My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time.

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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.

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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Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

A Bit of Botox Gratitude

After learning there would be a CME symposium on hyperhidrosis in my area, I had to complete a registration process, fill out paperwork, etc. One of my first contacts was with a support specialist at the International Hyperhidrosis Society. After my symposium and Botox experience, I wrote her a handwritten card. Yes, she was a complete stranger, but that doesn’t matter. That’s part of the beauty. I was able to affect someone whom I’d never met just as much as she was able to affect me.

Dear Christine,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you for helping me get connected with the patient volunteer aspect of the CME event in Denver this April. When I emailed the IHHS, I was not expecting such a prompt response, yet there was your email in my inbox offering to put my name on the list to receive Botox injections. I am thrilled to report the treatment is working! My life has changed because of it, and because of you. The part you played was integral in getting me the next step of the way on my way to liberation and confidence. Thank you for being awesome at your job and for being the one who replied to my email. You matter, and you should know that you do. I’m now volunteering for the IHHS. Perhaps one day we’ll meet and I can shake your hand- mine will be DRY, too!

I’ve been writing cards and letters for years, and it’s amazing what such a simple act does for me and for the recipient. It becomes tangible evidence for someone that they rock, that their existence matters, that someone cared enough to let them know. Have you heard of the Note Project? It’s about making the world a million times  better. I encourage you to check them out. I’m currently in talks with the Note Project’s founder, Mike O’Mary, about possibly using all or part of my manuscript on the lost art of letter writing for his upcoming book. 🙂


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

My Botox Adventure

Spring 2011 042

The injection locations are marked on my hand.

Spring 2011 045

The completed markings on my left hand, all 86 of them.

Spring 2011 046

My right hand. The nurse used a vibrator right before the doctor injected, while at the same time using ice and pressure. The vibrator tricks the brain into sending a nerve impulse in response to the vibration, rather than the needle pain. It has to be timed perfectly to work properly.

Spring 2011 051

My right hand is done. The fingertips and the side of my hand that rests on a piece of paper when I write hurt the most. I’m so proud of myself for conquering a fear!


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

Post-Botox Treatment: A Short Recap in the Form of a Letter

I hand wrote this letter to the executive director of the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHHS), whom I met in person the day I received treatment. This is how I was feeling approximately 1 week after I received Botox injections for palmar hyperhidrosis (HH).

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to you and your staff for organizing the CME symposium on HH and for giving me a chance to receive free treatment. When I arrived and saw the signage proclaiming excessive sweating and read all the stories about people just like me, it was incredibly validating. I felt like the symposium was created just for me and was all about me. I could finally sit in a room and sweat without any worries, while at the same time listen to experts who are pioneers in the field and who offer treatments of hope. I met another attendee whose husband had ETS and now has CS [compensatory sweating] as a result. She and I got to talking, and when I told her about the mental and physical turmoil I go through on a daily basis, she was moved to tears. [For example, I told her stories about my high school proms and hating dress clothes because they’re not sweat friendly, and what happens when I go the doctor’s office.]

Being able to stand there and talk openly with her, and then with the other patient volunteers, I felt like I had met my tribe. On that day, in those 2 rooms, for those 8 hours, I stood in my truth and was liberated. Sweating was exactly what I was supposed to be doing; for the first time, I was comfortable in my sweating glory. I was one of the last patients to be injected, and Dr. [Sweat] was fabulously wonderful. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go through with it after watching the injection videos, [Note—if you are someone who is easily grossed out and can be influenced by visual images, I do not recommend watching these videos prior to getting treatment. In this case, ignorance really is bliss.] but desperate times call for desperate measures. I faced my fear and came out on the other side better than I was before.

While I hope and pray the Botox works, if it doesn’t I still know I am bigger than my circumstances and refuse to be reduced by them. When I left the symposium that day, I felt like a million bucks. A palpable shift occurred within me that was rather unexpected. You, and the IHHS, GET IT. And you got me. April 30, 2011 was more than just a CME symposium and an opportunity for treatment. It was about validation, courage, strength, and being seen and physically touched by all of you without having to worry about what you thought of my sweating. Maya Angelou once said, “Beauty and strength can be found in adversity.” I thank you deeply for helping me on my way to find mine.


