Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) is a common problem, especially of the palms, armpits and soles. It can be distressing and can have a serious impact on your life. The condition is treatable via two different methods at the Cadogan Clinic.
Hyperhidrosis is a condition characterised by excessive sweating, usually in areas where there is a high concentration of sweat glands such as the hands, feet, armpits and the groin area.
Excessive sweating can even occur when temperatures are cooler or at rest. It is estimated that 2 - 3% of the population suffers from hyperhidrosis, with less than 40% of those affected seeking medical advice. Excess sweating is a common problem that can be solved easily, leaving you with dry, soft skin regardless of the heat.
There are different ways of treating this condition, depending on how severe your case is. These include Iontophoresis - a safe medical procedure that involves sending mild electrical currents through water and into the skin; injectables such as Botox®to block the nerves that supply the eccrine glands; which in turn, prevent the glands from producing sweat; or in extreme cases, a surgery called ETS (or Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy). However, we do not offer ETS surgery for hyperhidrosis at Cadogan Clinic as the negative side effects of the procedure far outweigh the results.
At the Cadogan Clinic, our preferred treatment method is to avoid invasive surgery and to treat the affected areas with Iontophoresis or Botox® as we believe these to be the most effective and safe.
At the Cadogan Clinic our preferred method of treating hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating is either via two methods, either:
+ iontophoresis, a safe medical procedure that send mild electrical currents through water and into the skin. The procedure blocks sweat from coming out of the sweat glands, temporarily stopping sweating. Treatments must be done indefinitely to maintain desired results.
+ the administration of Botox® to the overactive sweat glands. The protein acts by blocking excess nerve signals to the sweat glands, thus reducing the amount of sweat the body releases.
Iontophoresis is a safe and painless non-invasive treatment for Hyperhidrosis-excess, unwanted sweating. During the treatment, the affected part of the body - hands or feet - are placed in a shallow basin of water. Your nurse turns the machine on and increases the current until you feel a slight tingling sensation on your skin for the duration of the treatment which is 20minutes. It does not cause any pain.
The process is repeated 7 times over 22 days on days.
Following treatment, some people may experience skin dryness and irritation but these are mild side effects easily treated with a moisturising cream or mild hydrocortisone.
Botox® is more appropriate and very effective for axillary hyperhidrosis. The area of maximum sweating is usually the hair-bearing vault and is delineated by the Starch-iodine test the first time the treatment is performed. This area is marked as a grid with squares of approximately 1x1 cm and a small amount of diluted Botox injected superficially into the skin of each square. There is a small pinprick when the injections are given and local anaesthetic cream can be used if you have particularly sensitive skin.
There is no down time after the treatment and the benefits gradually increase over the first 2 weeks after treatment. The effects of reducing sweating can last up to a year.
If your aim is to reduce the embarrassment and inconvenience caused by overactive sweat glands but doesn’t want an invasive surgical operation such as ETS (Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy) or the less invasive, but effective liposuction, then either Iontophoresis or Botox® are safe and convenient options.
Iontophoresis is suitable if your hands and feet are affected by excessive sweating. It is a painless non-invasive treatment which is quick and easily performed in the outpatient setting. You need a series of treatments to start off with, an example would be 7 sessions in 22 days, after which you go for maintenance treatments once every 3 weeks or as necessary.
This procedure requires no downtime or recovery time and you can comfortably return to work after the treatment.
Botox injections are very effective for axillary hyperhidrosis and the effects usually last for up to 12 months. Thus, you should choose Botox if you want a once-off treatment for excessive sweating that is long lasting. The procedure is comfortable and you just feel little skin pricks with each injection and just like Iontophoresis, you will resume your normal activities immediately after the procedure.
Botox and Iontophoresis treatments are suitable for people who want treatment for excessive sweating with minimal side effects. There are no serious side effects associated with these techniques and this makes Botox and Iontophoresis the best option for people who wish to avoid surgery.
With Iontophoresis, the protocol is for 7 treatments over 4 weeks and these must be done regularly and before sweating increases to maintain results. A typical treatment programme will usually follow a format such as:
+ Week 1: 3 treatments (20mins for hands, 30 mins for feet) + Week 2: 2 treatments + Week 3: 1 treatment + Week 4: 1 treatment
With Botox® injections you will notice a significant reduction in sweating within 2 weeks of treatment which can last for a period of up to 12 months, after which many patients return for further treatment.
A Botox injection is shallow, just below the skin surface. You receive multiple injections into the axillary vault area which feel like little pinpricks.
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