Beat the Heat with Botox for Armpits

Sweaty pits can cause an uncomfortable clammy feeling. What’s worse, visible sweat marks can attract unwanted stares, causing a great deal of embarrassment. No one is immune to armpit sweating. It may occur due to a number of factors such as heat or exercise. Other triggers of underarm sweating include excess weight, anger, anxiety, and smoking. In some cases, armpit sweating is caused by underlying diseases such as axillary hyperhidrosis.

There are 2 major types of sweat glands, namely apocrine glands and eccrine glands. Found primarily in regions such as the groin and armpits, apocrine glands are the main source of body odor.

Some people tend to sweat more than others through these glands, but they don’t necessarily have an underlying disorder. Botox is commonly used to stop the normal sweating process under the arms.

How to tell if I have axillary hyperhidrosis?

Being a form of primary hyperhidrosis, axillary hyperhidrosis is characterized by profuse sweating in the underarms. Despite having a normal number of sweat glands, patients with axillary hyperhidrosis often have a heightened sympathetic response. Overactive sweat glands can result in excessive sweat production. The main hallmark of hyperhidrosis is spontaneous and uncontrollable sweating. Other tell-tale signs of axillary hyperhidrosis include unnecessary sweating and a family history of excessive sweating. In addition, patients who have axillary hyperhidrosis are usually unresponsive to regular treatments such as deodorants, powders and antiperspirants. Other forms of hyperhidrosis can affect body parts such as the torso, groin, face, head and more commonly, feet and hands.

Even if the profuse armpit sweating is not caused by axillary hyperhidrosis, it can still have an effect on social or work life. If poorly managed, armpit sweating can have a detrimental effect on quality of life.

How can Botox help reduce underarm sweating?

Botox is infused with botulinum toxin type A, a neurotoxin, as its medicinal ingredient. Botox works by binding to the cholinergic receptors. Subsequently, it undergoes endocytosis and internalization. This eventually leads to the inhibition of acetylcholine (ACh) release from the presynaptic terminals of cholinergic nerves.

Apart from the underarm area, Botox can also be used to treat other areas such as the soles of the feet, scalp, forehead, groin, and palms of the hands.

Before Botox become commonly used to reduce armpit sweating, patients would resort to surgical treatment.

Botox is administered into the treatment areas via several small injections. The injection process is known to cause minimal pain and discomfort. If needed, a local anesthetic can be used to alleviate discomfort. While it takes 1–2 weeks to see the full results, some individuals may experience symptomatic improvement 3 days after using Botox. On average, the therapeutic results of Botox can last for up to 6 months or more. To maintain the results, patients will need to undergo repeat treatments.

Botox is traditionally used to reduce lines (e.g. glabellar lines between eyebrows, forehead lines and crow’s feet). Apart from armpit sweating, Botox has many other clinical indications. This includes blepharospasm (related to dystonia) spasticity, overactive bladder, cervical dystonia and urinary incontinence (caused by detrusor overactivity related to neurologic conditions).

What side effects does Botox have?

Patients who use Botox for armpit sweating should beware of its side effects such as muscle weakness, tiredness/fatigue, discomfort or pain at the injection site, loss of bladder control, headache, or ocular symptoms (including swelling of the eyelids, reduced eyesight, eye dryness and blurred or double vision).

Apart from that, Botox could also cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing. These symptoms are especially common in individuals who have previously had breathing/swallowing issues.

Occasionally, Botox may cause side effects that are not listed here. If any unexpected side effect occurs, patients should see a doctor immediately for treatment. Refer to the product insert for the complete list of side effects.

Is Botox right for me?

Before undergoing a Botox treatment, your injector will need to perform a medical assessment to see if you are a good candidate. As part of the screening process, the practitioners will also review the medical history to detect any potential contraindications. Botox is contraindicated in patients who are hypersensitive to botulinum toxin or any other botulinum toxin formulations such as Dysport.

Another factor to consider is the cost of treatment. While prices may vary among clinics, a single unit of Botox usually costs $11 to $16. As the treatment is temporary, patients will need to consider follow-up injections to maintain the results. Compared to surgery, Botox is less invasive and often more cost efficient. As well, it is often the most common and suitable treatment to reduce sweating for special events. If you’re interested in reduce underarm sweating, talk to your doctor about whether the treatment is right for you.