My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time.

Author: My Life as a Puddle (page 2 of 22)

Meet My Friend Jess. She Might Be the Youngest Hyperhidrosis Advocate in the World!

Please welcome my very special friend Jess from Liverpool, England. She is six years old and has hyperhidrosis, and she might be the youngest hyperhidrosis advocate in the world. 

Jess’ parents, Hayley and Kevin, submitted their story to my blog last year. Right from the start, I felt a special connection with Jess and her family. We even had a Skype call earlier this year, and I got to talk to Jess and her mom (mum) for over an hour. It was hands down one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had since starting my hyperhidrosis advocacy work eight years ago. 

Without further ado, please meet Jess. 

Jess from Liverpool is my special guest for Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month.
She is a brave girl who is learning to use her voice
to speak up about what she calls her “sweaty thing.”

Speaking Up About Hyperhidrosis

When I asked Hayley if Jess would be willing to help me for Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month, she said Jess’ whole face lit up with excitement. 🙂 Now that Jess knows she is not alone in living with hyperhidrosis, she is better able to cope with her condition. Jess calls it her “sweaty thing” and has no problem telling people about hyperhidrosis and what it means.

One of my favorite stories about Jess involves her new baby cousin, Leo. One day she was holding him when her hands started to sweat. Her uncle asked if she wanted to pass Leo back for a bit, and she promptly said,

 “No, it’s okay, thank you. Leo will get used to my sweaty thing if he starts to learn about it now.” 

And then she asked her mom for her special flannel that they carry everywhere, placed it between her hands and Leo, and carried on holding that baby!

Remember: Ask for what you need when it comes to coping with your hyperhidrosis. 

Why Talking About Hyperhidrosis Matters

The thing that impresses me about Jess is that she’s learning to use her voice at such a young age. And she doesn’t apologize for speaking up, or for having sweaty hands and feet.

I know my initial reaction when meeting someone for the first time and shaking their hand is usually, “Sorry my hands are so wet.” I’ve gotten a lot better about this, though, and I no longer apologize for how my body behaves. Each of us is different, and we all have something we are dealing with at any given time. Yet because we are all different, we are also the same. 

We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. ~ Maya Angelou

Our Sweaty Tribe

If this is the first time you’ve visited my blog or realized that we now have an entire month dedicated to hyperhidrosis awareness, welcome to the sweaty tribe! 

Once Jess found me, she felt less alone. On the days I feel discouraged and think the work I’m doing – my website views, number of social media followers, awards I’ve been nominated for but still haven’t won, etc. – isn’t making a difference, I think about my new friend across the pond in England. If Jess is the only person whose life I have touched, whom I’ve helped in some small way, that is enough for me. 

I treasure the connection that is growing between me and her family, and I hope to one day meet Jess in person. I could cry right now just thinking about it. Jess is my spirit animal.

Jess from Liverpool has hyperhidrosis and is helping Maria from My Life as a Puddle Stand Together for Hyperhidrosis

Jess from Liverpool, my co-pilot for Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month

Join Me and Jess for Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month

Want to get involved in Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month? Read my previous post and download the sign that Jess is holding above. Post a picture of yourself holding it and tag me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I will reshare your post. Make sure it’s set to public so I can see it.

Jess has lots more to say, so make sure you sign up for my hyperhidrosis email newsletter so you don’t miss a sweaty thing!

Stand Together for Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month

Ahh, the blustery breeze and falling leaves signal the start of my favorite season, fall, which means I sweat less since it’s cooler. It also ushers in Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month (#HhAM) during the month of November.

This year, let’s Stand Together to bring awareness to the condition of uncontrollable excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis.

The Reasons Behind This Year’s Theme

The Stand Together theme I’ve chosen for this year was inspired by two things: a clip from the Rachel Hollis documentary Made For More and a T-shirt I found at Old Navy that says Stand Together. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in synchronicity and the Divine order of the Universe.

I watched this documentary back in January. I went by myself to the movie theater, and at the end the entire audience was standing and singing along to the final song, This Is Me by Keala Settle from the The Greatest Showman soundtrack. Watch the video below and pay attention to the lyrics.

This Is Me by Keala Settle from the The Greatest Showman soundtrack – a fitting theme with inspiring lyrics for those who suffer from hyperhidrosis.

As I left the theater that night, I was in tears. So many of the women in the audience had come with their friends, their arms linked as they swayed back and forth to this song. I didn’t have my best friend of 23 years with me that night. She stopped speaking to me back in March 2018 for reasons I will never know. Despite my numerous attempts to reach out to her and have a difficult conversation, I have been unable to speak with her and listen to why she made this decision. So that night in the theater, I felt deeply alone. Sad. Isolated. Ashamed of what I might have said or done to contribute to her feeling the way she does. I’m human, not perfect.

These feelings I was having felt an awful lot like what people who have hyperhidrosis might feel. I know I’ve experienced these same feelings with regard to excessive sweating in my own body.

The lyrics in This Is Me combined with Rachel Hollis asking her audience who attended RISE to stand up for their sisters made me think I could do something similar with regard to hyperhidrosis. When I feel bad about myself, it helps me to focus on others and how I may be of service to the world.

