Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
What It Is
Hyperhidrosis, also known as excessive sweating is a relatively common condition. While not life threatening in any way, it can be a source of discomfort or embarrassment for many. Excessive sweating can impact your social life, fashion choices, and self confidence, among other things. Unfortunately, hyperhidrosis often goes untreated, as most people are unaware it is a legitimate medical condition, or are too embarrassed to seek treatment. Luckily, there are some treatments, with varying effectiveness, that can help mitigate its effects.
To put it simply, hyperhidrosis is the overproduction of sweat. In cases of focal hyperhidrosis, this is typically caused by the overactivity of specific nerves associated with sweat glands. This type of hyperhidrosis usually affects the underarms, hands, feet, and face in particular. Comparatively, general hyperhidrosis affects the whole body and is usually caused by another underlying medical condition such as hyperthyroidism or hypoglycemia. Regardless of the cause, the effects of excessive sweat are similar and can be just as detrimental to your self image.
Doctors may test for hyperhidrosis and its related or underlying causes in a variety of ways, including:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Other lab tests
Additionally, there are several tests to determine how severe your condition is. These consist of:
- Iodine-starch test
- Skin Conductance
- Thermoregulatory sweat test
How It’s Treated
While there is no way to prevent hyperhidrosis, it is possible to treat it. When it comes to treating excessive sweating, there are currently only a few possible methods, each with varying effectiveness. These can be broken down into a few subsets, including over the counter treatments, surgical treatments, and non-laser treatments. While more easily accessible, over the counter methods tend to be less effective than their professionally administered counterparts.
Over the Counter and Prescription Treatments
Over the counter treatments for excessive sweating typically include antiperspirants and deodorants, though these only mitigate some of the side effects rather than treating the actual condition. As such, they end up being largely ineffective. Doctors may prescribe more intensive antiperspirants that include aluminum chloride, but these have the same limitations as the over the counter alternatives and are not typically any more effective.
For face and head sweating, prescription creams can help mitigate some symptoms, not unlike antiperspirants. There are also medications that can temporarily limit sweat production, such as nerve-blockers and select antidepressants. Antidepressants can also reduce feelings of anxiety that may contribute to excessive sweating in some individuals, providing an added layer of relief.
Ultimately, these solutions provide only temporary solutions to varying degrees, and require both regular maintenance and investment. However, there is one non-laser and non-over the counter/prescription method that has been proven effective at treating hyperhidrosis.
Unlike other treatment methods, Botox injections have proven most effective at treating hyperhidrosis for the majority of those affected. In simplest terms, it will halt production of sweat in sweat glands controlled by the affected nerve cells. It is important to note that Botox treatments will not mitigate sweating across the whole body, but only in the target treatment areas, typically the underarms. It is also not a permanent solution, but can provide prolonged relief, especially compared to the above over the counter alternatives.
This treatment involves a nonsurgical injection of botulinum bacteria (FDA approved) into the affected area. It causes no harm to the body, as sweat production is completely halted in the affected area. Botox treatments are currently only available to patients through a prescription, and can be administered at Fairview Laser Clinic by Dr. Jain.
The treatment area will be iced or anesthetized prior to injection to minimize discomfort. That said, some side effects from the treatment may occur, such as pain or bruising at the injection site, headaches, and increased sweating in other areas of the body.
Results typically last 6-12 months, and need to be repeated as necessary to ensure continued relief. While not permanent, this treatment is the longest lasting, and proven to be the most effective of available options.
In extreme cases when Botox and other treatment alternatives don’t provide effective relief, there are surgical alternatives that can be pursued. These involve either the disruption or destruction of nerve cells responsible for managing your sweat glands. However, this comes with many risks, such as infection, bleeding, nerve damage, or excessive sweat migrating to other areas of the body. Surgical approaches are usually taken as a last resort approach if no other treatment alternative has been effective at treating a person’s hyperhidrosis.
What Areas Can Be Treated?
Hyperhidrosis typically affects the underarms, hands, feet, and head. With Botox, as the only effective, non-invasive treatment, treatment is usually localized to the underarms but can be used in other areas. This would be determined during a consultation with our resident expert, Dr. Jain, who will be able to answer your questions regarding treatment and formulate the best approach for your needs.
What Results Can I Expect?
Results are highly individual and can’t be accurately predicted ahead of the procedure, as everyone’s hyperhidrosis presents differently. If treatment is successful, the Botox injections should prevent sweat production in the treated area for up to 12 months. From there, regular maintenance shots will need to be administered to ensure continued relief.
Should Botox treatments prove ineffective in an extreme case, Dr. Jain can help direct you to alternative treatments and professionals who may be able to recommend alternative or combined approaches.
Why Fairview Laser Clinic
Our resident expert Dr. Jain has over 25 years of cosmetic dermatology experience and is dedicated to helping you address your unique concerns. She will be with you every step of the way during treatment and ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Click here to book your free consultation and learn how Fairview Laser Clinic and Dr. Jain can help you treat your hyperhidrosis to live confidently!
Read what clients have to say about Toronto’s best cosmetic dermatology clinic
“I had such a wonderful experience at Fairview Laser Clinic. Dr. Jain is really experienced and I saw the results I was looking for right away.”
Reviewer: Samantha Langley
out of 5 stars
“I had a great experience at Fairview Laser. I was interested in a few laser treatments to treat surface discolouration on my skin and she took the time to explain each option and recommend ones that would best suit my needs.”
Reviewer: Nancy Chu
5 out of 5 stars
“Great service and experience. I went in for a microdermabrasion treatment and they did a wonderful job! I would recommend Fairview to anyone!”
Reviewer: Stephanie Palasti
5 out of 5 stars