My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: antiperspirant

Underarm Treatment Study: What to Know Before You Go

Hello sweaty friends! Check out the facelift I gave my blog. It’s much more modern looking now, don’t you think?

Last week I told you about the new underarm treatment study that’s currently enrolling participants who have axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating in the underarms). I’ve been to the dermatologist in my area twice now for the initial screening, and there are several things I took note of that will help you as you begin your own clinical trial process.

This was the first time in my life I was actually hoping I’d sweat really bad!

1. Stop Wearing Antiperspirant Several Days Before Your First Appointment

You will undergo a sweat test, and this first appointment when they do it is crucial. If you don’t meet the sweat measurement protocol at visit 1, you won’t qualify for visits 2 – 4, which are also pre-screening visits. The day of visit 1, you’ll arrive between 7 and 11 am with clean-shaven underarms (at least for the ladies; men, I’m not sure) and wearing no deodorant or antiperspirant. They’ll place cotton pads under each arm and measure the amount of sweat over a 5-minute period. Once they remove the pads, they are placed in a vial, capped, and then the weight of the vial is measured. I believe the protocol is 150mg total (how they can measure sweat in milligrams is beyond me – I think it should be grams or milliliters, but I’m no scientist) between the two underarms. Note: it’s okay to wear plain deodorant for the several days approaching visit 1. The day of the visit you will wear nothing.

2. Wear Proper Clothing

I arrived in a short-sleeved dress, leggings, and a cardigan. Since my armpits were covered by my dress, I had to wear a paper vest from the waist up. Now, normally doctor’s offices and paper gowns get me really worked up and sweaty, but this time it wasn’t happening. Crazy, right?

Before I changed clothes into the paper gown, I had already been in the exam room for about 30 minutes answering questionnaires and giving some medical history to the staff. There was plenty of time for me to adapt to the temperature of the room and calm down a little bit. Plus, the staff were really nice and made me feel very comfortable, reducing my fight-or-flight  response that those with hyperhidrosis normally experience. Because of this, I was not sweating under my arms like I thought I would. I was actually cold sitting there in the flimsy gown.

We attempted the sweat test a second time after I slipped my cardigan on over the gown and sat there for a few minutes. I tried to think of things that would make me get riled up and sweaty, so I pulled out my phone and started texting Lisa at the International Hyperhidrosis Society. She’s the one who told me about the study, so I started angrily typing to her that the sweat protocol was outlandish and would reduce the number of participants these dermatologists would get. My hands were nice and drippy after that, and apparently it got my pits wet enough, too. The round 2 sweat test was successful, and I qualified for visits 2 – 4.

underarm study paper gown

My paper gown was soaked after the underarm sweat test.

So, ladies, wear a tank top and a long-sleeved button up shirt or a cardigan, that way you don’t have to do the paper gown and can keep some of the heat trapped inside to produce an adequate amount of sweat. Guys, I’d also recommend a tank top undershirt if you have one, layered with a button down shirt so you can keep both on as well. They just need to be able to access your underarms to place the pads.

3. Hydrate Before Visit 1

If you pass the sweat test, you will then have blood drawn; ladies will have a pregnancy test via urine performed if they are of child-bearing age. I didn’t know this, so my veins weren’t exactly plump and ready for the nurse. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids the day before and the morning of visit 1 so that your veins are primed for the taking and you have to pee.

blood draw

Be prepared for a blood draw if you pass the sweat test at visit 1.

4. Seat Yourself Strategically

Visit 1 is probably the longest visit you’ll have. The staff will go over your medical history, you’ll meet the dermatologist, perform the sweat test, have blood drawn, etc. I was there for nearly 2 hours, and most of the time I was sitting on the exam table on that horrific crinkly and noisy paper. So imagine what it’s like sitting there that long on hard vinyl with a thin layer of paper over it. Absolutely no air flow. Combine that with the leggings I was wearing (which don’t normally make me sweat), and you have the perfect recipe for a puddle.

And I can’t believe I’m about to post this picture on the Internet, but here you go. This one’s for my sweaty homies.

sweaty exam table at doctor's office

The exam table after I sat there sweating for almost 2 hours. Waahhh!

 

So decide where you’re most comfortable sitting, but also think about what will make you sweat the most, because for once you do want to be a wreck in order to qualify for the clinical trial. There was a chair in the exam room, so after I was dressed I moved to the chair to finish the appointment.