So, I’m standing up for you. I’m standing up for the men and women, boys and girls, and those who are gender nonconforming who have hyperhidrosis. And now, I invite you to join forces with me so that we can Stand Together for Hyperhidrosis.

How You Can Stand Up for Sweat

Do you feel alone because of your hyperhidrosis?

Ashamed of your skin?

Sad?

You’re not alone! 365 million people worldwide have hyperhidrosis. That’s 5% of the global population.

Now is the time to Stand Together. Stand up for your fellow sweaty brothers and sisters.

You don’t have to have hyperhidrosis yourself to participate in this hyperhidrosis social media challenge. You can support others and become an ally in the fight to promote hyperhidrosis awareness.

Download My Stand Together for Hyperhidrosis Image and Snap a #SweatySelfie

Right click on the image below, print it, and then snap a selfie of you holding it. Post it on social media and tag me in your caption – @mylifeasapuddle – and I will reshare it!

Use the hashtags #MyLifeAsAPuddle #HhAM and #StandTogetherForHyperhidrosis

Consider talking about the following things when you post:

  • Who are you standing up for with hyperhidrosis (yourself, a family member, a friend)?
  • How does your hyperhidrosis make you feel?
  • Why did you choose to Stand Together For Hyperhidrosis?
Stand Together for Hyperhidrosis with My Life As a Puddle for Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month

Right click this image, print it, then snap a selfie. Post it on social media and tag me using the directions above.

What Else to Expect During Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month

I have a few other sweaty things up my sleeve this month, including a very special guest who will be helping me create hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time.

Make sure you subscribe to my hyperhidrosis email list so you don’t miss the big reveal of my sweaty guest. I’m pretty sure you’ll love her just as much as I do!

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away ’cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that’s what we’ve become 

     – lyrics from This Is Me by Keala Settle

Guest Post: Hyperhidrosis in South Carolina

Please welcome Dawn (45) from South Carolina to the sweaty tribe. She is a brave soul with hyperhidrosis who has chosen to share her sweaty story on mylifeasapuddle.com. Going public about our sweaty secret can be scary, but using our sweaty voices is the bravest thing we will ever do. 

On what areas of your body do you experience hyperhidrosis? 

I’m not sure there isn’t a place I don’t sweat. The most noticeable areas are my hands, face, head, neck, feet, groin, lower back, and bum.

Dawn has palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands).

Dawns suffers from palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands) in addition to hyperhidrosis on other areas of her body.

How did you discover that your excessive sweating is a recognized medical condition? 

I’ve had Hh since I was born. According to my mother, I came out of the womb with sweaty hands and feet. Sometime in my early 20s I discovered what it was called. I believe it was during an OBGYN appointment. I told the doctor I needed to wear socks and apologized for being so sweaty.

I told her I sweat all the time, and through the conversation she told me I likely had Hh. I remember feeling dumb and thinking why I didn’t know this already. I just thought I was born sweatier than most people.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis Life Hacks for the Doctor’s Office

How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life? 

Hh affects everything I do every day. Here’s an average day in my life:

Temperature Control

First, I require my house to be at a certain temperature at night (65-70 degrees) with a ceiling fan on low, because if I sweat when sleeping I will soak the sheets and won’t be able to sleep. If I’m too cold, I sweat; too hot, I sweat.

When I wake up, the first thing I’m conscious of is the humidity for the day. If humidity is low, then I’m more relieved with less to be concerned about. Plus, I get excited because I that means I could wear a dress or jeans and flip flops.

If it’s humid, then I know socks/tennis shoes are must as are a loose-fitting shirt and pants, preferably all dry-fit materials (so excited this material was invented). I own dry fit clothing down to my undergarments.

Hyperhidrosis and Clothing

I can’t wear certain colors, materials, or shoes. Silk and wool are never an option, nor pretty shoes. I do buy pretty shoes but can only wear them on specific occasions and usually have to have an ankle strap so my feet don’t slip out when I walk. Most of my dress shoes have to be thrown away after so many wears because sweat stains show up.

I always have to buy my exercise shoes a size larger because my sweaty feet will swell and the shoes will feel tight.

Tricks for Coping With Hyperhidrosis

My desk contains a towel on my chair, so if I sweat my chair doesn’t get wet. I also have at least 3 or 4 “sweat pads” at a time at my desk. My sweat pad is simply an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper folded down that I place under my hands. One under my left hand at the keyboard, one under my right hand to use my computer mouse, and at least another one with my notebook for when I’m writing.

I’ve used sweat pads as far back as the first grade. I remember in elementary school my teacher wouldn’t let me use it when I took my test. She then told me I got a 0 on my test because the scan-tron reader couldn’t read my test. This is because my hand made the paper wet and the pencil went through the sheet and therefore the machine couldn’t read it.

RELATED: School supplies for hyperhidrosis

I remember crying to my parents and my father having a sit-down with the teacher to clear up the situation. From then on she gave me a blank piece of paper from her desk before each test.

Hyperhidrosis and Exercise

I hit the gym Monday through Friday. Probably the only place besides the pool or beach where I can fully sweat and everyone else does, too. However, I still sweat more than most people at the gym. I always hear “You’re working hard.” or “Your workout must have been tough.”

