My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Category: Information

Hyperhidrosis Is a
Safety Problem

I have a panic attack every other Friday morning at approximately 7:00 a.m. It’s short lived, about 60 seconds. Here’s why:

hyperhidrosis and syringe safety

When you’re afraid to inject yourself with life-saving medication for fear the syringe will slip,
that’s a major hyperhidrosis safety problem.

You might be asking yourself what this is that I’m holding. It’s a pen syringe containing a life-saving medication used to treat ulcerative colitis (UC), among other medical conditions. I was diagnosed with UC, an autoimmune condition, four years ago. After a terrible flare in spring of last year, I ended up in the hospital unable to stop the amount of blood and mucus I was expelling. I became anemic, dehydrated, nutritionally deficient  and generally hated my life for a period of months because of this disease.

Before I was hospitalized, I had been on oral medication that worked well for a time. I had my first flare of symptoms return a couple of years ago, which were treated with steroids. I won’t bore you with my treatment protocols, but long story short I did what they call “step therapy.” Just like a pyramid, by the time I was hospitalized I had reached the top of the options list and had to go on this biologic medication. It’s some serious s&h#.

Hyperhidrosis and Needle Safety

I have to self-inject twice per month. The first time I received the medication it was a large dose – four injections – and then it tapered down to one injection every other week. Those first four I had to have a nurse do for me. Now I can do it myself, but each time I have to psych myself up while simultaneously try not to psych myself out.

Just thinking about injecting gets my sweating going. I have to wash my hands several times under ice cold water to help cool them down. Then, I rub the alcohol swab over my stomach two inches away from my belly button, making sure to rotate the injection site each time I dose. Once the alcohol is dry, I take a clean kitchen towel and use it to pinch my skin in my left hand. Ever try holding your stomach skin with wet hands? It’s near impossible.

With my right hand, I’ve already removed the lids on each end of the pen. I grasp it firmly, place the needle end on my stomach and push the top of the pen. As it makes a deafening click, I hold my breath for the next 10 seconds until I hear the sound of the syringe being emptied.

Once the injection is complete, I lean back in my chair and take a deep breath, thankful that I’ve managed to inject without the syringe slipping from my sweat-ladled hand. If it were to slip, I’d lose a precious dose of medication that keeps my body functioning.

There is no backup plan. I’d have to call my pharmacy and wait for another replacement dose to be drop shipped, delaying my dose as I watch the half-life of the previous dose I injected slowly wane.

Why This Matters

We need better (and more) treatment options for hyperhidrosis. This isn’t just Oh, I have an annoying sweating problem and wish it would stop. There are serious medical problems and risks associated with having hyperhidrosis, as I’ve just explained above.

So what do we do? We MUST share our stories and raise awareness about a condition that can be socially, emotionally, professionally and medically debilitating. Some days I consider it a downright disability.

My goal is to share my story with the FDA and lobby Congress for more clinical trials and research funding.

Hyperhidrosis affects 367 million people. That’s 5% of the global population. Think you’re alone? Think again. The FDA needs to become more aware of the excessive sweating epidemic.

So, if you happen to think of me on Friday mornings around 7:00 a.m. Mountain Time, please send me some good vibes for a dry injection. My next dose is July 14, which also means I will be traveling with my syringe and dealing with airport security and extra screening. Yeehaw.

What about you? Are any of my sweaty friends out there also dealing with another medical condition concurrently where it becomes a safety problem having HH? Insulin-dependent diabetics, anaphylaxis, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, etc.? Please share your story in the comments below. I will take them with me to the FDA.

The Thompson Tee for Excessive Underarm Sweating

I was fortunate enough to receive a product sample to test out from Billy Thompson,  president of The Thompson Tee. This is a T shirt made specifically for those who suffer from excessive underarm sweating, to the point that they soak through their shirt. People who sweat just a normal amount will also enjoy this shirt, too.

