My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time.

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Hyperhidrosis and Acupuncture

Today I had acupuncture for the second time in my life. Remember my first acupuncture treatment? That seems so long ago, and I’ve come so far in my life since then.

 

I found a new acupuncture place that’s on my way to and from work if I take a certain route. I checked out their website and staff biographies, found that they are ridiculously affordable, and booked an appointment. Their website offered downloadable patient forms that I could print out and complete ahead of time, an absolute must for those of us who have a knack for sweating all over the paper. Plus, I love to hand write things, and I especially enjoy filling out paperwork when I have a good pen.

 

I completed the forms with my Sharpie pen and brought them to the appointment where I was promptly complimented on my handwriting. I went to the restroom even though I didn’t have to go so that I could wash my hands with cold water to help myself cool off. That helped for about 30 seconds. I sat in the waiting room and tried to control my sweating, but it was really hard. By the time the receptionist walked me back to the treatment room, my feet had soaked my flip flops. She explained how things would work and they had me put my purse in a locking cabinet. I asked if I could leave my flip flops on when she told me to put them in the cabinet, too, and she said yes, of course. I also had another bag with me that contained my trusty desk fan that I’ve mentioned before.

 

I was led back to the office of Lisa, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. I really like her. She took the time to review all of my paperwork and asked me detailed questions about why I was there and what areas of my health I wanted to focus on. My main goal is to see whether my hyperhidrosis will be helped with long-term and regular acupuncture sessions. Even if it doesn’t reduce my sweating, I know I will gain a deeper sense of overall well-being and health.

 

We talked for about 15 minutes, and I was sweating the entire time. My feet were soaked, and I kept lifting my toes above my flip flops to try and get some air underneath them. The closer we got to the end of the interview session, the more I could feel myself sweating since it was building up to the time when she would be touching my body to place the needles. Moments before we got up, the air conditioning came on. I could feel that sweet, blessed relief of cool air coming under the desk where I sat. It was short-lived, though, as I was now ready to begin my treatment session.

 

The place I’m going to is a community style acupuncture establishment. This means that the treatments are done in one community room where all patients are sitting near each other. They do have individual treatment rooms, but those are used only for when people have needles placed on areas like their back and would have to be undressed. I bet, though, that if I requested a private room because it might help me with my hyperhidrosis, they would kindly indulge my request. Each patient gets his or her own recliner to relax in. The recliners are draped with sheets, and when you enter the room you grab a pillowcase to place behind your head on the chair.

 

I was worried that my hands and feet would leave sweat marks on the pale pink sheets they use. I asked for a stool on which I could place my fan, and they put me in the chair nearest the electrical outlet so I could plug in my source of air flow. I was really sweaty by this point. Like, droplets glistening sweaty. I positioned the fan toward my feet first, since they were the most wet, and then I ended up asking her to move the fan onto my lap for me since I already had a needle in my hand at that point.  I reclined in the chair and did my best to relax.

 

I think I had 9 needles total in my body. One in my right ear, 2 on my right hand, 2 on my right foot, 2 on my left foot, one on my left elbow, and one in the center of my left palm. Yowza. The one in my palm kind of hurt when she put it in, but she told me to take a deep breath in and then let it out as she inserted that needle. And really, what was one sharp needle prick when I’ve already endured 155 Botox injections in my palms already? Bring it.

 

The goal is for the needles to be strong and deep in the skin to maximize the effects. Lisa met me where I was as far as the deepness went, and she said if it became painful or tingly in a way that I was not comfortable with to simply flag her down or pull it out myself. After all the needles were placed, she asked how I felt, and I told her I wasn’t too sure about the one in my palm. She knew it was intense for me, but I said I’d try to keep it in and see how it went. I was able to keep all of the needles in for the 45 minutes I was in the chair.

 

Acupuncture is hard to describe, and maybe it feels different for everyone. I noticed I was really tense at first and not allowing my body to relax and melt into the chair. So I started at the top of my body and worked down, focusing on relaxing each body part into the recliner and letting it absorb my weight. Then, I focused on listening to the music they had playing. After awhile, each area where a needle had been placed would kind of light up and radiate heat and waves of energy. I never knew which area would start to go off, so it was kind of cool to be surprised by my ear, and then the inside of my calf and then my palm and elbow. I felt relaxed and almost like I was asleep, and I wonder if I actually was entering the first stages of sleep because my legs twitched a couple of times.

 

I stopped worrying about the other people around me. I was in a good chair, too, one that was in the corner next to a wall, so I only had one other person on one side of me. I think I’ll try to get that chair every time I go. My sweating ended up stopping by the end of my session, and not once did Lisa appear grossed out when she touched my feet and hands to place the needles. I told her I felt ridiculous sitting there with my fan on my lap. She said it was totally fine to have it, and I knew it was, too. I got over feeling embarrassed. It is perfectly acceptable to bring along any tools, devices, accessories, etc. as coping mechanisms to help you manage your sweat. People with hyperhidrosis deserve to have experiences just like “normal” people get to have. If I have to bring along my fan to do it, then I will.

 

I left my acupuncture session feeling really relaxed and kind of floaty, like that feeling you get right before you doze off to sleep. I’ll be returning tomorrow for my next session. I could definitely become addicted to acupuncture. And I’m totally okay with that.