I laugh because I could have done a low intensity Pilates class where I’m relaxed, yet I look like I just took a shower. When I worked in an office (I now work from home), I had to workout after work so I could go home and shower. I’ve always been envious of people who can workout in the middle of the day and their hair and makeup are still in place.

The great thing about working from home is I’m not embarrassed that I sweat, and I can work out during the day. However, even the gym has its drawbacks. I have to use a lot of chalk when I’m using the bars for pull-ups, climbing rope, or lifting weights. Nothing like sweaty chalk clumping up on your hands. Forget the dream of being a Ninja Warrior; I can’t do 80 percent of the course because I can’t hang from my hands. It didn’t take long for my mom to figure out gymnastics wouldn’t work when I was six years old, since I would slip off most of the equipment.

Excessive Bathing Due to Hyperhidrosis

The last part of my day ends with a shower. My dermatologist told me I’ve developed dry, itchy skin (how ironic!) from excessive bathing. However, there is rarely a day that goes by where I don’t feel I have to shower due to my sweating. I always worry I stink, and I feel I have to get the sweat off.

Because my skin gets dry, I tend to use a lot of lotion. You can find at least one bottle in every location of my house, purse, and car. Ironically, when I apply the lotion, it makes me sweat. I have found some that make me sweat less. (Am I the only one who has a hard time putting on sunscreen when my hands are excessively sweating?)

Do you avoid certain things because of your sweating? 

I have learned to taper my activities and life around my Hh. High humidity is my nemesis. I can’t be outside during high humid and high heat days. I get to a “sweat wall.” When high heat and humidity are combined and I’m outside for too long, I get overheated and my body can’t sweat fast enough to cool me down, so I start to swell. My hands and feet will swell up so much my shoes will not fit, and I can barely move my fingers and toes because my skin is so stretched.

Dawn with her family. She avoids many activities due to hyperhidrosis.

Dawn with her family.

I grew up in Dallas, Texas, and I’ve lived in Denver, Colorado in addition to the Carolinas. It doesn’t matter the location, I still sweat. However, higher humidity/heat locations will cause the sweat wall to occur. I avoid Florida.

I avoid certain types of clothing and shoes. I avoid work events whenever possible. I have work projects in Jamaica, which I’d love to visit more often; however, depending on the time of year I make excuses to not go because no proper clothing would help me there in high humidity.

RELATED: Things People Avoid Because of Hyperhidrosis

I would love to use false eyelashes, but I sweat too much. At this point in my life, I’ve never met anyone like me who has sweaty eyelids, too. Forget eye shadow and regular mascara. I’ve tried waterproof mascara, but I’m allergic to it and it will make my eyes itch and water.

I avoid drinking alcohol unless on a special occasion as it will make me sweat more. I avoid holding hands with other people and holding babies. Babies tend to be wrapped up and warm and within five minutes of holding them my hands are sweating through the poor baby’s clothes. I usually don’t hold them. If I do, I try to pass them to my husband and make the excuse I can’t hold them anymore because I want everyone to have a chance to hold them.

Weddings and Hyperhidrosis

I pretty much avoid situations where I don’t have a way out or an excuse to leave if I’m sweating too much. A couple of years ago my best friend got married. I promised her a long time ago that if/when she got married, I’d be a bridesmaid. I have always had a policy with my friends where I would help with wedding events but don’t want to be a bridesmaid.

The amount of sweat I produce when put on the spot in front of a lot of people is so excruciating that I will have a panic attack.

I’ll end up with sweating rolling down my legs and back, with evidence on the floor where I was standing. Since I promised my best friend and I because I love her so much, I agreed. I had a panic attack the night before the wedding because she chose to have her wedding in the middle of July in an open air barn.

RELATED: My favorite tips for hyperhidrosis on your wedding day

I was nauseous. There was no breeze where we were standing, and the bridesmaid behind me kept blowing on the back of my neck to help cool me down. I had a couple of napkins in my hand, but they were soaking wet within the first five minutes of being up there. Sadly, I was counting the minutes during this beautiful ceremony until I could get out of there and out of the dress (which wasn’t until the end of the night).

Do you find that hyperhidrosis affects your mental health? If so, in what ways and how do you cope? 

Hh definitely has an affect on my mental health. The fear of being shamed, getting questioned, or enduring curious looks from people about why I’m sweating is always present. However, I try to avoid situations where this would happen, but this is difficult to do if you leave your house.

I’ve had people see my hands and actually say “Gross, why are your hands so sweaty?” in a work setting.

When I was little, the teacher would hold my hand because the other kids would not. You can usually tell where I was recently sitting in my house because you’ll see a sweat mark. I deal with it, but it is and always has been at the front of my mind and affects the decisions I make.

RELATED: How Hyperhidrosis Can F**k You Up a Little

What treatments for hyperhidrosis – if any – have you tried? 

I tried Certain Dry antiperspirant, which they suggested I use on my palms, but I didn’t like how it made my skin feel. I’ve never taken any medication for Hh.

In the 90s, I looked into ETS surgery for hyperhidrosis, where they clamp the nerves. However, when I collected more information from the office that was offering this surgery, the side effects were not worth it for me. The sweat would still come out somewhere, just in a different location. Since I’m already sweating and know where it’s going to be, I didn’t want to trade that for another set of sweating problems in areas I wasn’t used to.