 

My shirt arrived promptly via FedEx and the packaging was in good condition and was very explanatory. I appreciate good packaging and copy. I want to know exactly why something is so good, what it can do for me, and why I can’t live without it. The Thompson Tee offers the following:

 

– Hydro-Shield technology: their own genius invention that prevents wet marks from reaching the second/outer layer of clothing so that you can feel confident the entire day as you wear the shirt
– Made from clinical-grade material (note, do NOT bleach the shirt when you wash it)
– Comfort and coolness: the shirt is tagless, very soft, and wicks moisture away from your armpits
– It comes in a crew neck or V neck style. I tested the crew neck version.
– Classified as a medical device by the FDA
– They use recycled materials and their textile process doesn’t emit any VOCs which are harmful to the environment
The Thompson Tee is guaranteed to keep you comfortable and confident

 

I wanted to make sure I picked a good day to wear the shirt so I could really see how it performed. I chose the day it snowed oh, like 22 inches. This amount of snow equates to massive amounts of shoveling. So, I wore the Thompson Tee under a zip-up fleece, one I knew wouldn’t breathe very well, and then I wore my winter coat over it when I shoveled the snow multiple times. I also wore the shirt to bed, and since I typically wake up sweaty at least once at night, I wanted to see how that would work, too.

 

Well, let me tell you. The Thompson Tee WORKS. I thought it would be bulky and uncomfortable to wear when I first took it out of the packaging. The underarm sections of the shirt are noticeably thicker where the Hydro-Shield technology is located; however, this thickness was not uncomfortable or bothersome, nor did it make me feel like I had pads under my arms. The Thompson Tee is surprisingly comfortable to wear, especially underneath multiple layers. Finally, a shirt exists that allows me to do what I do best, sweat, and not feel disgusting afterward and like I need to change my shirt and immediately wash it.

 

I have suggested to Mr. Thompson that a women’s line would be great, and it’s currently being developed. I think a women’s version of the tee that would work underneath a suit jacket and looks professional at the same time would be great.  I also suggested an underwear line for both men and women, too. Those with excessive sweating need all the help they can get, and products like these would go a long way in helping us to feel comfortable when we sweat. They’d be great for exercise, too. Everyone sweats when they exercise, but we could use a bit of extra moisture wicking and vapor release.

 

I highly encourage you to investigate this product for yourself. Mr. Thompson was easily reachable, very professional, concerned that I would be satisfied, and very prompt in all of his communications with me. He gets it, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to test a product that made me feel like someone else out there was looking out for me and my “cool factor.”

 

Check out The Thompson Tee website, view the products and descriptions, and order 1 or 2 or 10. They are affordable and worth the money. I have not been paid to do this product review. I am simply sharing the love with you. There are products out there that work and offer hope to those with hyperhidrosis. This is one of them. Please tell Mr. Thompson that Maria from My Life as a Puddle sent you. 🙂

 

Visit the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s Deals and Discounts page for a discount code to order the Thompson Tee.

 

Here are some pictures (my photography skills aren’t always the greatest) of The Thompson Tee and packaging.

 


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

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Hyperhidrosis: Guidelines for Patients

Here is a little something to help educate the general public about excessive sweating, a condition that is under-recognized and under-treated. Feel free to print this out and share it with your family and friends. If you’ve never sought treatment before, this is a good starting point to begin a conversation with your doctor. Don’t be afraid to speak up about your sweating. You are your own best health advocate.

 

What is hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating. It can affect all parts of the body, but is mainly seen on the hands, feet, head, and face. It also can be accompanied by facial blushing. Approximately 3% of the United States population has hyperhidrosis. People with hyperhidrosis may tend to avoid social situations, certain types of clothing, and career choices. It can cause shame, embarrassment, and isolation. Many people try to hide their sweating and don’t talk about it.

 

What causes hyperhidrosis?

Some physicians say it is caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system. These are the nerves linked to the “fight or flight” response (when your adrenaline starts pumping). In people with hyperhidrosis, the sweat glands can secrete up to 5 times more sweat than the average person. Emotional situations, nervousness, and excitement can make symptoms worse. It is still being studied whether hyperhidrosis may be genetic.

 

What are the symptoms?

· Increased sweating at any or all times of the day

· Feeling like your sweat glands are always in the “on” position

· Levels of sweat that affect your daily personal & professional activities

· Cold and clammy hands and/or feet

· Dehydration (feeling like you’re constantly thirsty)

· Routine tasks become difficult to perform due to the amount of sweat

 

How is hyperhidrosis diagnosed?

