What is hyperhydrosis / hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhydrosis is the medical name for excess sweating. Excessive sweating is embarrassing, it stains clothes, can ruin romance, and complicates business and social interactions. Severe cases excess sweat can have serious practical consequences as well, making it hard for people who suffer from it to hold a pen, grip a car steering wheel, or shake hands.

Excessive sweating due to hyperhydrosis forces people to have to change their clothes every few hours, limiting personal style and taste, ruins fabrics, and erodes self-confidence.

True hyperhydrosis , is a common disorder which produces a lot of unhappiness. An estimated 2-3% of people are reported to suffer from excessive sweating of the underarms / armpits (axillary hyperhydrosis) or of the palms and soles of the feet (palmoplantar hyperhydrosis). Underarm problems tend to start in late adolescence, while palm and sole sweating often begins earlier, around the age 13 (on the average). Untreated, these problems may continue throughout life.

How is hyperhydrosis / hyperhidrosis treated?

For people who sweat normally, after hyperhydrosis treatment with wrinkle relaxing injections, sweating will stop (or be significantly reduced) in the treated areas.

Treatments for true hyperhydrosis will enable patients to lead a near normal lifestyle - you will still sweat but it will be much reduced so that only a daily applicaiton of deodorant/anti-perspirant will be needed.

wrinkle relaxing injections is used for treatment. The treatment works by blocking the signal from the nerves to the sweat glands and last 6-9 months, and even longer in exceptional cases.

For further details on this treatment, please see the section on wrinkle relaxing injections.

Your practitioner should ask you questions to make sure you don't have any other causes for increased sweating. The treatment will not impact on these but you may be recommended to have a blood test with your GP or doctor.

After the injection

Do not wear deodorant/anti-perspirant. This is firstly to avoid irritation and secondly you will not know if the treatment has worked. You should notice a reduction in sweating within 2 to 10 days. People who sweat 'normally' will notice they will usually not sweat at all and will not need to use anti-perspirant. People who suffer from clinical hyperhydrosis will usually find they sweat as much as a 'normal' person sweats - with anti-perspirant stopping sweating. The treatment for hyperhydrosis usually lasts 7-9 months and treatments are advised when sweating resumes.

If you are still sweating a bit, you can make another appointment for assessment and possible further treatment to the area after 10 days.

Are there any side effects?

The side effects are the same as for wrinkle relaxing injections with injection reactions (redness, swelling, irritation, rash, itching, numbness, pain, discomfort, stinging, bruising, bleeding). Some people report flu-like symptoms after the treatment.

Compensatory sweating in other areas is rare so it is unlikely you will sweat elsewhere in reaction to the treatment.

What to expect during the consultation

The full consultation for wrinkle relaxing injections used for hyperhydrosis, including treatment and medical history will usually take about 60 minutes for your first treatment. After this, it will take from 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the area treated.

You will need to shave the area(s) to be treated in order to get the best results. This is so your practitioner will be able to see the area being treated. You should also not wear any deodorant or anti-perspirant on the area for 12-24 hours before your treatment, or after you have had your morning shower. So ideally you should make a morning appointment for this. After taking initial details and investigating the results you would like you acheive, the trained health professional will stain the area with some iodine solution and starch to see the exact area that will need to be treated. You should therefore wear old, dark clothes as this can also stain clothing.

Once this has been done, multiple tiny amounts of wrinkle relaxing injections will be administered about 0.5-1cm apart in the area treated. These are very superficial and anaesthesia is not needed. The entire injection procedure takes approximately 20-30 minutes. Discomfort is infrequent but if it occurs, is usually minimal and brief.

The commonest area treated is the axilla (armpit). Palms can be treated as well but the results are not nearly as good, and are a lot more painful due to the high concentration of nerve endings. The forehead can also be treated but the results are again not as successful and the risk of relaxing the forehead muscles as well as stopping sweating is high.

Make sure you discuss this fully with your practitioner as well as discuss it with other people who have had the treatment if you decide to have these areas done.

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