Is anything working for you to help you cope with your hyperhidrosis?

I avoid uncomfortable situations and make accommodations to cope with Hh. Until I read an article on Maria’s blog, I didn’t know there were other people who are like me. I knew Hh existed and that obviously people had it, but maybe they had less severe cases and could hide it. I’ve never met anyone with Hh and if I had, they hid it well. I truly thought I was a rare exception with the amount of sweating I had. I am thankful that my Hh is not a life-threatening disease.

What’s the worst thing about your hyperhidrosis? 

It’s mentally exhausting to think about it every day.

What do you think is the biggest misconception when it comes to hyperhidrosis? 

The comments that I come across regularly are

  • “You must be nervous.”
  • “You must be really hot.”
  • “Are you feeling OK?”
  • “Do you have a fever?”
  • Or the bold, non-filtered comment,  “Why are you so sweaty?”

I’ve used the I’m not feeling well excuse so many times that people will back away or dig out Tylenol from their purse to give to me.

What would you like to see in the future when it comes to treatments for hyperhidrosis? 

Something that makes it stop all together and doesn’t cause something else to go wrong that we would need a pill or surgery for. Air-conditioned car seats should be covered by insurance. 🙂 I was so excited the first time I discovered these.

If you could tell the world only one thing about hyperhidrosis, what would it be? 

Hey world of people who don’t have hyperhidrosis. It’s just sweat. Get over it.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about your sweaty story? 

I appreciate the stories told on mylifeasapuddle.com. I only wish we were all friends who lived near each other so we could sweat together. I’m grateful that my family and friends love me and all my sweat.

Do you have a sweaty story?

share your sweaty storyI’ve opened my blog to the larger hyperhidrosis community. If you’d like to be featured, please fill out the form on my Contact Me page. In the subject line, enter Guest Post. Not a writer? No worries! I can edit your story, send you questions to answer to create one, or you can record a video.

(Feature image credit at top of page: Clint Patterson on Unsplash)

Hyperhidrosis at the Doctor’s Office

I almost didn’t post this because it’s so embarrassing.

This is what the exam table at my dermatologist’s office looked like when I stood up after my appointment.

sweat marks from hyperhidrosis on exam table at doctor's office

This is what the exam table at my dermatologist’s office looked like when I stood up after my appointment.

How many people avoid getting the health care they need because hyperhidrosis – a health condition in and of itself – is a barrier to care?

I went to the dermatologist to get a bump on the inside of my leg treated. The doctor had to inject it with steroids to reduce the inflammation. This is the third round of injections I’ve had, and they hurt like a mother. So not only was I dealing with the usual trigger of being in an exam room, sitting on the paper that disintegrates underneath me, I also had to endure needles and anticipate pain.

RELATED: Another one of my visits to the dermatologist

The room they normally put me in that has a giant fan in the corner was occupied, and I had planned on turning it on as soon as I walked in. When my dermatologist came in, she remembered how much the fan helps me control my sweating. So she went and found a handheld one instead. Bless her heart!

Hyperhidrosis Life Hacks For Going to the Doctor

Ask for an extra paper gown 

Ask for a fan

If you’re at the dermatologist’s office specifically, they most likely will have one since they use them when spotlights are placed on the area being treated (like removing skin tags or growths) since patients can get hot from the lights blazing during those procedures.

a handheld fan helps you cope with hyperhidrosis

A fan might help you control symptoms of hyperhidrosis.

Locate the paper gowns

Pay attention to which cabinet or drawer the nurse gets the paper gown from. If you’re too embarrassed to ask for an extra one, just grab one when they leave the room while you change into your gown.

Ask for a surgical pad 

You can sit on top of the pad instead of the flimsy paper. They are much thicker and more absorbent than the paper gown and are usually used during procedures where blood or other fluids might need to be soaked up.

Once your appointment is over, you can be the one to tear off the paper from the roll on the table and shove it into the trash along with the flimsy paper gown. Then, it’s easier to hide the puddle you just made before anyone sees it.

Most important tip

Love yourself and your body so that you go through with seeking health care when you need it, regardless of how bad your hyperhidrosis acts up.

Your body is your temple. If you don’t respect it, how do you expect anyone else to do so?

I hate going to the doctor! But if I don’t take care of myself, it makes it harder to be an advocate for not only myself but the 365 million other people who have hyperhidrosis.

So, let this be a lesson that you can survive your hyperhidrosis. It might suck in the moment (or for 30 minutes in the doctor’s office), but the benefits will outweigh the risk of being outed for your sweaty secret.

Are you following me on social?

Let’s connect! I post a lot of sweaty things on social media that you won’t find on my blog. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Guest Post: Hyperhidrosis in France

Please welcome Ingrid from France to the sweaty tribe. She is a brave soul with hyperhidrosis who has chosen to share her sweaty story on mylifeasapuddle.com.

Going public about our sweaty secret can be scary, but using our sweaty voices is the bravest thing we will ever do. 

woman in straw hat sitting in grassy area

Meet Ingrid from France. She has hyperhidrosis.

On what areas of your body do you experience hyperhidrosis?