Up next, visit 2. Stay tuned for more sweaty adventures. And, if you haven’t called 866-72-SWEAT to enroll in the study, what in the sweaty hell are you waiting for?! Join me, and together we can find an effective treatment for hyperhidrosis.

Carpe Lotion for Sweaty Hands and Feet

(sponsored)

I’ve tried nearly everything to treat my hyperhidrosis. So when I came across a new product called Carpe Lotion for sweaty hands and feet, I was excited to try it. At only $14.95 a tube with a love it or it’s free guarantee, I figured why not?

Carpe Lotion tube

Ingredients

The lotion is made with eucalyptus oil, which dries the surface layer of your skin as you apply it. The active ingredient, aluminum sesquichlorohydate, soaks into your sweat glands to calm them down. When I tried the lotion for the first time, I was skeptical about whether it would actually work. I’ve been told by a dermatologist that I have the worst case of hyperhidrosis he’s ever seen. Once my little package arrived in the mail, I tore into it and was ready to find some dryness.

Application

The makers of Carpe Lotion suggest you apply it about 10 minutes before you think you’ll need it. I was at work the first time I used it, and my sweating is usually the worst first thing in the morning. I washed my hands and applied a pea-sized amount just like the directions suggested. As I rubbed my palms together vigorously, they started to smell fresh and clean from the eucalyptus oil. I waved my hands back and forth to help dry them off, as applying lotion to my palms is a trigger for me and makes me want to sweat more. Once my palms were dry, they had a slight coating on them, but it wasn’t anything too strange.

Results

About an hour later, I noticed my palms looked dry and cracked, even though they actually weren’t. In fact, my hands were so dry I almost WANTED to put lotion on them, which is abnormal for most people with hyperhidrosis.

hands after Carpe Lotion application

My hands after applying Carpe Lotion.

The lotion lasted through several hand washings, and it continued to provide me with dryness the whole day. I’ve also experimented with applying it at night before bed, just like the International Hyperhidrosis Society recommends for underarm antiperspirants. Why? Because your body temperature drops overnight, and the active ingredient can be better absorbed into the skin to form the “plugs” that block the sweat ducts.

I also experimented with applying the lotion while in public. I’m sitting at a coffee shop blogging right now, so I whipped out the Carpe Lotion tube from my purse and, gasp! applied lotion to my palms without the aid of a towel or sink nearby. This, of course, made my hands sweat as I was rubbing them together. It took me a little bit longer to get my hands dry again, but now they’re just fine, and I can feel the layer of product on my skin. I am dry typing this as you read. Yay!

I plan to try this on my feet next, so I’ll let you know how that goes.

Conclusion? Carpe Lotion works, and it’s affordable. Mad props to co-founder Kasper for discussing the product with me and inventing something that, I’ll be damned, actually works. You rock!

Groin Sweating

While this is not a pretty topic, it needs to be talked about. No one else is talking about it, so I guess it’s up to me to put on my brave writing face and don my fearless quill to help people. This is intimidating, you guys. I know people who read my blog, and some of them might even be coworkers since they know I blog. Yikes. Two of you who read my blog asked in me the same number of days about groin sweating. Here is what I have to say about it.

 

Groin sweating can at times be the worst area of the body in which one has to endure sweat. It’s uncomfortable, takes longer to cool off from after an episode, and clothing takes longer to dry in that area. Now, sweating down there is normal. Most people probably sweat more when they are exercising and think nothing of it. People with hyperhidrosis, however, have to worry about this in every aspect of their lives. It affects everything: sitting on chairs, sitting on other surfaces and worrying about leaving sweat marks behind, clothing choices, potential odor issues, the type of fabric you choose when buying a car or furniture (I will never have leather furniture in MY house), and the list goes on. Hyperhidrosis in the groin area can also migrate to the backs of the legs and the behind. As if the groin area weren’t enough, right?

 

Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with hyperhidrosis, you can still sweat in the groin/buttock area. A cousin of mine likes to refer to it as “swass” (sweaty ass, if you’re a little slow on the uptake). 🙂 This can be made worse by humid and/or hot weather. If you suffer from groin sweating, the following ideas are worth trying if you want to be drier.

