Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)
There are 3 million sweat glands covering the surface of our bodies that act as a natural thermostat, carefully regulated by the hypothalamus gland. Hyperhidrosis is a disorder characterized by excessive sweating which affects more than 2% of the world’s population. The condition of excessive sweating is not life-threatening however it can be deeply life-altering and have devastating and lasting effects on social, professional, and personal lives
Many people have searched in vain for an antiperspirant strong enough to combat the condition; as well as special absorbent inserts often being placed in clothing/armpits to help protect clothes and make the problem less visible. When one’s hands are often wet, the confidence required to shake hands in a professional setting is affected, and sweating feet can also affect foot health and odor. Thankfully, there is now more information and effective treatment options that hyperhidrosis sufferers can access, in order to combat this issue.
Excessive sweating can occur in various parts of the body, including the hands, armpits, and the feet – though the armpits account for roughly 50% of the cases. The exact causes of excessive sweating are clinically unknown; however, studies have suggested that because sweating is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, there are links to exercise, spicy food, and stress being triggers. Even emotions can start the cycle of hyperhidrosis for some people, and for others sweating is consistent regardless of the circumstances. Some medications may also act as a trigger for hyperhidrosis; including pilocarpine, physostigmine, acetaminophen, aspirin, insulin, niacin, antidepressants, meperidine, tamoxifen, alcohol, opiates, and cocaine. The incidence of Hyperhidrosis is noted to be higher in children, teenagers, and younger adults. 25 % of individuals who have reported excessive sweating of the palms or the soles of the feet, also have axillary or armpit Hyperhidrosis. The condition may be genetic because family history is often positive for this condition.
Causes of Excessive sweating
Excessive sweating can occur in various parts of the body, including the hands, armpits, and the feet – though the armpits account for roughly 50% of the cases. The exact causes of excessive sweating are clinically unknown; however, studies have suggested that because sweating is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, there are links to exercise, spicy food, and stress being triggers. Even emotions can start the cycle of hyperhidrosis for some people, and for others sweating is consistent regardless of the circumstances.
Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy
Surgical interventions such as Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) are outpatient procedures used to block nerve impulses that stimulate sweat glands in hands and underarms. Treatments that ablate a segment of the sympathetic nerve that carries messages to sweat glands will effectively break the cycle and stop the over-production of sweat. This method of treatment is not as successful for the feet as it is for the hands and underarms. The procedure is completely covered by OHIP, however because it is invasive surgery, doctors will often look for non-surgical treatment options first.
What can I expect during and after the treatment?
Medical grade deodorants and oral medications can be helpful in some cases. As one of the safest and most medically researched drugs in Canada, Botox® Injection is approved by both Health Canada and the FDA as a treatment for severe, primary hyperhidrosis of the underarms. It is the only neuromodulator that is FDA approved and proven effective for this use. Unlike lasers and surgery which damage the sweat glands or nerves, Botox® injections can usually help to reduce excessive sweating of the underarms by temporarily blocking the nerve signals that stimulate the sweat glands. Affected sweat glands are unable to receive the chemical signals, and the excessive sweating stops. Health insurance plans often cover the cost of Hyperhidrosis underarm treatment.
At Q Esthetics, a licensed physician will perform your treatment for excessive sweating. The procedure is safe, straightforward and usually takes about 1 hour to complete. Using a very fine needle, a small volume of medication solution is injected into the affected underarm area. The needle is very small and is placed just under the skin, so you will experience only minimal discomfort. Effective treatment may require multiple injections based on your doctor’s assessment of the areas that require treatment.
You are expected to notice that the excessive sweating has reduced by roughly 80% within one month after the first treatment. Often, not all sweat glands are reached during your first Botox treatment, and you may continue to experience some sweating from those unaffected areas. Follow up treatments will ensure that your customized plan is successful. Patients typically notice that their clothes are drier shortly after treatment. If you do not see a significant reduction of sweating, you should follow up with the doctor.
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