 

P.S. I did not leave any sweat marks behind on the sheet! Like I wouldn’t check. 😉


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

My First Acupuncture Treatment

I was at my doctor’s office a few weeks ago since I had to reschedule all of my medical appointments before my insurance coverage was no longer active. When I was checking in, I noticed a counter display that said October 24 was National Acupuncture Day. There was a stack of brochures with cards for a free session of acupuncture. I decided to sign up. It was free, after all, and I can use all the Qi (prounounced chee) centering I can get right now. I returned a week later for the treatment. After filling out several sheets of paperwork, which I would have preferred to receive in advance so that I could fill them out at home in a less sweaty environment, I was brought into a room with a table in it, just like the kind they have in a massage room. The acupuncturist began by getting my full medical history, and she said she’d seen 2 other patients who were trying acupuncture to treat their hyperhidrosis! I was surprised at this, but also glad that I wasn’t the first person to complain of excessive sweating.

 

By the time I got up on the table, I was fairly well acclimated to the temperature of the room. We were actually in the coolest room of the office, and I could feel the air coming out of the vent above my head. I was fully clothed with the exception of removing my socks, shoes, and the cardigan I was wearing over a tank top. She had me lay on my stomach first. My palms and feet were sweating a bit since I didn’t know what to expect. She began by sweeping my hair off of my neck and inserting several needles into the base of my skull and into my shoulders. The needles didn’t hurt. I could feel a slight pinch upon insertion, but it was so quick that I found it completely bearable. She also put some on the backs of my wrists, my lower back, and right above my heels. I really wanted to look at all of them, but because I was laying face down I didn’t want to move around too much. She left the room for a few minutes and then came back to check the placement of each needle and push them in a bit farther. She left again for about 20 minutes to allow the acupuncture to work on its own.

 

Initially, I felt the slight pinching sensation I mentioned after each needle was placed, but then it morphed into a tingling sensation which then opened up a heat source that then flowed into energy. I could actually feel the energy spreading out and moving through my body as it connected to all of the other energy points that had been tapped. It wasn’t a hot heat, if that makes sense. It was more of a warming sensation, like when the sun moves and you can feel it on one side of your body when you’re driving in a car. The astounding thing about all this was that after probably 7 or 8 minutes, I wasn’t sweating anymore! The acupuncturist actually had to place a heat lamp over my feet to keep them warm. I don’t know about you, but when my hands and feet sweat they are either wet and cold or wet and hot. There is never just a neutral wet. I think the combination of being in the coolest treatment room, being able to feel the ventilation through the vent above me, and the actual treatment itself was enough to allow my body to just be. I was shocked that I was able to voluntarily ask for the heat lamp to be used. I hate heat. But today, I was experiencing what it was like to be “normal” and basking in the glory of it all.

 

After 20 minutes of the needles on my back side, she removed them and had me flip over onto my back. She placed needles in the tops of my feet and in between my toes, halfway up the insides of my calves, on my arms and hands and in between my fingers, 2 in my right ear, and then a few in my scalp. The needles she inserted into my scalp did hurt a bit initially since the skin is much thinner, but it wasn’t anything that made me want to yell at her. Once she left the room, I did open my eyes and lift my head up to see just what kind of crazy stuff I had chosen to put myself through. It was pretty interesting to see all these floppy needles wiggling back and forth in my body. I am typically  a horrible patient when it comes to any type of medical procedure being done to my own body, but I was able to look at all the needles and not feel like passing out. Before she removed the needles, she used some kind of vibrating device on my right ear to further stimulate their effects.

 

For the rest of the day post-acupuncture, I felt pretty good. I noticed it even more so that night after it had been a few hours since the treatment. I felt kind of floaty, like you do right before you fall asleep. The acupuncturist said it would take a few treatments spaced about a week apart to determine whether it was working for me. I do want to go back. I just need to look into my new insurance coverage to see if it’s something they might cover as a referral from my primary care physician (PCP). I encourage you to try acupuncture. I can’t say it’s a definite cure for hyperhidrosis, but I do feel there was an overall benefit for me personally. Take yourself outside of your comfort zone so that you can experience things in the wellness arena that everyone else gets to do. Make your hyperhidrosis known to the practitioner and then try to stop worrying about it so that you can focus on the present moment to get the maximum benefit. Just because you sweat does not mean you are unworthy of receiving treatment or pampering. You are not disgusting or embarrassing. You are unique and can display with poise and grace your hyperhidrosis that is under-recognized and under-treated.

 

This is a good introductory article about acupuncture. Dr. Oz just featured moxibustion on his show the other week, too.

 

Acupuncture

(Thanks to Points Acupuncture for the image.)


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

Sweaty? Check out these treatment options for hyperhidrosis.

While there isn’t a cure yet for hyperhidrosis, there are many treatment options for excessive sweating that are available over the counter, via prescription, or in a health care provider’s office.

Hyperhidrosis Defined

If you’re new to my blog, let’s start at square one.

Perhaps you’ve never heard the term hyperhidrosis before. If you have excessive, uncontrollable sweating (four to five times more perspiration than the average person who sweats), you might have hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis is a recognized medical condition that can cause a crapload of problems for those who have to live with it, including skin infections, social anxiety, and depression. It’s more than just a physical problem on your skin.

Now that we’ve got the definition out of the way, let’s chat about how we get this horrible problem to stop, even if only temporarily.

Treatments for Hyperhidrosis

Picture the following list of treatments like a pyramid, with the most common, least invasive or least complicated at the bottom, and the more involved procedures at the top.

Antiperspirants

What’s the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant?

