WHAT IS AXILLARY HYPERHIDROSIS?
Axillary Hyperhidrosis is the medical term given to the condition where someone sweats excessively from the armpit area. Generalized Hyperhidrosis is a condition where excessive sweating occurs all over the body wherever there are sweat glands, but that condition is more rare. The more common types of hyperhidrosis are called Focal Hyperhidrosis, and they affect only certain areas of the body that have the largest concentration of sweat glands: this includes the axilla (armpit), the hands, feet and the groin area. Sweating, of course, is quite normal and is the way that the body cools itself when it encounters increased external temperature or when physical activity increases the body’s temperature, as during exercise. In hyperhidrosis, people sweat out of proportion to the body’s need for thermal regulation.
It has been estimated that up to 1% of the population has some form of hyperhidrosis. It usually starts during the teens and twenties, and may have some genetic component.Many things can trigger normal sweating and this is also true for hyperhidrosis – it’s just the amount of sweating that varies. People with axillary hyperhidrosis often complain that anxiety or stressful situations trigger large amounts of sweating, and the result is often emabarrassment in work or social situations that can be crippling to job performance and self esteem.
HOW DOES BOTOX HELP WITH ARMPIT SWEATING?
The sweat glands in the armpits are eccrine sweat glands, and their function is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which explains why sweating increases with exercise as well as with emotional stress and anxiety. Botox is a purified neurotoxin that blocks the nerve transmission that causes the sweat glands to activate, and thereby reduces or eliminates sweating. Botox was approved by the FDA in 2004 for the treatment of axillary hyperhydrosis, and since them millions of people have been helped by this innovative and effective treatment. In clinical studies, upwards of 88% of people achieved a reduction of 50-80% in underarm sweating.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AT THE TIME OF MY TREATMENT?
When planning for Botox treatment for underarm sweating, it’s important that the area be shaved and that no underarm deodorants or anti-perspirants be used for 24 hours before the procedure. Typically, 50 units or Botox are injected into each armpit for a total treatment of about 100 units. A tiny gauge needle is used and the Botox is injected just under the skin, so there really is minimal discomfort, contrary to what most people would think. 2 to 2.5 units are injected into 20-25 spots evenly spaced to cover the entire armpit area. Side effects are minimal since the injections are so superficial and there are no muscles nearby that might experience weakness. See diagrammatic image below of a typical underarm injection site.
The most typical side effects usually can include minor bleeding or bruising in the area. The results of the treatment typically take anywhere from 5 days to up to 2 full weeks for effect. Many people treated for underarm sweating notice that the Botox lasts 6 months or more. If there is still some residual excessive sweating at 2 weeks, usually a touch-up treatment is all that is needed.
Dr. Lawton is an Allergan Platinum-Plus injector with one of the largest solo injector practices in Orange County. He offers Botox treatments for axillary hyperhydrosis, and the cost for new clients is $8.50 per unit. Call us at 714-846-5950 and we can answer any questions you have or schedule an appointment.