It’s a good idea to keep track of how much you think about your sweating. Does it impair your daily activities? Keep a list of the things you do to deal with your excessive sweating and take it to your doctor. Some ideas might include:

· How many times per day you change clothes or bathe?

· Do you carry “supplies” to help you deal with your sweat? (Examples include extra socks, antiperspirant, napkins, or towels.)

· Do you purchase new clothes or shoes more often than most people because they get ruined from sweating?

· Have you ever damaged paper, writing materials, office equipment, etc. due to your sweating?

· Do you get skin infections or skin irritations, especially in the hotter months of the year?

 

How is hyperhidrosis treated?

There is hope for you if you have excessive sweating. Be open and honest with your doctor about all of your symptoms. The more information you give your doctor, the better your treatment plan will be. Treatments can include:

· Antiperspirants (clinical strength or prescription versions)

· Oral prescription medications

· Iontophoresis (placing the affected areas in a pan of shallow water that has a mild electrical current passing through it)

· Botox injections

· Surgical options

Endoscopic transthoracic sympathectomy (ETS) surgery to cut off the nerve impulses

Subdermal laser ablation (SDLA) to interrupt the sweat glands

Removal of the sweat glands from the affected areas

 

How can you prevent hyperhidrosis?

While it’s hard to completely prevent the sweating from happening, these are some tips you can try to make yourself more comfortable.

· Wear breathable, loose-fitting clothing made from cotton or moisture wicking material

· Apply your antiperspirant at night to clean, dry skin so it’s better absorbed

· Wear layered clothing so you can remove items if you get hot and begin to sweat

· Wear open-heeled shoes or sandals to allow your feet to breathe

· Wear 100% cotton socks and underwear

· Purchase a small desk or battery-operated fan that you can use to help circulate the air

 

To learn more about hyperhidrosis, please visit:

The International Hyperhidrosis Society at www.SweatHelp.org

For a personal account of life with hyperhidrosis, visit the blog http://mylifeasapuddle.com

St. Louis Seminar—A Day of Hope and Camaraderie

Here’s another freelance article of mine I wrote for the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s November/December 2011 Sweat Solutions newsletter. You can find the original article here.

 

 

September 24, 2011

55 health care providers convened for a seminar entitled Hyperhidrosis: Best Practices and Emerging Technologies in Contemporary Care in St. Louis, Missouri. Afterward, they treated over 50 patient volunteers who have hyperhidrosis. The atmosphere in the room was not something to be missed.

The St. Louis Gateway Arch was the perfect background for the International Hyperhidrosis Society to conduct its latest CE seminar on treatments for HH. As the leading independent authority on excessive sweating, the IHHS is at the forefront of patient care and public awareness for a condition that affects approximately 3% of the population. On the other side of the arch stand patients who are affected by excessive sweating and are looking for hope and relief. When the IHHS and these patients came together, both were raised to new levels to complete the linking of the arch.

Patient volunteers who attended the seminar received a plethora of product samples from companies who understand and support the message of the International Hyperhidrosis Society. Product samples included Certain Dri® antiperspirant, Summer Soles® shoe inserts, Secret Clinical Strength® antiperspirant, and Qwik Shower® gym class wipes. For a full listing of sweat-friendly products, links to product websites, and discount codes, visit the Deals and Discounts page. The IHHS will host more seminars in 2012, provided that funding is granted. Subscribe to our Sweat Solutions newsletter on the home page to stay abreast of the upcoming educational and patient volunteer opportunities that are so generously provided by our sponsors and grantors.

In addition to the product samples being offered, Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, President and founding member of the IHHS, was on hand to provide an expert perspective. She treats thousands of hyperhidrosis patients each year. Since the state of Missouri has never hosted a hyperhidrosis seminar, this year’s event was incredibly important. Dr. Glaser was thrilled to give physicians a chance to learn more about the therapies available and how they can use them to help their own patients. She was happy to see patients at the St. Louis event who traveled from Florida, Connecticut, and many other states for a chance to receive treatment and get relief. Dr. Glaser would like others to know that there are great hyperhidrosis treatments available, and patients should never be afraid to seek help. There are physicians out there who can treat patients with hyperhidrosis. Do not give up on finding a qualified physician who can help. Visit the IHHS Physician Finder to get a head start on locating doctors in your area. All physicians who have attended an IHHS seminar will have it noted next to their name in the Physician Finder, so you can be confident they have an upper hand in hyperhidrosis knowledge and treatments.

