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What Is Hyperhidrosis and Can It Be Treated?

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive sweating, which significantly impacts the quality of life for those affected. According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, around 3% of the population, or approximately 950,000 Canadians, suffer from this disorder. Of those, 300,000 experience a severe form of hyperhidrosis, suffering from both the physical discomfort and the social stigma associated with the condition. 


This stat shows how common this disorder can be and may vary from person to person. In this blog, we will discuss what is hyperhidrosis with its types, causes, and symptoms. We will also inform you how Botox can be the best hyperhidrosis treatment in Winnipeg. So, let’s discuss it in detail!


Hyperhidrosis: Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment


Hyperhidrosis is also referred to as polyhidrosis or sudorrhea. While it is not a life-threatening condition, it can lead to significant discomfort, embarrassment, and psychological distress. The excessive sweating characteristic of hyperhidrosis generally occurs most intensely in areas with a high concentration of sweat glands, such as the hands, feet, and armpits. 


What Are the Types of Hyperhidrosis?


The hyperhidrosis can be classified into three types:


Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis 


In this type of hyperhidrosis, only specific body regions exhibit excessive sweating rather than the whole body. Commonly affected areas with this type include the hands, underarms, or feet. This condition generally occurs while the individual is awake and displays a symmetrical pattern, meaning that if one hand or underarm sweats excessively, the other will, too.


Generalized Primary Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis

This form involves extensive areas of the body sweating excessively without a discernible medical cause, hence the term "idiopathic." Unlike Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis, this type can affect larger and more varied parts of the body and is not limited to specific regions.


Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis


This type also involves widespread sweating across large body areas but differs from the idiopathic form as it can be directly linked to underlying factors. Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis may occur during the night and is often triggered by medications or various health issues such as diabetes or an overactive thyroid gland. 


What Causes Hyperhidrosis?


Hyperhidrosis is caused by overactivity in the sweat glands, specifically the eccrine glands responsible for regulating body temperature through sweat production. Under normal circumstances, these glands release sweat when your body heats up, such as during physical activity or in response to emotional stress, like anxiety or nervousness. 


However, in individuals with hyperhidrosis, these eccrine glands are overly active, leading to excessive sweat production that is disproportionate to the body's actual needs. This excessive sweating can occur spontaneously, without typical triggers like heat, exercise, or emotional stress, causing individuals to experience unexpected and often inconvenient sweating episodes at any time of the day.


Triggers That Cause Excessive Sweating


Triggers that induce sweating vary, as the body naturally produces sweat to regulate its temperature and prevent overheating. Several environmental and personal factors can stimulate your sweat glands to produce more sweat than usual. These triggers include:


  • Emotional Responses: Strong emotions such as stress, anxiety, fear, or nervousness can increase sweating. This is part of the body's fight or flight response, which activates the sweat glands.

  • Climatic Conditions: High temperatures or excessive humidity can cause your body to sweat more to cool down through the evaporation of sweat from the skin.

  • Physical Activity: Engaging in exercise or any form of physical exertion generally increases body temperature, triggering sweat production as a cooling mechanism.

  • Dietary Choices: Certain types of food and drink can also prompt your body to sweat more. Spicy foods, as are fatty and protein-rich foods, are well-known for causing an increase in sweating. Foods high in sugars and salts may also contribute to excessive sweat production. Regarding beverages, those that contain caffeine, like coffee and alcoholic drinks, can also stimulate the sweat glands.


What Are the Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis?


The major symptom of hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating. When your body sweat, you may experience:

  • Damp clothing

  • Wetness on your skin

  • Droplets of sweat rolling down your cheeks or forehead.


Over time, symptoms of hyperhidrosis may lead to:

  • Itchy and inflamed skin from sweat irritation

  • Body odor from sweat mixing with bacteria on your skin

  • Cracked or peeling skin on your feet


Where Will You Have Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis?


You may have symptoms in the following areas of your skin:

  • Palms of your hands (palmar hyperhidrosis)

  • Soles of your feet (plantar hyperhidrosis)

  • Armpits or underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis)

  • Forehead and cheeks (craniofacial hyperhidrosis)

  • Lower back

  • Genitals


Treating Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating) with Botox


Botox, a treatment derived from a toxin, is primarily known for its cosmetic applications but also offers medical benefits. Among its uses, it is effective in managing excessive sweating, particularly in areas like the underarms. So. If you need Botox for hyperhidrosis underarms or several areas of your body, an experienced Winnipeg dermatologist can provide you with all of it.


How Botox Treats Excessive Sweating?


Botox® injections work by blocking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which normally signals your sweat glands to produce sweat when your body heats up. For individuals with hyperhidrosis, the nerves that trigger these sweat glands are overly active. Injecting Botox® directly into the affected area temporarily paralyzes these overactive nerves, preventing them from triggering sweat production. It's important to note that Botox® only affects sweat production in the area where it is injected.


Preparing for Botox Injections


Before receiving Botox®, there are several preparatory steps to follow:

  • Wear a short-sleeved shirt to the appointment if treating the armpit.

  • Avoid shaving the treatment area (like armpits) for 2 to 3 days before the procedure.

  • Discuss any medications you're on with your Winnipeg dermatologist or nurse.

  • Consider wearing a dark-colored shirt to avoid stains from marking ink used during the procedure.


The Procedure Experience


Botox® injection session typically lasts about 15-30 minutes, with the actual injections taking only 10 to 15 minutes. During the procedure, a nurse or physician may marks the treatment area with ink and administers 15 to 20 injections in a grid pattern using a fine needle. Pain prevention methods such as ice or a numbing agent may be used.


Post-Treatment Expectations and Follow-Up


After the injections, you can immediately return to your normal activities. The effects of Botox® usually start to become noticeable within 2 to 4 days, with full results appearing after 2 weeks. The effects are temporary, so future injections are necessary. Follow up treatment is usually advisable from 3 to 6 months. 


Immediately after the procedure, the treated area may feel tender for a day or two. Although this is rare. To prevent irritation, avoid using deodorant or scented products on the treated area for 12 to 24 hours. 


Is Botox® injections for hyperhidrosis covered under the medical plan?


There are two components to Botox® injection cost: (1) your medical specialist injector fee and (2) the actual Botox® medicine.  Fortunately in Manitoba, your injector fee for botox® injections for armpit, feet, and hands are covered if done under a dermatologists’ supervision. It is important to note, the actual Botox® medicine can also be completely covered by your private medical insurance or Blue Cross. We will help you with pre-authorization applications at your visit. In addition, if it is not covered, our physicians will also provide alternative treatment options.


Conclusion


To deal with 'what is hyperhidrosis,' it's important to understand that hyperhidrosis is a prevalent condition affecting many Canadians. It causes excessive sweating and considerable discomfort, which can significantly impact daily life and social interactions. Treatments like Botox® injections have proven effective, especially when administered by skilled professionals. They offer relief by targeting overactive sweat glands.

At Embrace Skin Clinic, our dermatologists specialize in treating hyperhidrosis with Botox injections. Our experienced team ensures a comfortable treatment experience tailored to each patient's requirements, providing lasting relief and a significant improvement in life quality. Contact us today to get started.

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