Antiperspirants do just what they sound like – they are anti-sweat and work by creating plugs in the pores of the skin to block the sweat from escaping. Apply these at night to clean skin for maximum effectiveness. Since your body temperature cools overnight, it allows your pores to better absorb the ingredients to form those plugs.

Deodorant simply blocks odor. 

Over-the-Counter Antiperspirants

Look for the words clinical strength on products for the highest percentage of active antiperspirant ingredients. Or, look on the packaging under ingredients to manually determine the percentage of active ingredient.

There are many OTC products for hyperhidrosis, including creams, lotions, powders and wipes.

I’ve had good results with Carpe products for excessive sweating.

Note: I am a brand partner for Carpe, and this is an affiliate link. Your purchase earns me credit for any sales made through this link, which helps me pay for the costs associated with running my website. Thank you for your support!

Carpe Lotion and My Life as a Puddle

Carpe lotion is available over the counter to treat hyperhidrosis.

Read my posts about Carpe.

OTC antiperspirants aren’t just for your underarms. If you have groin sweating, for example, you can try sensitive skin and unscented varieties for that sensitive area. I don’t recommend applying it directly onto your private parts, but around the general area instead.

Prescription Antiperspirants

The most common active ingredient is aluminum chloride hexahydrate; many brand names are available. Follow the directions from your health care provider, pharmacist, or the package insert as these medications can be more harsh on the skin.

Natural Remedies

These might include sage tablets, St. John’s Wort, valerian root, chamomile and others. While there aren’t many studies on these herbs, we shouldn’t discount their potential effectiveness. Each person’s body is different, so some of these might work to help you find relief from hyperhidrosis.

Oral Medications for Excessive Sweating

Anticholinergics

Prescribed as an off-label use for hyperhidrosis, this class of medications hasn’t been studied in clinical trials for hyperhidrosis. However, these medications have been to shown to be effective in decreasing sweating.  Anticholinergics work by blocking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the little jerk that precipitates the nerve impulse that creates sweating. Generic names include glycopyrrolate, oxybutynin, benztropine, propantheline, etc.

Beta Blockers 

Beta blockers like propranolol or metoprolol work in the central nervous system by blocking the body’s physical reaction to anxiety. Many people will take a beta blocker before public speaking engagements to help them calm down. These medications are typically for short-term, episodic instances of hyperhidrosis, like sweaty job interviews. Many cannot tolerate their long-term side effects.

Benzodiazepines

These are controlled substances prescribed for those with anxiety. Use with caution; this class of medication can have an addictive effect. Not everyone with hyperhidrosis has anxiety, but hyperhidrosis can cause it.

In some people, we’re not sweating because we’re nervous, we’re nervous BECAUSE we’re sweating. There is a difference.

Botox®

OnabotulinumtoxinA injections (Botox®) block the chemical that is responsible for turning on the body’s sweat glands, at least temporarily. I’ve had these injections in my hands, which you can read about here.

Iontophoresis

This is a medical device that uses an electrical current passed though shallow water, which temporarily blocks the sweating. Iontophoresis is generally used for hands and feet by placing them in shallow trays filled with water that contain metal boards to conduct the electricity. Most companies require a prescription in order to ship the machine.

Lasers

Used to treat axillary hyperhidrosis (sweaty underarms), lasers can precisely target, treat and destroy sweat glands in this area.

miraDry®

miraDry® uses microwave technology to elimate sweat and odor glands in the underarms. It’s available in over 50 countries worldwide. 

Qbrexza™ 

The newest prescription medication on the market, this cloth containing glycopyrronium is an anticholinergic. It’s applied topically to the underarms to reduce axillary hyperhidrosis.

Surgeries for Hyperhidrosis

Local Surgery for Underarms

This is called local because the surgery is performed locally on the area affected by excessive sweating, which is the underarms. Surgery is used to remove the sweat glands; they may be cut, scraped or suctioned out.

ETS Surgery

This is the most drastic and permanent procedure to treat hyperhidrosis, and many consider it a last resort.

Please make sure you do your research before committing to this procedure. Don’t simply trust the results you see on the first page of your internet search.

Many of those first page search results could be paid advertisements by those who perform this procedure.

ETS stands for endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. This is where a surgeon severs individual nerves on the sympathetic nervous chain near the spinal column. ETS is a permanent procedure, and no successful reversals have been reported.

I’ve met people in person who are literally sweating through two layers of clothes due to compensatory sweating (CS) from ETS surgery. They deeply regret having the surgery, and their CS is worse than the original sweating they were trying to stop. 

Read Carrie’s ETS story and Leann’s ETS story.

For a complete explanation of ETS surgery, visit the International Hyperhidrosis Society.

Mental Health and Hyperhidrosis

While these may not treat your hyperhidrosis, they can help improve your mental health and well-being and/or produce a feeling of relaxation. I’ve done or continue to do all of these myself.

Therapy

I love therapy! Find a good psychologist or licensed family therapist to help you dig deep into your hyperhidrosis feelings if you need to. Sometimes a therapist can help you discover underlying causes or thought patterns that are responsible for how you might feel.

Consult a psychiatrist or your primary care physician if you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety. In some cases, medications like antidepressants may help you. Be aware, though, that some antidepressants can actually increase sweating as a side effect.

Massage 

But I can’t let anyone touch me! I’ve heard that BS excuse before, because it’s one I used myself. Here’s how I got over it to accept the gift of touch.

