My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: scopolamine

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

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

Reflections on Botox

The effects of Botox can typically last 7-9 months, but I’ve heard it takes longer to build up to that amount of relief (ie, one must have multiple treatments for it to last that long). After my first Botox treatment in April, the effects lasted a short 3 weeks. But let me tell you, it was the best 3 weeks of my life. It was like I forgot I had ever suffered from HH! My confidence was through the roof, and I felt so much less inhibited and held back because of my condition.

But then my sweating started coming back, and I also noticed that while my hands were dry, it was like my body was made to sweat, so it was just going to sweat elsewhere instead. So now my back sweats way worse than it ever did, and I am super self-conscious about my clothing and stuff when I can feel it happening. The Botox has completely worn off now and my body has basically given me the “eff you” gesture. I thought it would be the answer to my prayers, and it was, even if it was only for that short time. I can’t help thinking that maybe my Botox experience was just God’s way of giving me a glimpse of what heaven will be like for me when I get there. I imagine my heaven to be about 65 degrees all the time, with a gentle breeze always encircling me for comfort. Hopefully this doesn’t sound morbid, as I am certainly not contemplating the length of my mortal existence or anything like that. LOL.

Maybe I am supposed to be going through this here on earth so that I can start to become a voice for people who suffer from this or any other condition who feel like pariahs and like they’ll never fit in. Perhaps this is what musical artist Laura Story calls a blessing in disguise. I can’t help but think that my HH, in combination with me being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), allows me to be more compassionate and empathetic with people from all walks of life. I feel like sometimes I’m on a different wavelength and can pick up on the intricacies of people and their moods and feelings, and because I’ve felt like a freak in my own body for most of my life, I am better able to interact with the world in a more loving way. I’m kind of a contemplative person who likes to ruminate on things like this.

While I’m glad I did the Botox, I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again, not just because of the cost but because of the other areas where it caused me to sweat. I am not willing to hope I can get my insurance to cover it and then end up with a bill for more than $1000! However, I know that some insurance companies will cover it, so practice due diligence if you are considering Botox and have health insurance. For more information about insurance coverage, visit the “insurance tools” page on the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s website, www.sweathelp.org. To be a patient volunteer was a great opportunity for me to be exposed to treatment, but it was a catalyst for so many other things for which I am even more grateful! It pushed me the extra step I needed to actually start blogging about my HH, and now I’m volunteering for the IHHS in my local area area and will be contributing to one of their upcoming newsletters, too.

Once I accepted myself for who I truly am, and felt the acceptance from the IHHS and the doctors and nurses who treated me, my soul just opened up. I can share my story with the world now. While the Botox didn’t work for very long in my own body, I certainly want others to try it for themselves since everyone’s body is different and may respond differently. There is hope for treating and finding a cure for hyperhidrosis. Don’t get discouraged if a treatment doesn’t work for you.

My dermatologist called me back the other day to tell me that my biopsy was benign (read the post here if you missed my dermatologist experience) and that after doing some research on the Catapres (clonidine is the generic name) tablets, he called in a Rx for me. I still have to pick it up and try it out, but I’m glad he took the time to do the research. The Catapres is similar to the active ingredient in the Transderm Scop (scopolamine) patches I had used , so hopefully I will get some good results.

My apologies for not blogging this last week. While I would like to be blogging every other day or so, sometimes I just am not able to do so. But life is full of enough could’ve’s, should’ve’s, and would’ve’s, so I am not going to feel bad for not always blogging on a regular basis. However, if you have bookmarked my site and checked back for new posts, thank you for taking the time to do so. I value you as a reader of my blog.

 

Until next time,

Maria

 

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