 

Clothing

– Skirts to generate air flow
– Men’s boxer briefs (not shorts) underneath the skirt; not terribly sexy, but effective  for absorbing sweat and keeping your legs from rubbing skin to skin, which can trigger more sweat
– Darker colored clothing: black, navy, etc.
– Frequently changing your clothing so that you can be dry

 

Products
– Deodorant spray: There is an entire section of this in the grocery store, so obviously you are not the only one who has a problem. Think of it as a personal invention just for you and go with it. You can usually find it the feminine care aisle, and they have scents that are not girly smelling, so males can use this, too. Some brand names are FDS and Summer’s Eve.
Cool Wrapps hand made by Denise Bartell: These are reusable washable panty liners made from soft cotton muslin, and they get softer each time you wash them. If you order these, please tell Denise I sent you.
– Unscented/sensitive skin antiperspirant: You can apply this to your groin area. Dove Sensitive Skin is a good brand.
– Baby powder: You can apply this over the unscented/sensitive skin antiperspirant for an added layer of protection. If it’s good enough for a baby’s bottom, it’s surely good enough for you.

 

There are other options to treat hyperhidrosis. You can visit the treatment page on the International Hyperhidrosis Society website for more information. I’m just sticking to things that are easily obtainable and over the counter for this post. You can also visit the IHHS’ Deals and Discounts page for discount codes on sweat-friendly products.

 

It’s exhausting living with hyperhidrosis, and it can drastically alter the activities and life occurrences in which you feel like participating. But don’t hold yourself back from life because you have groin sweating. Try to make a few modifications to make it easier to live with. You don’t have to accept the sweating, but you can learn to work with it until there is a cure.  Don’t stop seeking treatment options, and know that what works for one person may not work for you, but the point is to investigate and try everything possible to improve your quality of life.

 

Leaving wet spots behind is no fun, but together we can navigate the world of sweat.

 

Read my previous post about sweat-friendly products and techniques.

Note: I was not paid, nor did I receive any products mentioned, in exchange for writing about them. I’m just trying to help you out.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle


Hyperhidrosis Top 10

Here’s a list of the top 10 things I can’t live without with regard to my hyperhidrosis.

 

10.  Carpet or rugs. As much as I like a cool floor underneath my feet, if they are sweating walking can become dangerous. Slip and Slide is for outdoor summer adventures, not indoor daily movement.

 

9.  Thick, wrinkle-resistant notebooks for writing. I really like Jordi Labanda and Greenroom, both available at Target.

 

8.  Writing instruments. You will never see me write with a pencil. I hate them. I need a good pen, not only for its ability to write on damp paper, but because I LOVE hand writing letters and cards to people. I like writing things in general and even look forward to all of those forms you have to fill out at doctors’ offices and places of business (as long as I can fill them out in advance). My favorites are Sharpie pens, Bic Ultra Round Stic and Velocity 1.6mm bold, and Le Pen by Marvy Japan.

 

7.  Natural supplements. I am continuously experimenting with different combinations of things found in nature to see if they will help me cope with my sweating and calm down my central nervous system. My current regimen? Nature’s Sunshine brand sage capsules, Nerve Control, and Super GLA, as well as Hyland’s Calms Forte.

 

6.  Time. If I feel rushed or arrive late to something, it makes me sweat. I am ridiculously and overly prompt – not a bad trait to have.

 

5.  Baby wipes. I use these immediately after applying sunscreen or lotion if I am not near a sink to wash my hands right away.

 

4.  Secret Clinical Strength antiperspirant

 

3.  Summer Soles shoe inserts to place inside my shoes. Use the code IHHS to get one pair free when you buy one pair.

 

2.  Jeans! They are my go-to item for clothing because they are comfortable and absorb the sweat from my hands when I need to wipe them.

 

1.  Air conditioning or a fan for cooler air flow, and cooler weather. Summer time and the livin’ is definitely NOT easy!

 

(This post is part of the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health. I will be writing a post a day for all 30 days. You can learn more about it here: http://info.wegohealth.com/HAWMC2012.)


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Wedding Day Hyperhidrosis

This post was inspired by one of my readers who is getting married soon. She asked for advice and tips on how to cope with excessive sweating on such a big day. So, here you go. I did most of these myself, but also came up with a few new ones as I’ve thought about it over the years. These can apply to both females and males.

 

Point an electric fan toward the alter- who cares if people can see it? This was hands down my saving grace during photos and the ceremony. Appoint a bridesmaid (or a groomsman), ideally the one on the far end who would be closest to the fan, to make sure it’s properly angled toward you at all times.

 

Carry a handkerchief in your hand, and/or a backup one in your dress/tux if possible; if you fold it small enough, it’s hard to even see it in your hand. I had to hold one during my vows, but it was totally fine.

 

I took a Xanax about an hour before the ceremony to relax (if you’ve never taken this, experiment way beforehand so you know how your body will react); plus, you’ll need a doctor to prescribe it.

