Once or twice a year, Zoe Dredge has her armpits Botoxed. It sounds odd, but Botox is catching on as a treatment for hyperhidrosis — or excessive sweating. Dredge has had the condition since puberty.

“I would have excessively large sweat patches under my arms at any given time of day, despite temperature, exertion, activity, fitness, or deodorant,” she says.

Dredge, who grew up in Brisbane, Australia, learned to wear lightweight, breathable fabrics. She wasn’t comfortable at dances, putting her hand up in class or giving an overarm hug. She always thought her sweatiness was related to the heat of her home country.


But when she moved to often-chilly Toronto in 2007 and still had year-round “sweaty pits,” she knew something was up. “When your body’s fighting to remain warm and you’re still sweating buckets, it makes you really aware that something is not right,” she said.

Finally a friend suggested Botox. “I went for it,” says Dredge, who is a bartender. The treatment was over within 15 minutes and it took full effect within two weeks. “I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it,” she says. “It’s like a dream.” She is re-training herself not to worry about what she wears. “I often catch myself having little blissfully care-free moments.”

She’ll get it done again in seven to 12 months.

Other treatments for hyperhidrosis include antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride, oral medications, low-intensity electric current and surgery.

Obsessing over a non-problem

Some people smell and don’t know it. But a more serious problem is thinking that you smell when you don’t. People who are preoccupied with concerns about body odour have what’s called olfactory reference syndrome.

This disorder, which is so serious that 68 per cent of sufferers contemplate suicide, was discussed at the recent annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in New Orleans.

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