How Can I Prevent Excessive Sweating?
Like it or not, sweating is normal, human, and entirely natural. It helps the body to maintain a healthy internal temperature so we can function and survive. But what if you sweat too much? Perspiring after a workout is standard. But hyperhidrosis-induced sweats carry a heavy, invisible burden that can leave an emotional mark.
Why do we sweat?
Sweating is your body’s way of keeping your temperature in check and keeping you cool. It kicks in when you need it most – like on hot, humid days or when you’re in the midst of an intense workout. Your body sweats in these situations, and the sweat then evaporates off your skin, which helps regulate your overall body temperature.
There’s also, of course, the stress sweat that creeps up on us during interviews, presentations and other way-out-of-the-comfort-zone situations. This is known as ‘emotional sweating’ and is triggered by nervousness or anxiety, tending to affect the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
How much is too much?
So, where do you draw the line between normal and excessive sweating? Of course, the core function of sweating is not to embarrass us on first dates or in the boardroom, it’s to cool us down. If you sweat uncontrollably, in vast amounts, whether it’s summer, winter, hot or cold, then you may be suffering from Hyperhidrosis – a medical condition that plagues an estimated 365 million people around the world.
Hyperhidrosis can soak, drip on, saturate, and ruin many things in a person’s life – from clothing, shoes, hair, makeup and social plans to self-confidence, mental health and overall wellbeing. Living with excessive sweating can take a heavy toll. In fact, studies have shown that mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are much more common in patients with Hyperhidrosis than those without.
Most of the time, Hyperhidrosis only occurs in one or two areas of the body – palms (hands), soles (feet) and armpits being the most common areas. It isn’t likely to pose a risk to your health, but in some cases Hyperhidrosis can be triggered by medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, arthritis and even some medications, so it’s important to discuss your concerns with your doctor.
Can Botox beat sweating?
Yes, the very same injectable that you might get to prevent wrinkles around your eyes can also help prevent excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis is caused by an over-stimulation of sweat glands. We have between two and four million sweat glands in our bodies, which are activated by our sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. Botox temporarily inhibits the release of acetylcholine, the chemical messenger that our nerve cells release to activate the sweat glands. Therefore, by blocking this chemical pathway, Botox temporarily stops sweating in the area where it has been injected.
It can be used to treat various areas of the body including the armpits, palms, soles, forehead and scalp. Some areas are more responsive than others, and others may be more painful. However, topical numbing creams can be used to minimise discomfort.
Is it bad for you to prevent sweating?
Sweating happens for a physiological reason, right? So, it only makes sense that preventing your body from its natural sweating process would be unhealthy in the long-term.
But actually, we have millions of sweat glands all over our body, so even if you’re no longer sweating in your treated area, you’re not going to overheat. However, if you do believe you may have Hyperhidrosis, you must seek the advice of a doctor who can rule out any underlying conditions before exploring Botox.
How often should people have it, and when will they see results?
Botulinum toxin injections are not used to cure Hyperhidrosis, but to control it. After treatment, symptoms tend to improve within one to two weeks, and most people experience an 82 to 87 per cent decrease in sweating. The effects will last four to six months – usually six in the armpits but only three or four in the hands and feet.
Just remember, if you are consistently battling with excessive sweat, there are options available. It can take some patience to get it right but speaking to your GP is a positive first step.
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Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.