Hands and feet (groin too, but not as much)

How did you discover that your excessive sweating is a recognized medical condition?

15 years ago, while searching the Internet

How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life? 

It sometimes feels like my entire life revolves around hyperhidrosis, for example:

RELATED: How Hyperhidrosis Can F*&k You Up a Little

When packing for holiday, most people will take one pair of sandals and one pair of closed-toe shoes. I need to pack three pairs of both, as they need to dry for two to three days after I’ve worn them. And, they will still smell bad.

sandals with sweaty footprints in them

Ingrid’s new sandals after wearing them for just one day.

I had to give up climbing, dancing, playing the guitar and many more activities because of hyperhidrosis. I still practice yoga, but I wear special socks and must place a towel under my hands, otherwise I can’t hold the postures.

RELATED: Best Yoga Products for Hyperhidrosis

Once, I had this important meeting where I knew I would have to shake hands with lots of people. I was so anxious about my hyperhidrosis that I wore a fake bandage on my right hand and pretended I burnt myself with hot water so I could avoid any hand contact! For weeks after that, colleagues asked me about my hand. It felt terrible having to lie.

Having to take my shoes off is also a nightmare. I went on a trip once with two colleagues, and we shared a hotel room. After a day spent walking around town, I ran to the balcony of our room to get rid of my shoes. I left them outside for the night and then ran to the bathroom to wash my smelly feet.

I could see the other women didn’t understand my weird behavior. The most embarrassing thing was when I noticed they were looking at the wet marks my socked feet were leaving on the floor while walking from the balcony to the bathroom.

I could list hundreds of anecdotes of embarrassing situations linked to hyperhidrosis.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis Fears

Do you avoid certain things because of your sweating?

Yes, I do. So many things! I love dancing, but I never do it.

I wanted to take part in a women’s circle, but when I was told that we had to hold hands at different points during the ceremony, I decided not to join the group.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis and Avoidance

I can’t knit, anything to do with paper is tricky, using a tactile mobile too, opening a jar, carrying something, holding hands with someone…

Do you find that hyperhidrosis affects your mental health? If so, in what ways and how do you cope?

It does take a lot of mental space, as I’m constantly anticipating any social event. In my private life, too, it’s embarrassing. Holding hands or touching someone’s skin isn’t very enjoyable for the receiving person, and it makes me feel terrible.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis and Dating

I sometimes feel like I can’t enjoy life the way I would like to because of my hyperhidrosis.

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What treatments for hyperhidrosis – if any – have you tried?

I’ve tried:

  • Hypnosis
  • Urinotherapy (bathing my feet in my first morning pee for 30 minutes)
  • Acupuncture
  • All the antiperspirant products available on the market
  • I stopped drinking coffee for a year
  • I drank liters of sage infusions
  • I’m sure I’m forgetting some others.

Iontophoresis worked very well for years (I have my own device that I payed over 400 euros for) but not so much now. I think it might be due to the water, which is not as hard as when I used to live in a big city.

Is anything working for you to help you cope with your hyperhidrosis?

Iontophoresis is the only thing that helps a little bit. Mentally, the fact that more and more people are going public about this shameful condition helps a lot. I feel less isolated and alone.

What’s the worst thing about your hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis really affects my relationships with people and the way I enjoy life.

What do you think is the biggest misconception when it comes to hyperhidrosis?

The fact that people think that my hands sweating must mean something about my personality, like I’m dishonest, hypocritical, or can’t be trusted.

There’s also this idea that people can control their hyperhidrosis if only they were less anxious, more this, less that. For me personally, hyperhidrosis isn’t only linked to stress. I can be in my bed, on holiday, 100% relaxed and still sweat like crazy.

I also hate when I open up about my hyperhidrosis and people say, “Well, I also sweat, it’s normal, everybody does.”

Most people just don’t understand how invalidating hyperhidrosis is.

What would you like to see in the future when it comes to treatments for hyperhidrosis?

A surgery without side effects (compensatory sweating). If that existed, I would do it immediately.

If you could tell the world only one thing about hyperhidrosis, what would it be?

Hyperhidrosis isn’t just sweating more than what is normal. It’s invalidating and impacts many aspects of one’s life. A person who suffers from hyperhidrosis didn’t choose to have this condition. Please stop thinking we’re disgusting or mean or dishonest or weird.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about your sweaty story?

People suffering from hyperhidrosis should be more open about it and just tell people. Over the last year or so, I’ve tried to do so, and it makes me feel better to open up rather than constantly hiding. It’s really less exhausting!

Do you have a sweaty story?

share your sweaty story
I’ve opened my blog to the larger hyperhidrosis community. If you’d like to be featured, please fill out the form on my Contact Me page. In the subject line, enter Guest Post. Not a writer? No worries! I can edit your story, send you questions to answer to create one, or you can record a video.

Hyperhidrosis Meetup – Boston

We tell stories in order to feel at home in the universe.” – Roger Bingham
💫


One of the most rewarding aspects of the advocacy work I do for hyperhidrosis is meeting people in person who have been personally touched by the sweaty work I’ve been called to do in the world.
🌎

Last week, I met “E” who shared her story anonymously on my blog. Read her story: Hyperhidrosis in Massachusetts 

💦
You’ll notice she agreed to show her face in this picture, which is a huge step forward. She preferred to be anonymous for her guest post, which you’ll see if you haven’t already read her story. 💦

Maria standing with Anonymous in Massachusetts

I met up in person with “Anonymous in Massachusetts” after she bravely shared her hyperhidrosis story on mylifeasapuddlecom.

