Can Botox Help You Stop Sweating?

Posted July 15, 2015

Summertime brings many opportunities to get hot and sweaty on a daily basis.  Picnics, baseball games, hiking and working out are just a few of the daily activities that can cause a person to break out in a sweat.  What if someone sweats so much in their daily life that it causes constant embarrassment?

Heavy and excessive sweating is the result of a condition known as hyperhidrosis.  This condition makes a person sweat much more than the average person.  There are two types of hyperhidrosis:

  • Primary Hyperhidrosis – Has no known obvious cause.  It’s believed to arise thanks to genetics or through a problem with a part of the nervous system known as the sympathetic nervous system (controls most of the body function not requiring conscious thought).  The sympathetic nervous system is sort of like a thermostat in that it sends a signal to the sweat glands to cool off a person when they’re too hot.  Primary hyperhidrosis normally starts in childhood or adolescence.
  • Secondary Hyperhidrosis – Triggered by a variety of factors including (but not limited to) anxiety, menopause, blood cell disorders, pregnancy and obesity.  People who suffer from this condition experience sweating on generalized areas of the body and even while they’re sleeping.  Secondary hyperhidrosis normally begins in adulthood.  One of the main steps in determining a treatment for secondary hyperhidrosis is determining what is causing the problem.

According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, nearly 3% of people suffer from being unable to control or contain their excessive sweating.  There are various treatments available to combat excessive sweating including antiperspirants (both over the counter and prescription), medications (oral and topical treatments) and iontophoresis (electrical currents are utilized to temporarily close off the sweat glands).

If a patient has exhausted all of these options and is still looking for relief, help might be on the way from an unlikely source.  What is the name of this unexpected source of relief?


Hyperhidrosis happens in a variety of places on the body including the face, hands, feet and armpits.  How does Botox help combat this problem?

First, it’s important to know that the sweat from a person is secreted from the eccrine and apocrine glands.  The eccrine glands are located all over the body in the skin.  On the other hand, apocrine glands are found in the armpits and the scalp (home of a large group of hair follicles).  Botox is injected into the skin in order to block the signal sent from the nerve endings to the sweat glands.  Think of the signal interruption as a roadblock from the nerve endings to the sweat glands.  The release of a chemical used by the nerve cells to communicate with each other is blocked and the message to cool down the body through the use of sweat is prevented from happening to a person. 

The use of Botox injections to treat hyperhidrosis was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration back in 2004.  The procedure usually lasts around 3-6 months before another round of treatments is needed.  Even though the Botox treatment blocks excessive sweat from occurring in certain areas of the body, it doesn’t prevent the body from producing moisture elsewhere.  In other words, Botox doesn’t completely prevent a person from being able to produce sweat in other areas of the body in order to cool off a person.

How effective a treatment is Botox for excessive sweating?  A study conducted at Saint Louis University School of Medicine showed Botox to be a safe solution for the problem of excessive sweating.  The study results showed four weeks after treatment with Botox, 75% of the patients receiving Botox achieved at least a 2-point improvement from the baseline on the Hyperhidrosis Severity Scale.  Also, the quantity of sweat production was significantly decreased. (1)

The use of Botox can not only relieve the amount of excessive sweating suffered by a person, the treatment can also lead to a much happier overall lifestyle.  The constant embarrassment suffered from wet shirts, stained armpits and clothes that don’t stay dry thanks to excessive sweating can be a thing of the past.  Please consult with a licensed physician before proceeding with Botox, as well as any other form of medical treatment, for the condition of hyperhidrosis.



- MA


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