There are two types of hyperhidrosis. The majority of patients suffer from Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis.
Primary hyperhidrosis has no known cause. There are no underlying medical problems and it is not a side effect of medications. It affects particular parts of the body most commonly the hands, feet, underarms or the face/head and usually affects both sides. It sometimes can affect the chest or groin areas too. Many patients have more than one part of the body affected. It usually begins in childhood or adolescence and sometimes runs in families. Patients with primary hyperhidrosis rarely sweat when they are asleep.
If your sweating began well after your teenage years then it is more likely you have secondary hyperhidrosis. Secondary generalised hyperhidrosis is caused by an underlying medical condition or is a side effect of medication<. In other words, it is secondary to something else. Sweating occurs over a larger part of the body and often when patients are sleeping. If you think that this could apply to you, it is worth looking at the links to the medical and medications before discussing your condition with your GP. Do NOT stop taking any medication before discussing with your doctor.
Although not life-threatening, hyperhidrosis can be uncomfortable and cause embarrassment and psychological trauma.
Botox is licensed in the UK for treating axillary (underarm) hyperhidrosis and is done by a small number of NHS hospitals but is mostly a private treatment (you can use the doctor finder to find a clinic near you). It is generally very effective for treating hyperhidrosis and the effects can last up to nine months.
The toxin works by blocking the chemical at the end of the nerves so that it cannot work on the glands or muscles. In the case of the sweat glands it turns then off to reduce sweating.
How is it done?
It requires multiple small injections of the toxin a few centimetres apart in the armpit. Although not licensed, some doctors do use it for treating hyperhidrosis of the hands, feet, parts of the body and even the face. As you can imagine, injections here tend to be more uncomfortable.
What can go wrong?
As long as the doctor doing the treatment is experienced and knows the anatomy of the surrounding area then there are rarely any serious side effects.