I sipped a maple spice latte (because I love #AllThingsFall) and E had ice cream. We swapped sweaty stories for a couple of hours in the Boston breeze. We sat outside because air flow helps us better control our hyperhidrosis.

We are a lot alike, and I am grateful to have met her. We’ll even be exchanging Christmas cards this year, as we both love pens, stationery, and letter writing!

You see, once we share our sweaty stories, our voice and confidence in ourselves grows stronger. We realize we are not alone, that our stories are also others’ stories. And when we have the courage to share our truth, we attract those who are like us. This is our sweaty tribe, our home in the universe through our shared stories. 🎤

Do you have a sweaty story?

I’ve opened my blog to the larger hyperhidrosis community. If you’d like to be featured, please fill out the form on my Contact Me page. In the subject line, enter Guest Post. Not a writer? No worries! I can edit your story, send you questions to answer to create one, or you can record a video.

Guest Post: Hyperhidrosis in California

Please welcome Kristen from Ventura County, CA, to the sweaty tribe. She is a brave soul with hyperhidrosis who has chosen to share her sweaty story on mylifeasapuddle.com.

Kristen and I went through two rounds of edits for her story. After thinking about it, she realized she was holding back. In this final version, you’ll see just how brave she is for sharing her sweaty truth and all that can go along with it. 

Going public about our sweaty secret can be scary, but using our sweaty voices is the bravest thing we will ever do. 

On what areas of your body do you experience hyperhidrosis?

My family tells me when I was five, I would always carry a purse stuffed with tissue. I don’t remember this, but I can guarantee I had hyperhidrosis back then because stuffing purses with tissue or towels is something I have done my entire life to wipe my sweat. 

I sweat from my hands, feet, face, armpits, groin, back, and legs. At such a young age, I was confused about what was happening to me, and I didn’t know how to express how it made me feel. I remember thinking, I can’t climb the monkey bars because my hands keep slipping and I can’t wear sandals. I accepted “I can’t” for a lot of things. 

RELATED: Tips for when you sweat “down there”

I was embarrassed that I couldn’t do what everyone else was doing. As a result, it made me feel lonely, gross, and less than. I didn’t have support from my family or my doctors because no one understood the impact hyperhidrosis could have. I was just sweat. Everyone sweats! The impact it had on me was not noticeable to others because I am naturally a happy, energetic person. 

How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life?

I couldn’t leave the house without a sweater, or I’d have a panic attack. I often hid in bathroom stalls so that no one would see me freaking out. Regardless, I’ve always been determined to prove hyperhidrosis wrong.

In high school I couldn’t accept the “I can’ts” anymore. I couldn’t shake hands or participate in class.

So I decided if I cannot change my sweating, I can change how it controls some of my life.

palm sweating

Kristen’s sweaty hands (palmar hyperhidrosis) didn’t stop her from trying to advocate for herself.

I took every opportunity to shake someone’s hand and publicly speak up, and now it doesn’t really phase me. I performed my own exposure therapy. Unfortunately, doing this on my own became more difficult.

Not only was it exhausting having to manage and hide my sweat, but I had to be my own advocate, researcher, and patient all while also trying to just be a kid.

How did you discover that your excessive sweating is a recognized medical condition?

When the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHhS) published an article about AT&T recognizing hyperhidrosis as a disability, I finally felt like it was OK to share my story and ask for help. Prior to that I assumed everything I struggled with in school or with my personal goals was a product of me being dumb or simply incapable. 

How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life?

It affects every aspect of my life:  

Do you find that hyperhidrosis affects your mental health? If so, in what ways and how do you cope? 

I developed trichotillomania (also known as hair pulling disorder) of my eyebrows as a way to relieve negative emotions and stress from hyperhidrosis. My anxiety and paranoia about my sweat got worse in college. 

I started to self medicate by drinking. Alcohol allowed me to be free from worrying about my hyperhidrosis. I didn’t care if I was sweating, and if I was I blamed the alcohol. I used it to silence and bury the frustration I experienced after trying everything to treat hyperhidrosis and nothing working. 

Have you ever avoided things because of your hyperhidrosis?

I avoided hanging out with friends because I didn’t want to put on a facade that I was fine. Yet I couldn’t tell them the truth because I feared they would think I was gross. 

I’ve avoided my goal to become a Physician Assistant. I still question whether it’s possible for someone with hyperhidrosis to work in the medical field and treat patients. 

I feel ridiculous thinking I can become a Physician Assistant. 

Yet, I have to thank Maria (aka My Life as a Puddle) and the IHhS for bringing light to our harsh reality. By acknowledging our struggles and providing advice on how to cope, I am beginning to feel more confident in my ability to be the provider I never had.

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What treatments for hyperhidrosis – if any – have you tried?

The most effective treatments for me are prescription anticholinergic medications and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). I used to take propantheline, and now I take glycopyrrolate. 

