Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Low Down on Botox...for hyperhidrosis

Here I am in my hotel room...just after receiving botox injections in my hands. I'm a happy camper.

So, as you recall, I have palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. Basically, my hands and feet sweat. No, it's not just stress, and I can't just wipe it away. No amount of relaxing calms the sweating down. I do have a good day once in a long long long looooooooooooong while, but it always comes back. And I have tried everything, from over-the-counter antiperspirants, products you can only order online, prescribed antiperspirants and oral medications, but I have not tried iontophoresis and surgery.

This is my right hand. I'd already had the botox injected in my hands, but the treatment would not take effect for another 3 days to a week. Believe it or not, this was not a bad day for me...Sometimes, I can feel the sweat dripping from fingers or down my arm from my hands.

But before treating it, it took forever and a half for my doctors to realize it was a problem. Like most people, my "condition" was taken for craziness, absurdedness, or a temporary "thing." No one wanted to believe me, and for a while, I thought I was crazy. Even though my father and my sister have the same condition.

Excessive sweating is a problem affecting lots of people. Not sure if you're one of them? I highly encourage you to check out www.sweathelp.org. The site is run by the International Hyperhidrosis Society: a group of medical professionals who want to help people like me. If you have questions, they have answers. And they are the reason I was able to get the botox treatment for free. I'll come back to this later.

Today will be day 6. I have gone 3 days already of sweat-free hands. I started feeling the effects on day 3; Dee and I had our social dance class, and I usually sweat like crazy (I feel sorry that he has to hold my hand, but he does it, and I love him for it). But there was a significant decrease in sweating in my hands that evening.

The other great thing: my feet have also decreased in sweating as a result. The Executive Director had told us that we may experience this fortunate side effect, and I'm very happy to report that I have it.

But besides treating me and others like me, exessive underarm sweating and exessive sweating in the head were also treated with botox. Some patients were repeat patients who reported that the treatment has been successful for them.

I was also able to try iontopohoresis, a treatment which involves running positive and negative currents through your hands and feet via water. I only got a feel for it though. The treatment usually takes about 40 minutes long.


There was a gentleman at the conference who reported that this treatment was working out just fine for him. He was getting botox injected into his underarms.

So here's my left hand a couple of hours later. The sites that were injected soon turned into a faint purply-blue color, but it wasn't unbearable.

I would like to compare it to getting waxed...it hurts the moment you're doing it, but the benefits are great!

How I suffered before:
-excessive sweating in hands and feet by doing nothing
-wetting papers including important documents and books
-stiffness in my fingers (sometimes preventing me from typing)
-cold hands and feet (can imagine..they're wet too)
-ruined shoes
-unability to wear some shoes (and I LOOOOOove shoes!)
-constant wiping on my clothes
-afraid to meet people for fear of shaking hands
-reduced confidence (how ever did I score Dee?!)
-difficulty in applying makeup (blending with my fingers was impossible)
-my lap top would make me sweat like crazy
-any small activity would make me sweat...like shopping
-difficulty in driving, as in holding the steering wheel
-etc., etc., etc.

Met with someone yesterday and had to shake her hand...no sweating. Went spinning today, minimal sweating in both hands and feet. Also shopped for Dee's suit today...no sweating. My shoes are dry. Typing on my lap top...no sweat. It's amazing! I feel so giddy when I realize I'm not sweating.

Seriously...so happy. Almost happy enough to forget about the grandpa thing.

3 comments:

Melissa said...

I'm thinking about seeing a doctor about my sweating issue, but I've been nervous. I don't know about getting botox, since my excessive sweating is with my scalp and brow and I definitely will not be getting any botox in my face. I'm so glad you were able to get help though! I know what a pain it is to sweat all the time!

Carly said...

My fiance has what we refer to as "sweaty palm disease". It's interesting to know that there is a real name for it. His feet sweat, too. He always says he wants to get treatment for it. Maybe I'll forward him your post. Thanks for the info!

Tahoebound2009 said...

Thanks for sharing this info! I used to think I have this and at one point I looked into the surgery too. I feel like mine has gotten significantly better in recent years but it still flares up. My worst moments are in church when you have to hold hands and shake hands with everyone. I'm so glad it's working out for you!