EXCESSIVE SWEATING (Hyperhidrosis)
Dr. Todd Minars has a special interest in the treatment of hyperhidrosis; in fact, he treats himself for this condition. In addition, he is the dermatologist for, and helped to create the Memorial Hyperhidrosis Center. This is a team of physicians based at Memorial Regional Hospital, who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of hyperhidrosis. The team includes nurse practitioners, dermatologists, neurologists, and surgeons who offer a unique multi-disciplinary approach to this condition and can provide a variety of medical and surgical options.
Starch Iodine Test showing treated hand vs untreated hand one week after Botox (sweat shows up as purple)
Uncontrollable sweating is embarrassing, but it is common and it is TREATABLE. Many people suffer needlessly because they are not aware of available treatments. The condition is called hyperhidrosis (literally, “excessive water”). Depending on your needs, treatments may include one or several of the following:
Prescription Strength Anti-Perspirant
If over-the-counter antiperspirants and deodorants are not effective in controlling your sweating, Dr. Minars may prescribe a stronger antiperspirant. Applied to the hands, feet and/or underarms, these antiperspirants contain ingredients which temporarily block sweat ducts and reduce moisture.
When prescription anti-perspirants do not provide relief, Botox® is a highly effective treatment option for hyperhidrosis in the armpits, hands and face.
What is Botox, exactly?
For years, dermatologists have safely used Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) to treat many conditions - wrinkles, most notably. While it is common parlance in the world of dermatology, patients often wonder what it is and how it works so well to treat so many conditions.
In a nutshell, Botox is a natural, purified protein which interrupts the chemical messages released by nerve endings. When used to treat hyperhidrosis, a Botox injection temporarily blocks the chemical secretion that stimulates the body’s sweat glands.
Through years of experience and expertise, we have perfected the art of using Botox to treat hand and armpit hyperhidrosis, and are proud to say that our patients have had superb results.
How It’s Done
Botox is injected into the area with a tiny needle, directly underneath the skin. The number of injections will vary depending on the size of the affected area. Within less than a week, the sweating will stop.
How Long Does The Treatment Last?
Typically, this treatment is effective for up to six months, and in some cases even longer. So while Botox is a very successful way to treat hyperhidrosis, it does not cure the condition. For many patients, follow-up injections are necessary approximately 6 months after the initial treatment.
Is this Treatment Covered By Insurance?
Botox injections for hyperhidrosis in the hands are currently not covered by insurance providers. However, Botox for hyperhidrosis in the underarms are often covered by insurance. After your first visit, if we determine you are a good candidate for this procedure, our nurse will contact your insurance provider to try to get you approved.
Our number one treatment weapon for tackling hyperhidrosis in feet, iontophoresis is also an alternative to Botox for treating excessive sweating in the hands. Both areas experience up to a 50% decrease in sweat production through this treatment.
How it Works
During iontophoresis, a medical device delivers mild electrical currents to hands or feet that are submerged in a shallow pan of water. The currents block your sweat glands temporarily. You may feel a slight tingling during the procedure, but that is it. This procedure has been performed since the 1940s and is perfectly safe. Recent upgrades in the machines used to deliver the current make it a simple, easy procedure to perform at home. These machines are sometimes covered by insurance, and but we recommend trying the treatment in our office first.
What Is The Treatment Plan?
That said, iontophoresis does not work for all patients. That’s why we start patients off with a series of treatments here in our office, to ensure that it is effective before you embark on an at-home regimen.
It typically takes 6 to 7 treatments in our office to see if it is working. These treatment sessions take 10 to 20 minutes each, and are done every 2 to 3 days until the sweating starts to decrease. There are no side effects other than occasional dryness of skin, which can be treated with petroleum jelly or cream.
After the beginning treatment phase is over and the sweating has significantly decreased, we will customize an at-home regimen for you so that you can maintain your results. The number of treatments required varies significantly per patient, from anywhere to twice a week to once a month.
HOW IT’S DONE
Treatment is preceded by a simple test: a solution is painted onto the underarm skin to identify exactly where the excessive sweating occurs. Then Botox is injected with a tiny needle, very superficially into this area (usually only a few square inches). After a few days, the sweating stops.
Certain medications may be prescribed by Dr. Minars to prevent the stimulation of sweat glands and limit sweating. Symptoms usually improve in two weeks, but there may be undesirable side effects, such as dry mouth. The side effects are temporary and reversible, so that a person can choose when to use the medications and when to discontinue them.
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