Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)

WHAT IS HYPERHYDROSIS?

Excessive sweating is clinically known as hyperhidrosis.

In some people the body’s mechanism for cooling itself is overactive, so overactive that they may sweat up to four or five times more than is normal. When sweating is this extreme it can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, anxiety-inducing and disabling. It can disrupt all aspects of one’s life from career choices, recreational activities to personal relationships, emotional well- being and self- esteem.

WHICH AREAS ARE MOST COMMONLY AFFECTED?

  • Palms of the hands
  • Soles of the feet
  • Under-arms

HOW COMMON IS HYPERHIDROSIS

It has been estimated that up to 1% of the population has some form of hyperhidrosis. It usually starts during the teens and twenties.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF HYPERHIDROSIS?

Hyperhidrosis is caused by over activity of the eccrine sweat glands. It is not known why some people are affected and others are not. There may be a genetic cause.

Many things can trigger normal sweating and this is also true for hyperhidrosis – it is just the amount of sweating that is excessive in hyperhidrosis.

Examples of triggers include:

  • Exercise
  • Heat of cold
  • Alcohol, coffee of tea, smoking, hot or spicy food
  • Stress, anxiety of strong emotions
  • Certain times of the day

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT HYPERHIDROSIS?

Botulinum Toxin

When small doses of Botulinum Toxin are injected into the skin, it blocks the actions of the nerves that supply the sweat glands; this prevents the glands from producing sweat and leaves you dry, treating the problem very effectively.

Botulinum Toxin blocks the nerve endings but over 6 to 12 weeks new nerve endings grow to replace them. This means that the effects of treatment last for several months but eventually they will wear off.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE TREATMENT?

Using a very fine needle, your doctor will inject a small amount of a solution of Botulinum Toxin into 10 to 15 places about 1cm apart and spread evenly over each armpit. Sometimes a dye is used to show up the areas where sweating is greatest and where the injections should be placed. A course of treatment takes about 15 to 30 minutes.

HOW QUICKLY DOES IT WORK AND HOW LONG WILL THE EFFECTS LAST?

You should notice some change for the better within a week of your treatment.

Different people have different responses to treatment. Your next treatment can be given when the effects of the first course wear off, this usually happens after six to nine months.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DECIDE TO STOP TREATMENT?

The effects of anti wrinkle treatment wear off over a period of several months. If you decide not to have any further treatment there will be no lasting change in the areas treated. Sweating will gradually return to the level it was before you started treatment.

AFTERCARE

After treatment, please avoid applying antiperspirants and alcohol consumption for 12 hours.

Laser Sweat Ablation

Laser Sweat Ablation (LSA) is a revolutionary technique to treat sweating from the armpits by destroying the overactive sweat gland.

Unlike other procedures (such as Botulinum) which are temporary, Laser Sweat Ablation (LSA) provides a complete cure from underarm and armpit sweating in about 70% – 80% of people.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE TREATMENT?

Laser Sweat Ablation is a local anaesthetic walk-in walk-out procedure with very low risks. It only takes an hour to perform in most people and there are only one or two 3mm incisions on each side.

The Laser Sweat Ablation (LSA) procedure starts with marking the show the exact areas of sweating in the armpit.

A local anaesthetic is injected into each side. A tiny 3mm incision is made through which a small optical fibre laser is introduced- if the area to be treated is very large, two incisions might be made. The laser is then fired, destroying the sweat glands. The incisions are so small that stitches are not needed. The skin heals within a week with no perceptible scar.

HOW QUICKLY DOES IT WORK AND HOW LONG WILL THE EFFECTS LAST?

Most people are able to resume normal activities after the procedure, although it takes about two weeks to get back to exercise or heavy physical activity.

The same procedure is also equally successful in treating excessive underarm body odour.

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