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

Guest Post: Hyperhidrosis in Arkansas

Please welcome Beth from Arkansas 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. 

And, make sure you subscribe to my hyperhidrosis email newsletter so you don’t miss a sweaty thing.

On what areas of your body do you experience hyperhidrosis?

I have palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands) and plantar hyperhidrosis (sweaty feet).

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

I was definitely an adult and was just googling “excessive sweating” one day. I had never realized it was an actual medical condition. My family had always told me I would grow out of it!

RELATED: How I discovered I had hyperhidrosis

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis Life Hacks for the Doctor’s Office

How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life?

I’m an office manager in a small law firm, so I’m constantly handling important paperwork that will get wet or crumpled if I’m not careful.

My phone handset is often dripping once I get off of a long phone call.

I dread meeting new clients or having sales meetings with vendors because of the inevitable, dreaded handshake.

I pride myself in being a competent, fairly self-confident person, and I hate that many folks’ first impression of me is a sweaty handshake.

I’ve also been a hobbyist artist my entire life, dabbling in lots of different media. I can remember as kid wearing winter gloves while drawing so I wouldn’t smear my work! Nowadays my focus is landscape photography, which is a little more sweat-forgiving. Specifically I love hiking to and photographing waterfalls in my home state of Arkansas. When you’re out in the woods, nobody cares if you’re sweaty!

Arkansas waterfall photo taken by Beth despite having hyperhidrosis

One of Beth’s hobbies is landscape photography. She says, “When you’re out in the woods, nobody cares if you’re sweaty!”

Do you avoid certain things because of your sweating?

  • Absolutely. I often dread meeting new people in general because of the threat of a handshake.
  • I don’t wear sandals usually, even in the hottest days of summer, because my feet slip around in them too much.
  • I always wear at least one item of dark clothing to work so I have something that will soak up my hand sweat discreetly.
  • One activity I can specifically think of is acroyoga, basically partner/acrobatic yoga. It was so much fun the few times I tried it, but I couldn’t get past being uncomfortable with others having to touch my hands and feet.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis & Yoga

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

It has definitely made me feel depressed and insecure, especially when I was a teenager (and occasionally to this day). Now that I am an adult, although it still bothers and annoys me, I have tried to see my hyperhidrosis as more of an obstacle to work through than as a barrier. I try to re-frame my negative thoughts into something more along the lines of, “Wow, if I can do X-Y-Z while sweating profusely, I can do anything!”

RELATED: How are you talking to yourself because of your hyperhidrosis?

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

sweaty hand also known as palmar hyperhidrosis

Beth’s sweaty hands make handling office paperwork difficult in addition to meeting and greeting clients and having to shake hands.

The only treatment I have tried is prescription-strength antiperspirant on my hands and feet (as directed by a dermatologist) but without much success. I was really surprised to read about all the different treatments discussed on Maria’s hyperhidrosis blog and other places online, as my derm has only mentioned Botox to me, which I wasn’t that jazzed about.

RELATED: Sweaty? Check out these treatment options for hyperhidrosis.

What’s the worst thing about your hyperhidrosis?

More than anything I just hate the self-consciousness that comes with hyperhidrosis.

Instead of just going about my day normally as everyone else does, I’m constantly analyzing and worrying about when my sweat will come into play and how I can work around it.

Having to carefully pick out my shoes, for instance, is really annoying! Of course I’d love to wear those cute strappy sandals, but my feet will be wet and slippery all day! Yuck.

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

I have hyperhidrosis and didn’t even know it was a real condition up until a few years ago. So many people must have no idea why I’m so sweaty when they touch me and think I must be super nervous or something. I’m not even sure what other misconceptions there could be, because I don’t think that many people even know what hyperhidrosis is!

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

I would really like dermatologists to familiarize themselves with a range of different treatments for hyperhidrosis. I don’t live in a huge city, but was surprised when I learned (from the Internet) I had other options besides just antiperspirants or Botox. And of course I’d love to see an actual cure someday!

