Botox® for Axillary Hyperhidrosis: How Does it Work?

Excessive underarm sweating can be an embarrassing and life altering problem for those who suffer from it, but it doesn’t have to be. There is a name for this condition, it is called Axillary Hyperhidrosis, and there exists a safe and easy treatment for people who suffer from this problem.

Many people have heard of Botox® in relation to its cosmetic uses such as smoothing out facial lines1. However, Botox® is less commonly known for its therapeutic use for several medical conditions, including overactive sweat glands in the underarms (or Axillary Hyperhidrosis). Botox® (Onabotulinumtoxin A) has been an FDA approved treatment for Axillary Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the underarms) since 2004 and has been used successfully in several other countries as well2.

Safely “Turn-Off” Sweat Glands in the Underarms

According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, “Botox® is a natural, purified protein with the ability to temporarily block the secretion of the chemical that is responsible for ‘turning on’ the body’s sweat glands. By blocking, or interrupting, this chemical messenger, botulinum toxin ‘turns off’ sweating at the area where it has been injected.”

Sweating is an essential body function for temperature-regulation, but contrary to what many people might expect, the underarms only produce a very small percentage of sweat compared to the rest of the body.

Therefore, treatment of this area has no effect on the body’s natural ability to thermoregulate itself. How much sweat is normal, and what is considered “excessive”?

For people suffering from Axillary Hyperhidrosis, sweat is more than a nuisance, it is a life altering problem. When the sweat glands are overactive it is as if they are always stuck in an “on” position. Patients may find themselves changing their shirts several times a day or using pads under the arms to soak up sweat.

Most people find relief from underarm wetness by using an antiperspirant, and this should be the first plan of action before considering Botox®. There are different strengths of antiperspirants including clinical and prescription strength. For patients who have explored this route with no relief, then Botox® injections may be the next best option.

More About How Botox is Used for Hyperhidrosis

Botox® is not a one-time fix or cure for excessive sweating. To maintain the results it is necessary to continue getting the injections at regular intervals. Botox® is injected into the armpit’s tissues, and results may vary according to the severity of the condition, but typically a treatment produces approximately six months of relief from sweating..

For people who find dealing with Axillary Hyperhidrosis interferes with their quality of life, and causing them to avoid social situations where they may have physical contact with others, it’s time to intervene.

Check a local directory for professionals offering Botox® for Hyperhidrosis or contact us at WIFH and ask to schedule a consultation to find out more about this treatment as well as candidacy for a longer lasting alternative.

1. Gart MS (2016). Overview of Botulinum Toxin for Aesthetic Uses. Clinical Plastic Surgery. 2016; 43(3): Pages 459-471.
2. de Almedia (2014). Botulinum toxin for axillary hyperhidrosis. Dermatologic Clinics. 2014; 32(4): Pages 495-504.

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