Iontophoresis

What is it?

Iontophoresis is a safe and effective method of reducing excessive sweating of the feet in those who suffer from hyperhidrosis.  It is not a permanent solution to the problem and further treatments will be needed at a later stage. However with maintenance therapy, you should be able to reduce your sweating considerably either with treatments at the clinic or with your own machine at home (ask for details). 85% of people who suffer with foot hyperhidrosis get a complete cessation of sweating using Iontophoresis treatment. If you are one of the unfortunate 15% who find this not to be the case, a prescription drug called Robinul can be added to the water to ensure successful treatment.

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What does treatment involve?

Iontophoresis treatment involves immersing the feet in baths of shallow water for a period of 30 minutes. The baths are attached to the Iontophoresis machine by electrical leads to form a circuit. Once sitting comfortably, you control the power on the machine yourself (initially with the help of the podiatrist) and turn up the power until you reach a sensation like ‘pins and needles’. When you have reached this level, the current is stabilised and you remain with your feet inserted in the baths for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes the power is turned down, a button is pressed on the machine to alter the direction of the current, and the power is then turned up again. This is not a painful treatment and should not even be uncomfortable. Once you have had 1 treatment session, you may feel happy to control the machine totally on your own at your next appointment.

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Is treatment suitable for everyone?

This treatment is unsuitable if you have a cardiac pacemaker or are pregnant, or have any orthopaedic metal work implanted in your legs, feet, or pelvis. Before the treatment you must remove any jewellery and body piercings, it would be best if you came to your appointment without these. As the current does not go above the neck, earrings, dental braces and fillings do not cause a problem.

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How long does it take?

A treatment will take approximately 30 minutes. 7 sessions are necessary over a 4 week period, so please inform us if you are likely to be away for any of this period. You may notice an improvement to sweating after the 4th treatment, however you must complete the course of 7 treatments.

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Example:

1st week – treatment on day 1, day 2 and day 4 (eg Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday)
2nd week – treatment on day 7 and day 10 (Tuesday and Friday)
3rd week – treatment on day 22 (Wednesday)
4th week – treatment on day 22 (Wednesday)

After this initial phase it is recommended that a single treatment is performed as soon as the signs of sweating start again. This varies with the individual and may be weekly or monthly. You should continue maintenance treatment as required.

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