Pedicures

My feet sweat wayyyy too much to go through with this. Also a BS excuse I used to use. Here’s how I let my sweaty feet be exposed.

Acupuncture

While acupuncture to treat hyperhidrosis didn’t work for me, the overall body benefits and relaxation did help me feel better as a person. Read my sweaty acupuncture stories.

Final Thoughts on Hyperhidrosis Treatments

I hope you find this information useful. While there currently isn’t a cure for hyperhidrosis, this is a pretty comprehensive list of options to try. Remember, each person’s body is different. What works for one may not work for another.

I am thankful we have a variety of treatment options from which to choose, and I will never give up hope that one day hyperhidrosis can be cured. Because without hope, we have nothing.

Sources:

  • International Hyperhidrosis Society. Hyperhidrosis Treatment Overview. Retrieved from https://sweathelp.org/hyperhidrosis-treatments/treatment-overview.html on Nov. 15, 2019
  • Mayo Clinic. Hyperhidrosis Diagnosis & Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperhidrosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20367173 on Nov. 15, 2019
  • Miradry. How it works. Retrieved from https://www.miradry.com/how-it-works/ on Nov. 15, 2019

Guest Post: Hyperhidrosis in France

Please welcome Ingrid from France 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. 

woman in straw hat sitting in grassy area

Meet Ingrid from France. She has hyperhidrosis.

On what areas of your body do you experience hyperhidrosis?

Hands and feet (groin too, but not as much)

How did you discover that your excessive sweating is a recognized medical condition?

15 years ago, while searching the Internet

How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life? 

It sometimes feels like my entire life revolves around hyperhidrosis, for example:

RELATED: How Hyperhidrosis Can F*&k You Up a Little

When packing for holiday, most people will take one pair of sandals and one pair of closed-toe shoes. I need to pack three pairs of both, as they need to dry for two to three days after I’ve worn them. And, they will still smell bad.

sandals with sweaty footprints in them

Ingrid’s new sandals after wearing them for just one day.

I had to give up climbing, dancing, playing the guitar and many more activities because of hyperhidrosis. I still practice yoga, but I wear special socks and must place a towel under my hands, otherwise I can’t hold the postures.

RELATED: Best Yoga Products for Hyperhidrosis

Once, I had this important meeting where I knew I would have to shake hands with lots of people. I was so anxious about my hyperhidrosis that I wore a fake bandage on my right hand and pretended I burnt myself with hot water so I could avoid any hand contact! For weeks after that, colleagues asked me about my hand. It felt terrible having to lie.

Having to take my shoes off is also a nightmare. I went on a trip once with two colleagues, and we shared a hotel room. After a day spent walking around town, I ran to the balcony of our room to get rid of my shoes. I left them outside for the night and then ran to the bathroom to wash my smelly feet.

I could see the other women didn’t understand my weird behavior. The most embarrassing thing was when I noticed they were looking at the wet marks my socked feet were leaving on the floor while walking from the balcony to the bathroom.

I could list hundreds of anecdotes of embarrassing situations linked to hyperhidrosis.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis Fears

Do you avoid certain things because of your sweating?

Yes, I do. So many things! I love dancing, but I never do it.

I wanted to take part in a women’s circle, but when I was told that we had to hold hands at different points during the ceremony, I decided not to join the group.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis and Avoidance

I can’t knit, anything to do with paper is tricky, using a tactile mobile too, opening a jar, carrying something, holding hands with someone…

Do you find that hyperhidrosis affects your mental health? If so, in what ways and how do you cope?

It does take a lot of mental space, as I’m constantly anticipating any social event. In my private life, too, it’s embarrassing. Holding hands or touching someone’s skin isn’t very enjoyable for the receiving person, and it makes me feel terrible.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis and Dating

I sometimes feel like I can’t enjoy life the way I would like to because of my hyperhidrosis.

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What treatments for hyperhidrosis – if any – have you tried?

I’ve tried:

  • Hypnosis
  • Urinotherapy (bathing my feet in my first morning pee for 30 minutes)
  • Acupuncture
  • All the antiperspirant products available on the market
  • I stopped drinking coffee for a year
  • I drank liters of sage infusions
  • I’m sure I’m forgetting some others.

Iontophoresis worked very well for years (I have my own device that I payed over 400 euros for) but not so much now. I think it might be due to the water, which is not as hard as when I used to live in a big city.

Is anything working for you to help you cope with your hyperhidrosis?

Iontophoresis is the only thing that helps a little bit. Mentally, the fact that more and more people are going public about this shameful condition helps a lot. I feel less isolated and alone.

What’s the worst thing about your hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis really affects my relationships with people and the way I enjoy life.

What do you think is the biggest misconception when it comes to hyperhidrosis?

The fact that people think that my hands sweating must mean something about my personality, like I’m dishonest, hypocritical, or can’t be trusted.

There’s also this idea that people can control their hyperhidrosis if only they were less anxious, more this, less that. For me personally, hyperhidrosis isn’t only linked to stress. I can be in my bed, on holiday, 100% relaxed and still sweat like crazy.

I also hate when I open up about my hyperhidrosis and people say, “Well, I also sweat, it’s normal, everybody does.”

Most people just don’t understand how invalidating hyperhidrosis is.

What would you like to see in the future when it comes to treatments for hyperhidrosis?

A surgery without side effects (compensatory sweating). If that existed, I would do it immediately.

If you could tell the world only one thing about hyperhidrosis, what would it be?

