Life Health Features

Thursday 18 September 2014

Botox for my 40th birthday cured my excessive sweating

Thanks to a minor procedure, sweat patches are a thing of the past.

Published 02/08/2014 | 14:42

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Lizzy Noone no longer suffers from excessive sweating thanks to Botox
Lizzy Noone no longer suffers from excessive sweating thanks to Botox
Botox is most commonly used to reduce wrinkles on the face, however it is becoming more popular to reduce excessive sweating
Botox is most commonly used to reduce wrinkles on the face, however it is becoming more popular to reduce excessive sweating

We have all been there; sweat patches are the one downside to a beautiful hot summer’s day or energetic dance floor, particularly for those of us who like to experiment with colourful clothes. Yet, for some people in Ireland, the problem of excessive sweating is a year-round, 24-hour and altogether more serious affair. Lizzy Noone (40) from Balbriggan, Co Dublin started sweating in her teens.

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“The one really big embarrassing moment was when I was 15. I was a bridesmaid for my aunty and I was wearing a peach taffeta dress with little sleeves,” Lizzy explains. “Literally from the word go I had big sweat patches for the entire day, which you could even see from the back and none of the other bridesmaids had.

“I was working in a restaurant as well and one very hot summer they introduced yellow and blue silk shirts,” Lizzy laughs. “So the minute I put that on I would have huge sweat patches under my arms. It was just a very embarrassing thing and I have always been conscious of it.”

As the years went on and the problem continued Lizzy began to learn to cover it up as much as possible.

“You learn the colours that you just cannot wear and I love colours,” Lizzy explains. “But top-wise I would have been restricted to black or white — it would still show, but it was the least visible in those colours.”

Lizzy feels that her posture has been affected by the issue, as she would often hold herself in a way to mask the sweat patches beneath her arms.

“You are so conscious of it all the time and then holding yourself with your arms in very close to you as a result,” she says.

Lizzy Noone no longer suffers from excessive sweating thanks to Botox
Lizzy Noone no longer suffers from excessive sweating thanks to Botox

Within moments of getting dressed each morning, Lizzy’s underarms would be drenched in sweat. “It happened immediately and it was without any exertion. You would think also it would be more of a summer problem than a winter problem, but it’s more difficult in winter because you are wearing longer-sleeved tops,” Lizzy explains.

“Sometimes you catch yourself on days where you might forget, or wear a new top or one you haven’t worn in a long time, and the next thing you are in work and you have these massive sweat patches,” she says.

“I used to work on Camden Street in Dublin, where there are loads of second hand shops, so I used to just run into those and buy a top to get through the day.”

“If you are seen to be sweating and have sweat patches, it’s assumed that you are dishevelled or unhygienic in some way. I did worry about that, you know, do people think I just don’t wash or something?”

Lizzy continues: “But it just happened, no matter how many showers I had and I think I tried out every type of deodorant that there was going.

“I would have been very conscious too of the bright lights in night clubs,” Lizzy adds. “When they would go on afterwards, I would run away because I knew that I would be sweating badly. So I had a lot of Cinderella moments!”

Lizzy works in the NGO sector where she is often involved in training workshops. 

“Having an audience does make you very conscious of it,” she explains. “It’s a first world problem, but it does affect you.”

In February, Lizzy got Botox injections to curb the excessive sweating she has experienced for most of her life. The results have been better than she had hoped.

“It took immediate effect,” she says. “It has even made a huge difference to my laundry as before I would have been washing things every day or every half day even. I don’t have a BO problem as such, but if you sweat a lot your clothes are going to end up smelling. I also barely have to wear deodorant now and I can wear anything. I don’t have to think very far ahead anymore in terms of colours or sleeves.”

Lizzy says that the treatment was a gift to herself, after decades filled with insecurity, monochrome shades and sweat.

“I turned 40 this year and I wanted to something for myself,” Lizzy explains. “This is something small that makes a difference to my life. That’s my little luxury and it’s meant to last a year, so I think I will do it again when it wears off.

“Excessive sweating is just one of those things and you do learn to deal with it, but if you can do something about it why not?”

Thankfully Lizzy has always been able to laugh about the problem, despite being constantly aware of it.

“Well my name is Elizabeth, so I’m ‘sweaty Betty’ to all of my family and friends,” she laughs. “But not anymore, I would never have been shy about it. I gave myself the nickname, because I’d always be showing people going ‘look! This is not normal!’”

Dr. John O’Keeffe from the Morehampton Clinic in Dublin where Lizzy had her procedure, recently set up the website www.sweating.ie, a resource for those with excessive sweating issues, who are looking into their treatment options.

“There are really two types — the people who sweat all over and the people who sweat in certain locations,” Dr. O’Keeffe explains.

“If someone is sweating all over and they’ve had it all of their lives then I’m afraid there is not a lot you can do. If somebody starts suddenly sweating like mad, there’s nearly always a reason for it and you’d go looking for that and do tests to investigate.

“However, for most people who have a sweating problem it’s generally either their hands or their armpits. There is nothing wrong with these people, they are not sick, and there is no health risk with it, but treatment can make an enormous difference to their lifestyles.”

Over 2pc of the Irish population have a problem with excessive sweat and feel it has a negative impact on their lives.

“An awful lot of people suffer in silence because they don’t know that there is something that can be done about it,” Dr. O’Keeffe adds. “Hand sweating and armpit sweating are treatable. I’ve had patients, who haven’t shaken peoples’ hands in three years because they are so conscious of their hands dripping wet. I also treat a lady, who before she had the treatment for her armpits, would always buy three of every top, all the exact same. That way if she was going anywhere important she would leave the spare ones in the car and change throughout the day.”

Botox is the most effective way of stopping excessive armpit sweating or axillary hyperhidrosis. The procedure involves injecting a dilute solution into the skin of the armpit, which blocks the neurotransmitters that produce sweat in the area and involves a very fine needle, which is inserted under the skin approximately 12 times on each side.

As there are no muscles in the armpit there is no loss of power to the area, which can happen with Botox to other areas, such as the face.

For those suffering from hand sweating there are surgical options, but patients are also advised to first try an iontophoresis machine. For more information see: www.sweating.ie.

Hand sweating and armpit sweating are entirely treatable

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