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

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.
Target flip flops

Sanuk flip flops

Scott flip flops

Clark’s Privo Bon Bon flip flops  These are no longer available but are hands down my favorite!
- 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 Toprol 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