Hyperhidrosis isn’t just sweating more than what is normal. It’s invalidating and impacts many aspects of one’s life. A person who suffers from hyperhidrosis didn’t choose to have this condition. Please stop thinking we’re disgusting or mean or dishonest or weird.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about your sweaty story?

People suffering from hyperhidrosis should be more open about it and just tell people. Over the last year or so, I’ve tried to do so, and it makes me feel better to open up rather than constantly hiding. It’s really less exhausting!

Do you have a sweaty story?

share your sweaty story
I’ve opened my blog to the larger hyperhidrosis community. 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.

What You Should Know About Hyperhidrosis — Number 9

What have you tried when it comes to treating your hyperhidrosis? I’ve tried oral medications, Rx and clinical strength antiperspirants, Botox, acupuncture and Carpe Lotion to name a few. 💧💧 In SELF Magazine, I discuss ten things I wish people would understand about those who have hyperhidrosis. Here’s number nine:

There are treatment options for hyperhidrosis, but they don’t work for everyone.

10-things-about-hyperhidrosis-number-9

There are treatment options for hyperhidrosis, but they don’t work for everyone.
Learn more!

Each person’s body is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. The important thing is to do your homework and speak to dermatologists who truly understand hyperhidrosis. You can find one using this physician finder provided by the International Hyperhidrosis Society. Before selecting a treatment option, discuss all the pros and cons with your doctor. Some treatments can have pretty major side effects, such as compensatory sweating (sweating on other body areas) once the original site of sweating has been treated; this is particularly true for ETS surgery for hyperhidrosis.

Read more in my article with SELF Magazine and comment below to tell me what you’ve tried to treat your excessive sweating. 💧💧

(Image Credit: Cristi Goia)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents for the blog My Life as a Puddle

For ease of reading and to find my blog posts on specific topics, I’ve created this table of contents for you. Don’t see what you’re looking for, or have an idea for a blog post? Contact me, and I’ll see what I can do. (Note: Hyperhidrosis is referred to as HH on this page.)

Check out the article below that I wrote for SELF Magazine!

Hyperhidrosis: Ten Things People With the Condition Wish You Knew

Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month

Since 2017, hyperhidrosis officially has its own month dedicated to growing awareness for uncontrollable excessive sweating.

2019 – That’s a Wrap! 2019 – Meet My Friend Jess – She might be the youngest hyperhidrosis advocate in the world!
2019 – Stand Together for Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month

Hyperhidrosis Guest Posts

I’ve opened my blog for others to share their sweaty stories! Want to share yours? Contact me using the subject line Guest Post to get started.

Hyperhidrosis Meetup – Boston Hyperhidrosis in California
Hyperhidrosis in South Carolina Hyperhidrosis in France
Hyperhidrosis in the South Hyperhidrosis in South Central Massachusetts
Hyperhidrosis in New Jersey Hyperhidrosis in Massachusetts
Hyperhidrosis in Colorado Hyperhidrosis in Ohio
Hyperhidrosis in the Philippines Hyperhidrosis in Ontario
Hyperhidrosis in the Military Hyperhidrosis in Kenya
My Friend Has Hyperhidrosis,
and I Never Knew
Hyperhidrosis in the United Kingdom

Let’s Talk Sweat, Baby

Listen to me on the following podcasts and interviews talking about hyperhidrosis (and maybe a few other things).

Women For One Courageous Truthtelling Retreat
Pharmacy Times Continuing Education™ Launches Hyperhidrosis Patient Perspective Video Patients Have Power with Clara Health
Just Talking with Christopher Snider Run This World with Nicole DeBoom
Crazy Talk with Lee Thomas The Slippery Yogi podcast

How My Hyperhidrosis Blog All Started

About Discovering I Had HH (Part 2)
Welcome To My Blog Becoming Comfortable Enough to Talk About My HH
Discovering I Had
HH (Part 1)
Why I Write About HH

Life With Hyperhidrosis

Got hyperhidrosis? How’s your self-talk? Hyperhidrosis Life Hacks for the Doctor’s Office
Hyperhidrosis and Touch Hyperhidrosis and The Kindness Rocks Project
Do You Have a Child Who Sweats Too Much? The Power of the Hyperhidrosis Patient Voice
What Happens When There’s No Air Conditioning My First Non-Sweating Massage
Outdoor Summer Sweating Adventures Wedding Day HH
HH & the ‘Fight or Flight Response’ HH & Hand Holding
A Conversation on HH HH & Skin Rashes
My First-Ever Massage My Trip to Ithaca, NY
The Day My Car Died, or, Emergency Scenarios Groin Sweating
Another Massage? No Sweat! HH & Summer
HH & Church HH & Avoidance
HH & Traveling HH & the Beach
Coming From a Place of Yes HH & Fall
HH & Standing in Lines Trip to Martha’s Vineyard, MA
An HH Thanksgiving Public Speaking and Sweat
HH & Public Speaking (Part 1) HH & Dating
HH & Public Speaking (Part 2) HH & Oprah
HH & Public Speaking (Part 3)

Treatment for Hyperhidrosis

Sweaty? Check out these treatment options for hyperhidrosis
Carpe Product Review Interview with the Founders of Carpe
My Botox Adventure Post-Botox Treatment: A Short Recap
Botox Gratitude Reflections on Botox
A Visit to the Dermatologist HH & Yoga (Round 2)
My First Acupuncture Treatment My Worst Sweating Experience. Ever.
HH Guidelines for Patients ETS Surgery for HH
HH & Yoga New HH Treatment Study Now Open
HH & Acupuncture Underarm Treatment Study: What to Know Before You Go