When the medication was working and I was not sweating, I noticed I would get anxious knowing I would be going to the store, and that anxiety would cause me to sweat. It became a vicious cycle. Therefore, therapy allowed me to identify triggers and learn better ways to cope with those situations I used to fear.

What would you like to see in the future when it comes to treatments for hyperhidrosis?

I would like to see earlier diagnosis and increased regional/local support for those who do not have access. This includes insurance companies having better coverage for medication.

I used to pay $40/month for propantheline for six years because my insurance considered it a tier four non formulary drug; I couldn’t take the recommended generic equivalent because it didn’t have the same drying effect.

I’d also like to see an improved definition of hyperhidrosis. For example, my level of hyperhidrosis is severe. Severity is based on how much it affects my ability to perform daily tasks. The amount I sweat has not changed since I was a kid, but my ability to perform daily tasks has improved tremendously because of therapy.

What’s the worst thing about your hyperhidrosis?

It doesn’t matter if I’m in the snow, I will still sweat. It may help to be in a cooler environment, but sometimes it is worse because my socks and clothes become wet, so then I’m freezing.

I look at people’s hands, feet, and face because I am self conscious about mine. I also use it to gauge how well I can hide my sweat. 

It is hard to love yourself when you don’t know how to love yourself. Understanding that hyperhidrosis may be with me forever is very difficult for me to accept; it is a part of me that I hate. 

But, I am learning how to embrace it and using this opportunity to help someone who may be going through the same thing. You’d be surprised how many people you know who also have hyperhidrosis. 

Do you have a sweaty story?

I’ve opened my blog to the larger hyperhidrosis community. If you’d like to be featured, please fill out the form on my Contact Me page. In the subject line, enter Guest Post. Not a writer? No worries! I can edit your story, send you questions to answer to create one, or you can record a video.

Join Me at the Women For One Courageous Truthtelling Retreat

Many of you have asked me how I got up the courage to start sharing my sweaty story. It’s been a process over the last eight years as I’ve written stories on my hyperhidrosis blog. Each year, I’ve gone a little bit deeper and talked a little bit more about the things no one wants to tell you when it comes to living with hyperhidrosis. Things many people are too embarrassed or ashamed about to speak up.

Now, I’m inviting you to join me to learn how to do the same thing. I’ll be attending the Women For One Courageous Truthtelling Retreat in September.

Are you a passionate, creative woman who wants to be a catalyst for change—by stepping into your unique voice and power? Do you want to access your deepest truth to inspire others…but you’re not quite sure where to start? Are you a soul seeker who’s ready to rewrite the story of your life so you’re the one in the driver’s seat?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Women For One’s Courageous Truthtelling: A Workshop for Women to Embrace Our Stories and Voices was made for you! This special retreat takes place September 6–8 at the gorgeous and rejuvenating Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, in Stockbridge, MA.

Participants will embrace one foundational truth:

Each and every one of us has a powerful story to tell—and it’s often not the story we’ve been taught to put forward in the world. Rather, it’s the story of our wholeness, which contains the full spectrum of our good, our bad, our ugly, and our everything in between.

RELATED: Watch me share my messy story on stage – it’s probably not what you’re thinking it is.

Like all other Wf1 retreats, Courageous Truthtelling offers women a safe, brave, and supportive space to create the deep connections we need in order to move beyond limiting beliefs, discover our voices, step into our power, and strengthen our connections with one another.

You’ll be guided through an intimate, powerful process for sharing stories so you can experience healing, empowerment, and connection. You will also be supported in identifying and diving into your most authentic and heartfelt personal stories to build trust and confidence, and to take decisive action in your life.

Join me and my friends at Wf1 in the picturesque Berkshire mountains of Western Massachusetts for a weekend of sisterhood and solidarity! Courageous Truthtelling will be an unforgettable experience in an unforgettable setting, so don’t miss out.

Find out more and register here.

This is NOT a sponsored post. I am simply sharing with you an organization and an opportunity that has personally changed my own life. I hope it can do the same for you.

Guest Post: Hyperhidrosis in Massachusetts

Meet Anonymous, 33, from Massachusetts. She is a brave soul with hyperhidrosis who has chosen to share her sweaty story on mylifeasapuddle.com. I want my blog to be a safe space for those who find me, which is why her guest post is anonymous. Going public about our sweaty secret can be scary, but using our sweaty voices is the bravest thing we will ever do.

On what areas of your body do you experience hyperhidrosis?

Hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), feet (plantar hyperhidrosis), armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis), groin, face (craniofacial hyperhidrosis)

How did you discover that your excessive sweating is a recognized medical condition?

At some point in high school, I remember seeing a news special about hyperhidrosis and was floored that there were others like me. Until then, none of my pediatricians had ever said anything about it. When I brought it up to my pediatrician at the time, he was pretty dismissive about it.

How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life?

It affects pretty much everything, from:

I chose to go to college in Maine in part because cold weather is easier than hot weather.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis and Job Interviews

Do you avoid certain things because of your sweating?

All the time! Most recently, I avoided playing pool at a work outing.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis and Avoidance

Do you find that hyperhidrosis affects your mental health? If so, in what ways and how do you cope?

