What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a common disorder which produces a lot of unhappiness. An estimated 2%-3% of Canadians suffer from excessive sweating of the underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis) or of the palms and soles of the feet (palmoplantar hyperhidrosis). Underarm problems tend to start around puberty, while palm and sole sweating may begin earlier, often during childhood. Untreated, these problems may continue throughout life.
Sweating is embarrassing, it stains clothes, and it complicates business and social interactions. Severe cases can have serious practical consequences as well, making it hard for people who suffer from it to hold a pen, grip a steering wheel, or shake hands.
What is the Cause of Hyperhidrosis?
Although neurologic, metabolic, and other systemic diseases can sometimes cause excessive sweating, most cases occur in people who are otherwise healthy. Heat and emotions may trigger hyperhidrosis in some, but many who suffer from hyperhidrosis sweat nearly all the time, regardless of their mood or the weather.
What is the Treatment for Hyperhidrosis?
Through a systematic evaluation of causes and triggers of excessive sweating, followed by a judicious, stepwise approach to treatment, many people with this annoying disorder can achieve good results and improved quality of life.
Botulinum toxin (Botox), much in the news as a cosmetic treatment for wrinkles, has actually been used in many areas of medicine for some time, such as in the treatment of muscle spasms and certain types of headaches. Its latest medical use is for treating excessive underarm sweating.
Numerous small injections of Botox are made in each armpit. This may produce approximately 6-9 months of relief from sweating.
This treatment is approved in Canada, and many insurance providers offer coverage for this treatment.