Tips, Tricks & Products for Hyperhidrosis

Sweaty Gift List for Hyperhidrosis
Sweat-Friendly Products & Techniques The Thompson Tee Needs Your Help
The Thompson Tee The Thompson Tee Limited Time Offer
Keep Calm & Carry a Fan Thompson Tee Special Offer
HH Top 10 Yoga Products for Sweating
Shoes for Sweaty Feet HH & Fingerprinting
Paper, Pencils & Pens for Sweaty Hands Summer Shoes for Sweaty Feet
HH & Touch-Screen Phones Best Shirt for Underarm Sweating
iKey Stylus for Touch-Screen Phones Best Yoga Products for HH
A Vacuum for Sweaty Hands Five Life Hacks for Living With Hyperhidrosis
The Thompson Tee for Women

Hyperhidrosis Hope & Awareness

How You Can Help Someone With HH HH Time Capsule
HH in the News The Sketchbook Project 2012 (Digitized)
HH in the News – Focus on Teens Quotation Inspiration
HH – Is it a Disability? If I Had a Superpower
To My Readers Finding HH in Art
Telling My HH Story (Releasing Your Secret and Shame) HH Haikus
Do Not Live in Fear (A Poem) HH Speech
International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHHS) St. Louis Seminar Dear 16-Year-Old Me
The Sketchbook Project 2012 My HH Theme Song
Health Activist Writers’ Month Challenge HH on Pinterest
Nominated! 2012 WEGO Health Activist Awards 2012 Great Nonprofits Awards
HH Feelings SKIN
Writing From Your Soul HH-Dedicated Dance
Around Here Lately  HH Fears
This Model Has Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis, Careers & Job Searching

My Layoff A Week Straight of Sweaty Interviews
Be Changed By Your Circumstances, But Not Reduced By Them My Pre-Interview Routine
How To Survive a Layoff Second-Round Interviews – Where the Sweating Really Begins
Sweaty Job Interviews (Part 1) Clearing My Vision
Sweaty Job Interviews (Part 2) Getting the Job I Wanted
HH at Work HH & Paperwork

Miscellaneous Reflections on Life

Say What You Need to Say Love Wide – The Eulogy of Sandy Bristoll
Greeting Cards – A Tutorial on Recognition I Won a Writing Contest! Alone at My Table
I’ll Love You Long After You’re Gone One Year Later
Ten Things I Learned in 2017

Hyperhidrosis and Avoidance

“Resisting and avoiding pain sucks energy—and time…the more you let yourself feel those minute-and-a-half hells, the quicker you’ll start feeling those minute-and-a-half happinesses.” —  Leigh Newman

 

What are you avoiding in an attempt to hide your excessive sweating condition? What are you avoiding so that you don’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed by your hyperhidrosis? Hyperhidrosis is under-recognized and under-treated because people avoid talking about it to their families, friends, and health care providers. Stop the silence! You are not alone.

 

Begin to test just how far you can go in your daily life to experience people, places, and things that dry people can every day without so much as a second glance, a second thought, or a fleeting wipe of their palm on their clothing. As an excessive sweater, I constantly have to pre-analyze a situation prior to entering it. That’s okay, but it’s awfully tiring. I try to live outside of my comfort zone, though, and most of the time it’s worth it.

 

If I hadn’t endured these minute-and-a-half (or maybe longer) hells, I would never have known what I could accomplish despite my sweating:

 

The launch of this blog

Writing for the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHHS)

Writing for the IHHS again

Meeting author Jeannette Walls and telling my HH story

Creating a sense of community for you, my fellow sweaters

Getting a massage

Getting acupuncture

Joining a tea committee and hosting a table at an event

Reviewing products because I’ve talked openly about sweating

Creating a sketchbook about hyperhidrosis

This is just a small list, but it helps keep things in perspective. I have hyperhidrosis, but I don’t have to be reduced by it. I’m not trying to be all, Hey, look at me and what I can do. That’s not my intention. But because I choose every day to step out on faith, I have quantifiable, memory-worthy events that I can look back on and be grateful for. I’m no longer hiding who I am. I can’t help that I was born with hyperhidrosis. I can, however, help love myself along my sweaty journey and offer you encouragement to do the same. I’ll even hold your hand if you want.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

My Worst Sweating Experience. Ever.

Insane, or just desperate? Sometimes I have to ask myself this question when it comes to the things I’ve tried in an attempt to achieve a drier life. Remember my Botox adventure? Looking back on that experience today, I’m convinced I must have been out of my body doing something else in order to have endured it. I was needled today at acupuncture, and I’ve been doing that for the past 2 months or so (see my posts My First Acupuncture Treatment and Hyperhidrosis and Acupuncture for more information). It has been a great experience thus far, but today’s appointment was different. I had a complete physical, mental, and emotional breakdown.

 

Each time I go in, my acupuncturist asks me how I’ve been feeling and if I’ve noticed any change in my sweating. I feel like it’s getting worse, especially in my feet. I don’t know if this has anything to do with getting acupuncture or not. It’s typical to have your body respond to treatment, either with a reduction in whatever symptoms you’re having or with the movement of energy created by the placement of the needles. After I told her it was worse, she said she’d been doing some additional research on hyperhidrosis and had a new treatment idea, which we tried today.

