Excessive underarm sweating is an uncontrollable, annoying, embarrassing, and isolating problem. From the discomfort of sweat running down your sides, to the embarrassment of obvious sweat stains, uncontrollable underarm sweating can feel like it’s ruining your life. People with the disorder often suffer from difficulty in social situations and say it significantly interferes with their daily activities.
The condition affects more than a million people in the U.S. People with this condition sweat up to four times more than normal in order to maintain a normal body temperature.
BOTOX®, A treatment made famous for fighting wrinkles can also provide lasting relief from this embarrassing condition. In 2004, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved Botox for the treatment of severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis in patients unable to obtain relief using antiperspirants.
A large study found that botox injections had a positive effect on the patients’ quality of life, for example:
• Before treatment, 66%-72% of patients were somewhat or very dissatisfied with their ability to perform their current work activities, compared with 9%-20% after treatment.
• The number of patients who reported feeling “emotionally damaged or injured” due to their hyperhidrosis reduced by about half before and after treatment, from 76%-83% to 32%-42%.
• Participants reported significantly less limitation in interpersonal and social situations. Before treatment 17%-33% said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their ability to perform non-work activities. After treatment, that proportion increased to 78%-88%.
How does Botox work?
The neurotoxin temporarily blocks the chemical signals from the nerves that stimulate sweat glands. When the sweat glands don’t receive chemical signals, severe sweating is reduced.
Where does the sweat go?
Sweat doesn’t go anywhere or get backed up because it’s simply not produced in the areas treated with Botox. Sweat will continue to be produced elsewhere.
How long does it take to work?
Results start to be noticeable approximately 2 to 4 days after treatment with the full effects usually noted within 2 weeks.
When is it time for another treatment?
Keep in mind that Botox is not a cure for severe underarm sweating. Your symptoms will return gradually, and you’ll know when the time is right for another treatment. Dryness typically lasts 4 to 12 months but some studies have found it can last as long as 14 months.
Can it be used in other areas?
Research demonstrates that treating excessive sweating of the armpits, hands, feet, head and face (craniofacial), and other relatively small body areas (like under the breasts) with Botox is safe and effective.
In the case of palmar (hand) excessive sweating, research shows that Botox is 80-90% effective. Repeat injections are needed after 6 months. Botox for palmar sweating may cause temporary pain and weakness in the hands.
Does my insurance cover Botox for sweating?
In many cases, yes! Many insurance authorization requests for Botox treatment are approved once you have used topical medications and they did not work well enough. Remember, approval is not automatic and not all insurance plans cover treatment. However, many patients are pleased to find out their insurance plan covers all or most of their Botox treatments. Contact your insurance company and ask us about insurance billing to determine the paperwork necessary for reimbursement.