 

A shot or 2 doesn’t hurt, or maybe a small glass of wine, or a mimosa as you’re getting ready if you’re super nervous like I was. I wasn’t nervous to get married, I was nervous about being the center of attention, standing up in front of a church full of guests, and having it trigger my hyperhidrosis.  I don’t advocate being drunk on your wedding day, obviously, but a drink to help take the edge off would not be unwarranted in my opinion. But, if you don’t drink even for special occasions, then ignore this one (especially if you’re under the age of 21 on wedding day).

 

I wore white ballet-type flats with the socks that are specially cut for flats so you can’t see them.

 

If your hyperhidrosis affects your groin area, you can wear men’s boxer briefs under your dress. Not exactly sexy, but they help keep your thighs from rubbing together and the sweat from potentially dripping if it’s really bad. I also talk about how boxer briefs might work well underneath skirts, too.

 

I specifically planned my wedding date around the weather, and it was thankfully a nice day with a breeze and wasn’t overly hot.

 

Have your florist (if you have real flowers) wrap/weave/sew a washcloth or piece of fabric into the handle of your bouquet. My flowers were fake and my mother-in-law sewed a towel around the entire plastic handle for me. Funny part of the story- the surgical towels my gynecologist had in the office were the color of my wedding flowers, so he let me have one to help me cope with the sweat! Hey, whatever works, right?  If you read my post How You Can Help Someone With Hyperhidrosis, you’ll see a picture of my sweat-friendly bridesmaid bouquet from when I was in a friend’s wedding.

towel-wrapped wedding bouquet

My hyperhidrosis-friendly wedding bouquet

 

Summer Soles: I didn’t know about these when I got married 7 years ago, but I did use them in my heels for my bridesmaid dress. They have wool and suede versions. The wool is more absorbent and they stick right inside your shoes. Go to sweathelp.org to find the coupon code for the Summer Soles website- I think it’s for BOGO free. My blog post about those, and other things, is here: Sweat-Friendly Products & Techniques

 

Make sure the limo or whatever car you’ll be in is properly cooled down prior to entering it. Same goes for the church, the reception site, etc. I’ve even offered to pay my friends for the extra electricity I generate when I make them crank the air conditioning.

 

Have a bag of ice or an ice cold water bottle nearby. Place it on your wrists and neck to help cool your body temperature.

 

Certain Dri liquid:  Again, with this one I’d start practicing now. The liquid makes me itch really bad, but I forced myself to do it for about 2 weeks leading up to my wedding. Use it at night on your armpits, and then by 2 weeks’ of use you should be used to it enough and have it built up that it will help with the underarm sweating. I have since switched to Certain Dri solid at night, and I can use that without any itching whatsoever. In the morning, I use Secret Clinical Strength, which is a great product.

 

Have a mini-bag or purse that you have at the reception with baby powder, extra handkerchiefs, deodorant, and any other personal items that help keep you dry. Bring an extra pair of socks if you go the ballet flat route.

 

Utilize your bridesmaids/groomsmen! If it’s hot out, ask them to wave a fan in front of your face. So, maybe buy some paper fans in advance? Not like you’re a queen/king and high maintenance, but if you need help on the most important day of your life, do not be afraid to ask for it! If they are your friends/family, they will step up to the plate.

 

And, most importantly, trust that you can get through this day. Yes, you may sweat, but God will help you get through it. You will feel so much love and excitement around that you may not think about sweating as much as you think you are going to. Leading up to it you will, but when you are in the moment it won’t matter as much. But be best friends with your handkerchief, and rock it out.

 

You could even talk about your HH at the reception if you want! Had I been like I am now when I got married, I may have given an impromptu speech to educate my guests and take the pressure off of myself. Once I talk about it, I find I don’t have to worry about it nearly as much.

 

If you’re getting married and have hyperhidrosis, you can do it! Do not let your excessive sweating get in the way of all the happiness, excitement, and social interaction that you so deserve.

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

Another Massage? No Sweat!

Navigating a Massage with Hyperhidrosis

Last week I had my second-ever massage with a new massage therapist whom I found advertised on Crowd Savings. I highly recommend using these group discount websites. Groupon, Living Social, and (fill in the city) Daily Deals are a few others I’ve used before.