 

Now, I’m game for anything and am willing to test my tolerance level when it comes to having an excessive sweating problem. I can, and will continue, to go outside of my comfort zone. That’s where life begins. In today’s acupuncture session, she placed 3 needles on both of my hands, in the tips of my fingers just past the nail line and on top of my fingers next to where my cuticles are. I’ve had needles there before and have been able to deal with them. When she inserted the one in my middle finger, it stung. One of the goals with needle placement is to push yourself as far as you can go without it being uncomfortable. The deeper the needle goes under the professional guidance of a licensed acupuncturist, the better.

 

After she placed the needles in my hands and I could breathe again, she inserted 2 in my forehead between my eyes and 3 or 4 in my right ear. I think the ones between my eyes were for stress reduction, because right after she inserted the ones in my hands, I gasped and told her it just made my sweating worse. (I’m always sweaty when I first get there but have always adapted to the room after about 15 minutes after she’s done touching me.) My fight or flight response kicked in when my hands were stimulated in such a drastic way, and she said that was okay that they did that. This new treatment was an intense treatment that she wanted to try, so it made sense that my body was responding in such a way.

 

I was able to keep the needle in my middle finger in just fine. It was the one in my thumb just to the right of my cuticle that started to throb and get a bit too tingly for my liking. It’s normal to experience some tingling and pulsating of energy moving through the points targeted by the needles. But this throbbing made me uncomfortable and gave me flashbacks of what happened a week after my Botox treatment. After my Botox, I experienced numbness and tingling in my fingers, especially in my pinky and middle fingers. Now, that is some freaky stuff! I remember sitting in my friend Kelby’s car on the way to Chick-fil-A one day and literally shaking out my fingers in a panic because I couldn’t feel them.

 

I lifted my hand up so that I could pull out the needle, and then it really hit me. OMG. I’m looking at my hand with needles in it! Bleck. I’ve looked at my body fully needled before to test my bravery and been fine. This time, it was not fine. I pulled the needle out and then laid myself back down. So then my thumb started bleeding, so I had to lift my hand up again. It was impossible for me to relax after this, so my inner monologue began to start about my stupid body and my stupid hyperhidrosis and nothing is ever going to work, and now I’m laying here completely out of my relaxation zone, etc. So then I took out the middle finger needle.

 

By this time, I was so frustrated that I couldn’t keep the first needle in and just work through it that I spontaneously combusted. The tears sprang forth. Like I need more water, right? They dripped down the sides of my eyes and trailed into my ear canals since I was laying on a massage table. So then I got hot. Want a surefire way to induce heat in someone with hyperhidrosis? Just get them to cry. I’m laying there mentally ragged, wet in my ears, hot all over, and then I notice that my feet have not stopped sweating like they normally do after 15 minutes into treatment. No, they are sweating overtime to a soundtrack by Tina Turner.

 

Just then, my acupuncturist came in and she saw that my eyes were open. I looked over at her through my blurred vision and told her I had to take some of the needles out myself. She said no worries and asked why and was I okay, and then I just cried harder. Well, as hard as I could in the community style setting. I didn’t want to alter the healing energy in the room for everyone else who was there. She said it was okay and then explained about the intensity of the treatment and that I was not the first person to cry in acupuncture either because of the treatment or because of whatever else in life might be going on that day. Women who are premenstrual are more sensitive to needle pain, as are people who are fighting off colds or the flu. Sometimes the planets just aren’t in alignment for an acupuncture treatment. Life tends to get in the way of healing, doesn’t it? Well, I’m tired of my hyperhidrosis getting in the way.

 

I told her I was frustrated that nothing I’ve tried for my hyperhidrosis has worked, and that sometimes it’s just so hard to live in this world, a world that is dry and where I’m busy trying to maintain balance in my sweaty shoes. She said she can’t even imagine what it’s like to live with hyperhidrosis, but that she will do everything she can to help me.  I completely believe in acupuncture treatment, even if it doesn’t cure my hyperhidrosis. I have experienced other health benefits from it already. They say that for every year you’ve had a condition, you’ll need one month of treatment – basically forever for me. It also takes longer depending on the depth of the needles and how far you can push yourself, too. This is all okay. I control my treatment and she will never push me if it’s too uncomfortable for my body.

 

She then told me to take my time getting up and not to worry about having to cut today’s treatment short. My acupuncturist is extremely understanding and sensitive to the needs of her patients. Not once do I feel like she’s grossed out when she touches my dripping hands and feet to place the needles. I never have to apologize to her, although that’s my standard preemptive response when it comes to acknowledging my sweat with others who might have to interact with me via touch.

 

Now comes the part where I wanted to die.

 

I took a few deep breaths and then sat up to get off the table. I forgot to mention that when you enter the acupuncture room, you grab a pillowcase from the shelf to use underneath your head. Well,  I now grab two and use the other one under my feet so I don’t get the sheet all sweaty. I have stopped bringing my trusty desk fan with me as a test to see whether I needed it as a security blanket and because the area I always go to doesn’t have a nearby electrical outlet. So far, it’s worked. As I turned to pick up the pillowcases, it’s blatantly obvious how badly I’ve dripped. I managed to soak through the pillowcase. Not only that, I’ve soaked through the sheet so that it’s now sticking to the massage table. I’ve also left sweat marks on the sheet where my knees were resting on a foam roll. Awesome. But why stop there? As soon as I started walking out, I noticed that the entire back of my skirt was wet. Thank God it was a patterned skirt so you couldn’t even tell had you looked. I have never sweat this badly before in my entire life!

