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Treatment of excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)

What is hyperhidrosis?

Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) is a condition in which the amount and frequency of sweating is far greater than it needs to be, in order for the body temperature to be regulated. The resultant “sweat patches” can be a source of embarrassment, and impact on individuals’ self-confidence, clothing choices, and even participation in social activities.

How can it be treated?

Strong deodourants, topical products, iontophoresis, and even surgical division of the nerves to the sweat glands are treatments for this condition. In the last 15 years, botulinum toxin injections have been used, and this is now a proven and effective treatment, regarded as the “gold standard” for the management of axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the armpits).

Are any tests required before treatment?

Individuals considering this treatment should, in the first instance, talk to their GP as to whether any tests are required to outrule a cause for the excessive sweating (certain medical conditions, for example an overactive thyroid, can cause hyperhidrosis).

What happens during a treatment?

The treatment itself involves multiple tiny injections to the hair-bearing area of the armpit, and takes less than 10 minutes. We suggest shaving your armpits 3-4 days before treatment, so as to have the area as clean as possible, while allowing Ms Fitzgerald to clearly see the extent of the hair-bearing area.

What can I expect following treatment?

Following treatment, you will be advised to avoid strenuous exercise, long hot baths and showers, and the use of perfume or deodorant for 24 hours.

The treatment will start to work from about four to seven days, and effects last approximately four months. The treatment can be repeated as often as necessary. While it is not universally the case, a number of patients receiving this treatment two or three times, do notice a permanent reduction in their sweating over time. This should not however be considered an expected outcome of treatment, but rather a significant bonus.

Will my health insurance cover the cost of treatment?

Unfortunately, this is not a treatment that is covered by health insurance. As it is a treatment for a medical condition, however, many patients will include the expense on their Med1 forms.