Hyperhidrosis aka Sweaty Feet & Botox
Primary focal hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating that is not caused by another medical condition nor is it a side effect of medications. The excessive sweating is the medical condition. This type of sweating always occurs on specific areas of the body and is usually relatively “symmetric”- meaning that both sides of the body are affected similarly. The most common focal areas are the hands, feet, underarms, and head or face.
Primary focal hyperhidrosis often begins in childhood or adolescence, especially hyperhidrosis of the hands and feet. Although people with primary focal hyperhidrosis have episodes of excessive sweating at least once a week, they often do not experience excessive sweating while sleeping. It’s also been shown that primary focal hyperhidrosis may be inherited and many members of the same family may suffer from this condition but sadly many never talk about it with each other.
Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is caused by another medical condition- such as menopause, cancer, or diabetes- or is a side effect of a medication. People with secondary hyperhidrosis experience sweating on larger or other areas of the body (described as generalized). Another key difference between the two types of hyperhidrosis is that people with secondary generalized hyperhidrosis usually experience their excessive sweating symptoms while sleeping.
Living with Hyperhidrosis
The physical discomfort caused by constant wetness can affect each person differently. Skin irritations are common and sometimes more severe reactions like bacterial or fungal infections may occur. But it’s the emotional and psychological impact of hyperhidrosis that takes the greatest toll on a person’s life. The social isolation and limitations caused by excessive sweating can cut deep into a person’s happiness and livelihood. Unfortunately, depression or anxiety disorders are not uncommon in people with hyperhidrosis.
There are a variety of therapies available to treat hyperhidrosis including antiperspirants, iontophoresis, and local injections of botulinum toxin (Botox). Surgical procedures (sympathectomy) may be a treatment option for primary hyperhidrosis of the underarms or hands, but it is never a treatment option for the feet.
Botox for the Sole
Excessive sweating of the soles of the feet is a medical condition known as primary focal hyperhidrosis.
Research demonstrates that use of Botulinum type A, or Botox for hyperhidrosis is a safe, effective treatment with a high level of patient satisfaction.
Sweat glands are controlled by nerve fibers. When a nerve releases the chemical acetylcholine, the muscle tissue surrounding the sweat gland contracts, stimulating the gland to secrete sweat. Botox blocks the transmission of acetylcholine.
Treatment is performed in the spa, using a very small diameter needle to deliver small amounts of Botox into the skin. Sweating will significantly decrease over the next few days.
Treatment of hyperhidrosis with Botox injection is a promising approach, but it is not a permanent cure. Symptoms will gradually return over time. Studies indicate that the therapeutic effect persists from 4 to 22 months.
The cost of treatment will vary depending on the amount of Botox necessary to achieve good results.
Hyperhidrosis Selfassessment Questionaire
The following list of questions is designed to guide your self assessment and discussion with your doctor.
- How much time per day do you spend “dealing” with sweat?
- Do you carry “supplies” (such as pads, extra clothes, napkins, powders, antiperspirants, or towels) to help you manage your sweat?
- How many times per day do you bathe or change clothes?
- Do you ever change your social plans due to excessive sweating or fear of excessive sweating?
- Have you tried many antiperspirants or powders designed to control sweating?
- Have you experienced skin irritation due to excessive sweating or your attempts to manage excessive sweating?
- Have you ever damaged clothing, shoes, reading or writing material, artwork, paperwork, a musical instrument, or an electric or metallic device due to excessive sweating?
- Does excessive sweating affect your performance at work or your career choices?
- Does sweating in public cause you distress?
- Have you ever lost friends or a job due to excessive sweating?