 

I went to the lobby and paid, and told the receptionist she’d need to change the sheet on that table. Had I had my phone with me, I would’ve taken a picture of the pillowcase and sheet so you could admire my uncanny ability to soak something. Maybe next time. Next week the acupuncture clinic is closed on the day I usually go, which is fine. I need a break anyway to recuperate from this ghastly episode called my real life.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Hyperhidrosis & Yoga – Round 2

Rippling WaterSince I had such a relaxing time at my first yoga experience, I decided to return the next weekend and do it again. Things were going along swimmingly during the warm-up section, until the instructor asked us to extend our arms out to our sides and join hands with the people next to us. Eff. Thankfully, I was on the end of a row, so I only had to touch the person to my left. We didn’t actually join hands, which was better for me, but I still hated that my drippy hand was in the vicinity of her hand. I made sure my hand was on the bottom, my palm facing the grass that I wished I could disappear underneath. Her palm was face down as well, on top of my hand. The touching lasted about 20 seconds, maybe? I wasn’t counting, but it felt like an absolute eternity.

 

As soon as I heard the instructions to bow and say namaste (which means the Divine in me recognizes the Divine in you), I thought that would be it and then we’d move into some poses on our yoga mats. But no, we had to join hands. Remember when I talked about the anger I felt the last time I was instructed to join hands in a public place? Yeah, that beast completely returned full force for a few minutes until I tried to pocket it and take it home for later. It wasn’t the instructor’s fault. It was part of her yoga lesson plan. I get it. I am responsible for the anger, yes, and I don’t necessarily think that anger is a bad thing. Anger is an emotion just like sadness and happiness are. It deserves to be dealt with, too. I was angry that I couldn’t comfortably participate in a “normal” person’s activity without my stupid body acting up. I mean, seriously! Here I was, living on the edge and tipping my comfort zone on its side, trying to see just how far I could go and not allow my hyperhidrosis to hold me back. And then a trigger situation is thrown at me full force and messes it up.

 

I understand and truly believe that we are all connected and that we are more alike than unalike. The intention of joining hands with other yogis was to embrace and encompass the energy of all of us in the same location. But what happens when someone’s energy changes because they are not able to be in balance with their body? When they can’t control or even help that their body sweats? I’ll tell you what happens. The fact that you are doing yoga ceases to exist. What takes its place is the vicious inner monologue. The one that says, Oh, my God. Why did they have to tell us to join hands? I can’t do this. It’s making me uncomfortable! I hate my body. What is she thinking as she’s touching my hand? Great. Now I’ll never be able to cool back down and focus on the yoga. How dare they make us do this? Is my yoga experience really going to be any better because of this? I mean, REALLY! Can’t we just stay in our own space and move together without touching?

 

I ended up emailing the yoga studio that puts on this free event. I explained my hyperhidrosis and then said (even though I knew it might be too much to ask) if they might be able to avoid future touching poses in their classes. The owner of the yoga studio actually emailed me back! Here is what she said:

The process of yoga is coming back to our innate wholeness, understanding that we are not separate and that as a community we are one. The fact that you mention this to me is a wonderful sign that you are practicing the first principal of yoga and wellness, awareness.

It is only through awareness that we can begin to heal ourselves.  When we have an imbalance of any nature in our physical body, it usually stems first from the mind body.  Making such a request as you have, indicates that you are allowing the mind body to lead your physical body into a repetitive cycle of non-healing.
 
I would recommend that you see me at the park Wednesday (this week) if you come.  Arrive a few minutes early and I will show you a cooling pranayama that will help put your mind to ease and mitigate the sweat.  
 
Our practice is a community practice and it will at times include touching, greeting, partners (as is the case in the July 4 class). You might want to consider coming in to a private therapy practice with me, to work through some of these issues and while at the park, respect what is right for you as you continue on your journey. 

 

I agree with everything she says. I am on a quest to become more of myself, to live a better life. This is why I’ve been experimenting with all of these sweat-friendly products and techniques, acupuncture, yoga, and hopefully soon, meditation. If I could learn to get out of my head whenever I want to and focus on something else, perhaps I can escape my hyperhidrosis. This is very hard for one who ruminates on absolutely everything in her life. I have not been back to the yoga class as of right now. It’s just too overwhelming having to worry about my sweating in advance. The thought of going to a class and then having to either put my yoga mat far away from others so they can’t reach me to touch me, or having to stop and say, Sorry, I’m not comfortable touching you, or Sorry, I have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, blah blah blah…sounds even worse. I don’t want to call attention to myself and look like a freak. Gag me.

 

I will be looking into some private lessons with her, though. I need to learn this cooling pranayama she is talking about. If I can do it in private with her, bring along my trusty fan, and not worry about others around me or having to touch them, then I can keep moving forward in my yoga practice. This anger that I’m feeling? I’d like to harness it for my inner badass. I’m tired of being held back because of my hyperhidrosis. This past year and having this blog has taught me that it’s not just about me anymore. It’s about every single one of you who have hyperhidrosis. It’s about every single one of us stepping out of our puddles in whatever way we can and learning to live, not just exist, in spite of our condition. Who’s with me?

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water.
Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup;
You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle;
You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot.
Now water can flow or it can crash.
Be water, my friend. ― Bruce Lee

Water is the source of life. I’m on a quest to learn how I can use what I’ve been given in a way that doesn’t hinder me.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

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