dermatologic surgery, 24(8), pp.817-819.

Wollina, U., Karamfilov, T. and Konrad, H., 2002. High-dose botulinum toxin type A therapy for axillary hyperhidrosis markedly prolongs the relapse-free interval. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 46(4), pp.536-540.

Naumann, M.K., Hamm, H., Lowe, N.J. and BOTOX® Hyperhidrosis Clinical Study Group, 2002. Effect of botulinum toxin type A on quality of life measures in patients with excessive axillary sweating: a randomized controlled trial. British Journal of Dermatology, 147(6), pp.1218-1226.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: November 22, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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