My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: Drysol

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

Discovering I Had HH, Part 1

I can’t remember ever not sweating. As early as 3rd grade was when I became acutely aware that I had wet hands and other kids didn’t. In math class, the teacher would do timed multiplication tests. The first student to stand up from his or her desk was the winner. While I usually won (yes, in my early days I was a math genius), my paper would be smeared, damp, and the edges would curl up. In that same year, we learned cursive writing. Those Big Chief tablets that had red and blue lines on them were never a good match for my hands. The paper simply tore too easily underneath the damp, flat side of my palm. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mom had to buy me pants more often than an average child, since I constantly was wiping my palms on them and wearing out the fabric.

In 5th grade, I finally complained enough to my mom that my hands were always so gross that she took me to the doctor. The term hyperhidrosis was never mentioned, I was prescribed Drysol (a prescription strength antiperspirant), and sent on my merry way to rejoin the P.E. class where, oh joy, we were learning how to square dance. While it was slightly easier to conceal my sweaty hands during this particular unit of P.E., if the teacher caught us pretending to hold hands by osmosis, we had to immediately clasp hands and endure the cooties while we were supervised for the next few minutes. Don’t even ask me about Red Rover. My team always lost because my grip was so easy to break through.

The ways in which I masked my HH were always evolving, as the older and more involved in school I became, more “trigger situations” likely were to arise. I never joined band. How could I hold an instrument? I’d probably ruin it and cause it to rust if it were a brass instrument. So I chose choir where I could more easily blend in with the crowd. The only sport I played was track and field. I ran the 100M & 300M hurdles and the 4x200M relay. With the relay, the baton was long enough that I could grip the very end and not transfer my sweat during the handoff to my teammates. During homecoming and prom, I constantly was worrying about ruining my dress and my wrist corsage. Dress clothes are a trigger for me, so I was most comfortable sitting down so I could hold a dinner napkin or just borrow the tablecloth for a quick mop-up.

And then came college. And the required speech class. (Insert march of death music.)


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