 

Fill out the comments section when booking an appointment
When I booked the appointment online, there was a field that said Comments. I used this section of the form to enter a few personal details about myself so that I could feel more comfortable upon arrival: I suffer from a medical condition called hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). While it’s not serious enough to impede my having a massage, I’d like you to know I prefer a cooler room temperature, no blankets, and no heated massage table. I will bring a small fan with me for airflow purposes, but if you have a larger fan, that would be helpful. Thank you.

 

By getting this information out in the open, I no longer had to worry about it. Massage therapists are health care professionals. They have been trained and made aware that people come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of wetness. Some of them may not have ever heard of hyperhidrosis before, and that’s okay. You can be the one to educate them about a condition that is under-recognized and under-treated. Take what you’ve been given and make it work toward a greater good. Yes, this is intimidating. Yes, this puts you at the forefront of attention. But can you do it? How about another “yes” in this paragraph? If you can’t be comfortable nearly naked on a table with your masseuse, then whom can you be comfortable with? Give the hyperhidrosis disclaimer and then move into being more like the rest of the people who get massages and think nothing of it. You deserve it.

 

Ask for any paperwork in advance
When I arrived at the massage center, we began by introducing ourselves, and then Julie had me fill out some client paperwork. I recommend to all health care professionals to make their patient forms available online. I much prefer being able to print things in advance and fill them out in my own environment to avoid a trigger situation. It was a short form, so it wasn’t that big of a deal and I was able to complete it before my hands got too wet. After that, Julie led me to the massage room and helped me set up my 4-inch desk fan I had brought with me. She set it up on a shelf in the corner about 2 feet away from the head of the table. She had me lay down on the table to test the air flow and positioning of the fan. Once I confirmed the fan was in the right spot, she left so I could undress. When you have a massage, you decide the level of comfort. I’m not comfortable being entirely in my birthday suit for a massage, so I brought a pair of loose fitting cotton shorts. Ladies, I do recommend removing your bra. It will hinder the smooth flow of movement from the masseuse. Your body is always covered except for the area on which the massage is occurring, so you won’t be flashing anyone anyway.

 

Try to relax on the massage table
When I first arrive somewhere, my body is usually hyped up and I can feel myself sweating and my heart racing from the fight-or-flight response. So when I got on the table to lie down, I could feel my heart was beating fast. I got comfortable and just focused on taking  some deep breaths to try and relax. There was island type music playing, so I tried to focus on that. Julie came in a few minutes later and began with a few simple massage strokes so that I could get used to her touch. I did make it a point to tell her it was okay to really put out on the amount of pressure she used. I wanted to be dead relaxed by the time I was done, so she had my permission to push hard. She had good hands, too; they were big and broad and strong.

 

When the massage first started, right away my inner monologue took center stage and began shouting things like Oh, God, I can feel my feet sweating. Crap! and Geeze, my hands are kind of damp, too. Is my back making droplets? I can feel myself sweating there a bit. Oh, no. The best thing to do when this happens is to reign it in and tell those voices in your head to kindly SHUT IT. To help with this, I asked Julie to move the sheet up so that my feet could be in the open air. A minute or two later, I pulled my hands out from under the sheet, too. After I did all this, I was able to get cool, calm, and collected and then just focus on the stress leaving my body. The massage ended with a therapeutic foot scrub. By that point I was pretty relaxed and fully acclimated to the room temperature. My feet were no longer sweating, and it felt great when she wrapped them in hot towels and then scrubbed them with salts.

 

Drink water after the massage
Once I was dressed and walked into the lobby, she had a glass of water on the table for me. It’s important to hydrate before and after a massage, but especially after to help flush the toxins that have just been released. During the massage, Julie started to ask me a question but then stopped herself and told me to remind her to ask when we were done. I appreciated this, as the whole point of a massage is to relax and not carry on a conversation. She ended up asking me what the name of my sweating condition was. After I told her the medical term, she said she thought she might have it, too! I was so excited to hear this. I was able to share my blog with her and the types of treatments I had tried. I explained the International Hyperhidrosis Society and my Botox experience and gave her tips and ideas for products to try. I also told her she should apply her deodorant at night in addition to in the morning. It absorbs better that way and will plug the sweat ducts better.

 

Ask for what you need
This massage was such a good experience for me. We attract exactly the people we need into our lives. To now have my very own masseuse who understands my condition because she has it herself and can think like I think with regard to sweating is awesome. She told me she was thinking about our appointment ahead of time and trying to come up with ways to make it better. She debated the pros and cons of massage lotion vs massage oil (she went with oil since it takes longer to absorb into the skin and I could wipe most of it off when we were done), where to place the fan, removed all the blankets and had only sheets on the table, didn’t turn on the heating function on the table, etc. She was even worried when she was working on my right side that she might be blocking the fan. I love this woman!

