Please welcome Beth from Arkansas 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.
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On what areas of your body do you experience hyperhidrosis?
I have palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands) and plantar hyperhidrosis (sweaty feet).
How did you discover that your excessive sweating is a recognized medical condition?
I was definitely an adult and was just googling “excessive sweating” one day. I had never realized it was an actual medical condition. My family had always told me I would grow out of it!
How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life?
I’m an office manager in a small law firm, so I’m constantly handling important paperwork that will get wet or crumpled if I’m not careful.
My phone handset is often dripping once I get off of a long phone call.
I dread meeting new clients or having sales meetings with vendors because of the inevitable, dreaded handshake.
I pride myself in being a competent, fairly self-confident person, and I hate that many folks’ first impression of me is a sweaty handshake.
I’ve also been a hobbyist artist my entire life, dabbling in lots of different media. I can remember as kid wearing winter gloves while drawing so I wouldn’t smear my work! Nowadays my focus is landscape photography, which is a little more sweat-forgiving. Specifically I love hiking to and photographing waterfalls in my home state of Arkansas. When you’re out in the woods, nobody cares if you’re sweaty!
Do you avoid certain things because of your sweating?
- Absolutely. I often dread meeting new people in general because of the threat of a handshake.
- I don’t wear sandals usually, even in the hottest days of summer, because my feet slip around in them too much.
- I always wear at least one item of dark clothing to work so I have something that will soak up my hand sweat discreetly.
- One activity I can specifically think of is acroyoga, basically partner/acrobatic yoga. It was so much fun the few times I tried it, but I couldn’t get past being uncomfortable with others having to touch my hands and feet.
Do you find that hyperhidrosis affects your mental health? If so, in what ways, and how do you cope?
It has definitely made me feel depressed and insecure, especially when I was a teenager (and occasionally to this day). Now that I am an adult, although it still bothers and annoys me, I have tried to see my hyperhidrosis as more of an obstacle to work through than as a barrier. I try to re-frame my negative thoughts into something more along the lines of, “Wow, if I can do X-Y-Z while sweating profusely, I can do anything!”
What treatments for hyperhidrosis – if any – have you tried?
The only treatment I have tried is prescription-strength antiperspirant on my hands and feet (as directed by a dermatologist) but without much success. I was really surprised to read about all the different treatments discussed on Maria’s hyperhidrosis blog and other places online, as my derm has only mentioned Botox to me, which I wasn’t that jazzed about.
What’s the worst thing about your hyperhidrosis?
More than anything I just hate the self-consciousness that comes with hyperhidrosis.
Instead of just going about my day normally as everyone else does, I’m constantly analyzing and worrying about when my sweat will come into play and how I can work around it.
Having to carefully pick out my shoes, for instance, is really annoying! Of course I’d love to wear those cute strappy sandals, but my feet will be wet and slippery all day! Yuck.
What do you think is the biggest misconception when it comes to hyperhidrosis?
I have hyperhidrosis and didn’t even know it was a real condition up until a few years ago. So many people must have no idea why I’m so sweaty when they touch me and think I must be super nervous or something. I’m not even sure what other misconceptions there could be, because I don’t think that many people even know what hyperhidrosis is!
What would you like to see in the future when it comes to treatments for hyperhidrosis?
I would really like dermatologists to familiarize themselves with a range of different treatments for hyperhidrosis. I don’t live in a huge city, but was surprised when I learned (from the Internet) I had other options besides just antiperspirants or Botox. And of course I’d love to see an actual cure someday!
If you could tell the world only one thing about hyperhidrosis, what would it be?
It’s a real condition. Please try to be understanding, and don’t grimace when you shake my hand please!
Anything else you’d like to tell us about your sweaty story?
Thanks again so much for your blog. I have gotten some great tips and plenty of comfort reading your, and others’, stories.
(Thank you, Beth! I’m glad you found me.)
Do you have a sweaty story?
Do you have hyperhidrosis? 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.