Or Excessive Perspiration of the Armpits
Although not a medically serious condition excessive sweating of armpits can be distressing and embarrassing. If you have excess sweating and notice frequent wet patches on your clothes under the armpits this can lead to the avoidance of social contact or sports due to this embarrassment. Botulinum toxin type A, commonly known as Botox, is licensed in the UK for treating Hyperhidrosis of the armpit.
The treatment is not a cure but provides temporary relief lasting between 6 and 12 months. The treatment consists of many small injections just under the skin in the effected areas. Some people may get mild flu like symptoms for a day after the treatment, also the sites of the injections can be sore for a few days after the treatment.
Sweat glands are actually in the skin, not underneath it. When you sweat a chemical messenger is sent to the sympathetic nerves that stimulates the sweat glands, turning the sweat ‘on’. When Botulinum is injected, the toxin blocks this chemical messenger sent to your sympathetic nerves and so it does not reach the sweat glands. Without the chemical message, the glands cannot turn on the sweating.
Botilinum works by blocking the nerve endings and so sweat cannot be produced. Within 6-12 weeks, your body starts to produce new nerve endings. These new endings can receive the message to turn those particular sweat glands on, so mild sweating returns. Within 6-12 months, all of the new nerve endings have been produced and the chemical message can be received, turning all of the sweat glands on again. Sweating returns to normal and the treatment has worn off.
Aftercare and possible side effects.
It can take up to a week for the Botulinum to start working properly so it is important not to expect a miraculous disappearance straight away. You should avoid massaging the area or putting pressure on the injection site for a few days after treatment and to avoid strenuous activity. The site may be a little painful and small bruises can form, but these symptoms go away within a day or two. Some patients may experience muscle weakness when they have had Botox, but this does wear off. Some patients have experienced an increase in sweating in another part of the body.
Medical studies and patient testimonials have confirmed that Botox reduces sweating and improves lifestyle, of course the level of reduction depends on each individual. Botox is not a cure for hyperhidrosis but temporarily prevents the sweat being produced. As the nerve endings regrow, the sweating returns but at this stage you should receive top-up injections to start the cycle again, keeping the area dry. Sometimes sweat glands can be missed out and so you may experience a small level of sweating in some areas of your armpits. This is easily solved with top-up injections at your next appointment, just let me know and we can concentrate on these areas.
The Botox treatment may cause flu-like symptoms, tiredness and blurred vision, possibly arm and neck ache for those who have injections in their armpits. These are all temporary symptoms and should disappear in a few days, and not everyone experiences them. There are no severely uncomfortable sensations or effects which should affect your daily life and there are rarely any complications
How it works
Frequently asked Questions
Is Botox safe?
Although Botulinum A is a natural protein derived from a toxin (Clostridium Botulinum, the bacterium that gives us food poisoning, or botulism), it has been purified and refined and is safe and effective to use when administered by a specialist. It presents no major harm to the body when treating hyperhidrosis, and is only active in the specific area where it is injected, it does not spread throughout the body.
Medical studies and patient testimonials have confirmed that Botox reduces sweating and improves lifestyle; of course the level of reduction depends on each individual. Botox is not a cure for hyperhidrosis but improves the problem. As the nerve endings regrow, the sweating returns but at this stage you should receive top-up injections to start the cycle again, keeping the area dry. Sometimes sweat glands can be missed out and so you may experience a small level of sweating in some areas of your armpits. This is easily solved with top-up injections at your follow up appointment just let your practitioner know and those area can b injected.
Are there any patients Botox isn’t suited to?
Botox for hyperhidrosis is not recommended for pregnant women or mothers who are breastfeeding. It is also unsuitable for those with muscle or nerve disorders or on medications for nerve or muscle problems. Those with neuromuscular disease, Myasthenia Gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome are also unable to have this treatment.
The Nurse will consult you before the treatment. This helps to determine where sweating occurs at its worst and to ensure that you have no health problems that Botulinum may interfere with or worsen. You will then be told the possible side effects of the procedure to forewarn you of any unwanted symptoms. It is important to note that you will be awake during the procedure and this is perfectly normal and common practice.
Firstly, the site of injection will be cleaned to avoid infection. Secondly, any anaesthetic that is required will be administered, but this is generally not necessary in the armpit. Thirdly, you will be injected with a very fine needle which will introduce the Botulinum. Botox is used most frequently with sweating under the arms (axillae), with each armpit administered around twenty to thirty injections which are completed relatively quickly.