One of the St. Louis patient volunteers, Long Tran, appreciated the opportunity to meet other people who also have HH. He was able to share and discuss the experiences they all have in common. He is appreciative of the opportunity to receive Botox treatment so that he can feel for himself what it’s like to have dry hands. At the end of the day while waiting for his taxi, Long met another patient volunteer and was able to chat with her for a few minutes. Even though it was a short conversation, he (like many of those who have HH) felt like he had known this woman all his life. When asked what he wants others to know regarding hyperhidrosis, Long thoughtfully replied, “People with HH are NOT nervous wrecks, and we do not excessively sweat because we choose to. From what I’ve seen during the event in St. Louis, people with HH are the most considerate, thoughtful, kind, intelligent, brave, attractive, and funny people you will ever meet.”

The St. Louis Gateway Arch, just like the International Hyperhidrosis Society, illuminates a corner of the world that might be under-recognized if one has never heard of it before. The IHHS would like to thank the wonderful city of St. Louis for their hospitality and landmark. It is events like these that bring hope, awareness, and a sense of community to those afflicted with hyperhidrosis and to those who treat or know someone with excessive sweating. Drop by drop, we are on our way to finding a cure and seeing the arch reflected in ourselves in the form of a smile.


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

Welcome to Hyperhidrosis—My Life as a Puddle (and other adventures)

Hi. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. This is a first for me–living my life out loud and online–so please be gentle. I do appreciate constructive feedback, though. Until I am more comfortable in the blogging world, I will be posting everything using the pen name My Life as a Puddle.

So, what prompted this blog? I had been thinking about it for awhile but was further convinced I should step out on faith after 2 incidents occurred. 1) I applied to be in a prestigious memoir writing workshop. Over 60 applications/manuscripts were received; out of the list of students that had to be capped at 12, I was #13. So close, yet so far. Had any of those students canceled, I would have been in! My manuscript is titled Caught Between Jane Austen & Twitter: A Manuscript on the Lost Art of Letter Writing. Some of the comments from the review panel included: sincere, unique format, good mass market appeal, intriguing idea. A friend of mine said 13 is a good number to be, as it’s right on the precipice. She also said to keep my ears to the ground and be open to awareness. She thought my manuscript could be the beginning of something else, like teaching others how to chronicle the lives of those important to them via the art of micro-writing a thank you letter. My friend is very wise, and things are unfolding just like she said they would. (More about the writing blessings coming my way in a later post.)

2) I attended a Continuing Medical Education (CME) symposium on hyperhidrosis a few months ago where I was fortunate enough to receive free Botox treatment for my palmar hyperhidrosis (I also have plantar and axillary HH). While the Botox only worked for a short period of time, I walked out of that symposium feeling like a million bucks because I had conquered my fear and endured approximately 160 needle injections. In. My. Hands. So even if it didn’t work, I knew I had done something really big for myself and could be my own best advocate for my health. In addition to conquering my fear, the entire symposium was complete validation for me and the way my body works. For the first time in my life, I stood in a room and could do exactly what I was supposed to be doing, which was sweating. The International Hyperhidrosis Society GETS it, and they got me. The physicians and nurses who administered the Botox treatment said I had the best case of palmar hyperhidrosis they’d seen all day! For once, I could be proud of my sweat. Those people, in that room, on that day, changed my life. So how could I not walk out of there dreaming about blogging so that I could further begin to live my truth? (Again, more about this story later.)

So, that’s it for my first post. Please bookmark my page and come back soon. If you have any questions/blog topic ideas/general feedback, please comment or contact me. I have a Facebook page that I’d love for you to “like” (Hyperhidrosis—My Life as a Puddle), or you can email me at mylifeasapuddle@gmail.com.


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

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