 

We had such a nice conversation afterward. Julie said she got into massage because her parents were both very sick and she watched as they were no longer able to have massages. Her mother went to the same masseuse for 14 years and then stopped going because she now had to wear a colostomy bag. Her mother was embarrassed and felt unsanitary and no longer worthy of having a massage. Julie said she also wants to help wounded veterans who are disfigured or missing a limb; they, too, have reservations when it comes to feeling worthy of being touched. These stories absolutely broke my heart. No matter what we go through, we should never be ashamed and feel unworthy of the gift of touch. The gift of touch can save lives. If you’re reading this, please know that you are worthy. You are worthy simply because you are here. You deserve love, compassion, and the opportunity to live your truth and not be inhibited by exactly who you are. If you haven’t already, begin now to stand tall. Fake it at first if you have to. Eventually it will start to feel natural because you will be more fully engaged with the intention of becoming your best self. If you are confident, you are beautiful. If I can get a massage, you can, too.

 

Fall 2011 050 This is on the wall of the massage room. I like it because it doesn’t quite sit straight on the wall.

Life is always slightly askew. You just have to be able to lean with it to get a straight view.


 

Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

Sweat-Friendly Products & Techniques

Here are products and/or cooling techniques I use, have tried in the past, or have heard about but not yet tried (in no particular order):

Certain Dri antiperspirant: I prefer the solid over the liquid because it doesn’t make me itch upon application, although I use the liquid for about a week before a big event, like wearing a strapless bridesmaid dress.

Cool Wrapps handmade by Denise Bartell: To absorb groin sweating. They are similar to a sanitary napkin and have a clasp fastener and can be washed in the washing machine. They become softer and more pliable the more times they are washed.

– Men’s boxer briefs so women can wear skirts: I’ve heard they prevent your legs from rubbing against each other and make the groin sweating much less noticeable, allowing women to control their HH much better on their entire body when they wear these with skirts, since it helps to generate air flow around their entire body.

Cool Neck Wraps: I typically find these at local arts and crafts events, but here is a link so you know exactly what I’m talking about. They are great and stay cool for a long time once placed in water to activate. Once they start to get warm, just flip it over to apply the other side to your neck.

Dove unscented antiperspirant for groin sweating & baby powder applied over it

Sweat-friendly flip flops: While it puts one’s feet out there in the open, I am all about air flow. I’ve found a few different brands that help me to avoid the slip and slide factor. I always look for the kind with a suede bottom for the footbed.

Summer Soles  The wool ones were great for a pair of heels I had to wear in a wedding.

Natural supplements to calm down my nervous system

  • Nature’s Sunshine products: Nerve Control and Super GLA Blend
  • Taurine
  • GABA
  • NeuroScience, Inc.’s Travacor and Kavinace
  • L-theanine

– I’ve tried beta blockers like metoprolol and propranolol and they did nothing but make me tired and/or dizzy. I’ve also tried anticholinergics like Robinul Forte with no results, either.

– I did notice I was significantly dried out (to the point of cotton mouth) when I used Transderm Scop patches (scopolamine patches that are typically prescribed for motion sickness right before you’d go on a cruise) when I was having some dizziness for about a month straight. I ended up saving one of these patches to use during my friend’s wedding and noticed a significant benefit. I don’t think it’s been tested for long-term use, otherwise I’d be a loyal pharmacy customer for it.

Personal desk fans:  Who cares if people think you’re weird for using a small fan at work? I rocked one out when I worked as a Certified Pharmacy Technician and had my hands all over Rx vials and Rx labels. I’d set it up directly in front of me so that I wouldn’t sweat all over the labels and smear them. Do what you need to do in order to maintain a sense of dryness.

Ventilation systems:  Find out exactly where the best air flow can be found in whatever room you’re in. Once you know this, you can plan for strategic placement directly under the air vents, or by the window, or near a fan so that you can feel the maximum amount of air flowing around you. I’ve done this at church in both the sanctuary and in the room in which my small group meets.

– Lastly, and probably most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. As Dr. Suess said, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind.” Be your own best health advocate. No one else can do it for you. Take the first step and be courageous enough to give the disclaimer to people that you have a sweating condition that is hard to control. Most people will be understanding and may even ask you more about it. Use this opportunity to educate others and spread the word about a condition that is under-recognized and under-treated.


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

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