No

What treatments for hyperhidrosis – if any – have you tried?

  • Certain Dri antiperspirant
  • Glycopyrrolate
  • Botox injections in my hands
  • Other topical antiperspirant creams for feet and hands
  • Iontophoresis, and
  • Being presented as a case study at Dermatology Grand Rounds at Massachusetts General Hospital

RELATED: Read my product review of Carpe and how it finally gave me some relief!

Is anything working for you to help you cope with your hyperhidrosis?

Yes. I cope as best I can through outlets like running, biking, being outside and also talk therapy, recharging with alone time, reading. I think I loved running and sports in general because I considered cross country and track the great equalizer for me…if you’re running your heart out in a 5k race, you’re supposed to be sweating.

What’s the worst thing about your hyperhidrosis?

The negative reactions I get from some people when shaking hands, etc.

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What do you think is the biggest misconception when it comes to hyperhidrosis?

That we sweat because we’re nervous and that somehow we can make it stop on demand.

What would you like to see in the future when it comes to treatments for hyperhidrosis?

Something that works and doesn’t have severe side effects or causes compensatory sweating. Also, more research into the genetics behind hyperhidrosis.

RELATED: The time I stood on stage and spoke to members of the FDA and pharma about hyperhidrosis

If you could tell the world only one thing about hyperhidrosis, what would it be?

Like any other medical condition, it’s not something we can help or control all the time.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about your sweaty story?

A few things come to mind when I think of how hyperhidrosis has impacted my life in recent years.

Getting Fingerprinted With Hyperhidrosis

The first is when I was repeating the MCAT while applying to medical school for the second time and I needed to provide an electronic fingerprint before testing for ID purposes. I was nervous because of the exam and so of course my hands were sweating profusely and my fingerprint wouldn’t register.

I tried explaining about hyperhidrosis and that at this point, wiping my hands on my jeans wasn’t going to do much. The exam proctors looked at me like I was crazy, didn’t have an inkpad to do a regular fingerprint, and suggested that they might not let me test.

Needless to say, I was in full panic by then and I don’t remember exactly how they decided to let me start the test, but I do remember sobbing quietly in front of my computer for several minutes before trying to pull myself together to begin the physics section.

Reader, I did not do well on the exam. My dermatologist gave me a letter explaining my hyperhidrosis to use another time, but in the end, I decided medical school was no longer for me because of this incident and many other incidents while working in a hospital and research labs.

Wearing a Cast With Hyperhidrosis

Last summer, I broke my wrist and pelvis in a bike crash. My wrist fracture was so severe that I required surgery to set the fracture and a metal plate along the bone. When the surgeon explained that the metal plate serves as an internal cast and I would be wearing a removable splint instead of a plaster cast, I was so thankful.

I had been dreading wearing a cast on my wrist for 6 weeks with hyperhidrosis and thinking my hand would basically just rot in the cast or they would have to make me a new cast every week.

sweaty hand after wearing a splint after surgery

Wearing a cast or splint on any limb is a concern if you have hyperhidrosis due to excessive sweat pooling in and around the covered area.

Luckily, too, I had occupational therapists who were not put off by my sweaty hands while they had to treat my wrist. Hyperhidrosis definitely still complicated things like keeping my stitches dry. I had to meticulously clean my splint and change the sleeve I wore underneath it frequently, but at least I didn’t have to suffer through an itchy, sweaty cast for most of the summer.

Do you have a sweaty story?

I’ve opened my blog to the larger hyperhidrosis community. If you’d like to be featured, please fill out the form on my Contact Me page. In the subject line, enter Guest Post. Not a writer? No worries! I can edit your story, send you questions to answer to create one, or you can record a video.

Let’s Raise Hyperhidrosis Awareness in the 2019 WEGO Health Awards

I am excited to announce I have been nominated for the WEGO Health Best in Show: Blog Award in the 2019 WEGO Health Awards. I’ve also been nominated for Best Kept Secret and Best Team Performance. If you nominated me, thank you!

Take just a few seconds to endorse me for this award!

WEGO Health is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills, and insights of patient leaders. They are the world’s largest network of patient leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics. Click here to learn more about their Patient Leader Network.

The WEGO Health Awards were created to celebrate those who tirelessly support the mission of WEGO Health: to empower the patient voice.

With 16 award categories, the WEGO Health Awards are the only awards across all conditions and platforms that recognize the over 100k inspiring Patient Leaders who raise awareness, share information, and support their communities – but often without recognition.

My Hyperhidrosis Advocacy

Since my nomination in the 2018 awards, my puddle of hyperhidrosis hope and awareness has grown larger. I’ve been recognized for hyperhidrosis advocacy (directly or indirectly) in the following ways:

Endorse hyperhidrosis for the 2019 WEGO Health Awards

Help me raise hyperhidrosis awareness by taking just a few seconds to endorse me for the 2019 WEGO Health Awards!

How You Can Help

I’m now looking to my incredibly supportive network to help endorse me for this award. It takes just seconds of your time! Deadline is July 31, 2019

Visit my WEGO Health Awards profile and click “Endorse” under my nominee photo.

If I have ever supported you, made you laugh, or inspired you to keep fighting – please consider endorsing me for this award. Thank you.

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