Viable treament option now available for "excessive sweating"

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by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER and editor JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on September 1, 2013 at 10:51 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 2 at 8:06 AM

AUSTIN -- If you suffer from excessive sweating, you're not alone. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that nearly three percent of all Americans suffer from the condition. There was little anyone could do about it -- until now. Doctors say a product that's used to treat wrinkles is proving to be an effective sweat reducer.

When 28-year-old Aaron Garza of Austin raises his arms it's not a sign of surrender. However, he is tired of waging a life-long battle against excessive sweating.

"I was born and raised in Austin, Texas," said Garza. "It's hot here you know, and we sweat."

But not everyone seemed to sweat as much as Garza. Even his friends teased him.

"They were always like, 'Aaron why are you sweating so much?' And I'd tell them I don't know it's hot in here,'" said Garza. "Why aren't you guys sweating as much?"

The good-natured "ri'bbing" confirmed what Garza already knew. He suffered from excessive sweating.  

"When I'm out in a public setting like that, and I'm in air conditioning, I should be cool," said Garza.  "Yet I have sweat stains and I'm constantly wiping my brow. It gets kind of embarrassing at times, so I decided to do something about it."

Garza did some online research and discovered Botox -- which has been FDA approved to fight wrinkles for more than a decade. It is also FDA approved to treat Severe Primary Axillary Hyperhidrosis -- or excessive sweating.

"I think it has almost given patients a new lease on life," said Rocco Piazza, M.D., a board certified plastic surgeon, and member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

"In a frown-line situation we're injecting a muscle," said Piazza.  "The Botox is actually targeting the nerve endings that are releasing a chemical signal that causes the muscle to contract."

Piazza says if you block that chemical pathway the muscle doesn't contract as much or at all depending on the amount of Botox used.

"When we're targeting sweating we're really targeting the signal transduction from the nerve endings to the sweat glands," said Piazza. "In essence we're blocking that same chemical pathway and stopping or decreasing the amount of sweat produced."

Piazza says one treatment can last up to seven months.  Its seven-months of confidence for Garza.

"Now I can go out to dinner on a date," said Garza. "I can be out at a concert with friends and not have to worry about sweating through my shirt or whether I can call the waiter over."

Piazza says the under arm region only represents about two percent of the total sweat glands in the body, so significantly reducing the sweat there won't negatively affect the body's ability to cool down.

Each area that's treated costs about $500.  Both underarms would be $1,000. Some insurance plans do cover the procedure.


 

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