Perspiration Reduction

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Excessive sweating, technically called hyperhidrosis, is a medical condition that occurs in the armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis), hands (palmar hyperhidrosis) or feet (plantar hyperhidrosis). Regardless of where it occurs, excessive sweating can be an embarrassing condition that affects your quality of life – making you self-conscious when performing certain tasks, engaging with others or when wearing specific types of clothing.

The good news is that there are a wide variety of ways to reduce perspiration ranging from topical and oral medications to major surgery that removes or cuts the spinal nerves that control sweating. Many people have found non surgical procedures such as botulinum toxin injections to be effective, minimally-invasive and long-lasting treatments.

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Below are some common non surgical methods for treating excessive sweating:

  • Medications: Both prescription and non-prescription antiperspirants and oral medications can reduce sweating overall and can help alleviate some of the more pervasive issues. These are usually enough to treat mild cases of hyperhidrosis of the armpits, hands and feet.
  • Iontophoresis: This technique uses water to pass electrical currents through the skin and blocks sweat production temporarily in those areas. Treatment involves placing your hands and feet in shallow water trays until you feel a slight and painless tingling sensation on your skin. Treatment sessions are short, lasting only 10 to 20 minutes in most cases. Sweating under the arms is usually not treated with this method, as underarm skin is too delicate. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that it helps 80 percent of people who are regularly treated for excessive sweating. Iontophoresis is safe and most patients tolerate the treatment well. The most common side effect is dryness of the skin. In rare cases, some people might also experience blistering, skin peeling, and irritation.
  • Botulinum toxin injections: These injections block the nerve's control of the sweat glands, decreasing perspiration. Botulinum toxin injections are used primarily to treat excessive underarm sweating. Several injections are required for the best possible results, and can relieve symptoms for as long as 12 months. You may experience temporary swelling and redness in the injection sites. For the first 24 to 48 hours, heavy exercise and activities involving excessive sweating should be avoided. Other than that, you may resume normal activities immediately after treatment.
  • Microwave technology: Microwave technology has recently emerged as a new treatment for underarm sweating. A handheld device suctions the skin to bring the sweat glands closer to the electromagnetic energy emitted. This results in the decomposition of sweat glands by heat. Treatment is not painful and is usually completed in about one hour including preparation. Two to three treatments are needed for best results. You may experience some swelling and redness in the treated areas from the suction device and treatment. Cooling packs help resolve swelling that may last a full week. You can return to regular activity, but should avoid excessive exercise and sweating for three to four days or until swelling and redness subside.
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Although botulinum toxin injections for perspiration reduction purposes are generally safe, the risks of treatment include:

  • Flu-like symptoms for the first 24 hours after treatment
  • Bruising and pain at the injection site
  • In rare cases, serious problems can develop in the hours, days or weeks following treatment – including blurred or double vision, breathing difficulties, trouble swallowing and slurred speech.

You should seek immediate medical attention if your breathing or vision is affected after having botulinum toxin injections.

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