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

It’s a real condition. Please try to be understanding, and don’t grimace when you shake my hand please!

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

Thanks again so much for your blog. I have gotten some great tips and plenty of comfort reading your, and others’, stories.

(Thank you, Beth! I’m glad you found me.)

Do you have a sweaty story?

share your sweaty storyDo you have hyperhidrosis? 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.

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 Massachusetts

Meet Anonymous, 33, from Massachusetts. She is a brave soul with hyperhidrosis who has chosen to share her sweaty story on mylifeasapuddle.com. I want my blog to be a safe space for those who find me, which is why her guest post is anonymous. Going public about our sweaty secret can be scary, but using our sweaty voices is the bravest thing we will ever do.

On what areas of your body do you experience hyperhidrosis?

Hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), feet (plantar hyperhidrosis), armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis), groin, face (craniofacial hyperhidrosis)

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

At some point in high school, I remember seeing a news special about hyperhidrosis and was floored that there were others like me. Until then, none of my pediatricians had ever said anything about it. When I brought it up to my pediatrician at the time, he was pretty dismissive about it.

How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life?

It affects pretty much everything, from:

I chose to go to college in Maine in part because cold weather is easier than hot weather.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis and Job Interviews

Do you avoid certain things because of your sweating?

All the time! Most recently, I avoided playing pool at a work outing.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis and Avoidance

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

No

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

  • Certain Dri antiperspirant
  • Glycopyrrolate
  • Botox injections in my hands
  • Other topical antiperspirant creams for feet and hands
  • Iontophoresis, and
  • Being presented as a case study at Dermatology Grand Rounds at Massachusetts General Hospital

RELATED: Read my product review of Carpe and how it finally gave me some relief!

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

Yes. I cope as best I can through outlets like running, biking, being outside and also talk therapy, recharging with alone time, reading. I think I loved running and sports in general because I considered cross country and track the great equalizer for me…if you’re running your heart out in a 5k race, you’re supposed to be sweating.

What’s the worst thing about your hyperhidrosis?

The negative reactions I get from some people when shaking hands, etc.

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

That we sweat because we’re nervous and that somehow we can make it stop on demand.

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

Something that works and doesn’t have severe side effects or causes compensatory sweating. Also, more research into the genetics behind hyperhidrosis.

RELATED: The time I stood on stage and spoke to members of the FDA and pharma about hyperhidrosis

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

Like any other medical condition, it’s not something we can help or control all the time.

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

A few things come to mind when I think of how hyperhidrosis has impacted my life in recent years.

Getting Fingerprinted With Hyperhidrosis

The first is when I was repeating the MCAT while applying to medical school for the second time and I needed to provide an electronic fingerprint before testing for ID purposes. I was nervous because of the exam and so of course my hands were sweating profusely and my fingerprint wouldn’t register.

I tried explaining about hyperhidrosis and that at this point, wiping my hands on my jeans wasn’t going to do much. The exam proctors looked at me like I was crazy, didn’t have an inkpad to do a regular fingerprint, and suggested that they might not let me test.

Needless to say, I was in full panic by then and I don’t remember exactly how they decided to let me start the test, but I do remember sobbing quietly in front of my computer for several minutes before trying to pull myself together to begin the physics section.

Reader, I did not do well on the exam. My dermatologist gave me a letter explaining my hyperhidrosis to use another time, but in the end, I decided medical school was no longer for me because of this incident and many other incidents while working in a hospital and research labs.

Wearing a Cast With Hyperhidrosis

Last summer, I broke my wrist and pelvis in a bike crash. My wrist fracture was so severe that I required surgery to set the fracture and a metal plate along the bone. When the surgeon explained that the metal plate serves as an internal cast and I would be wearing a removable splint instead of a plaster cast, I was so thankful.

I had been dreading wearing a cast on my wrist for 6 weeks with hyperhidrosis and thinking my hand would basically just rot in the cast or they would have to make me a new cast every week.

sweaty hand after wearing a splint after surgery

Wearing a cast or splint on any limb is a concern if you have hyperhidrosis due to excessive sweat pooling in and around the covered area.

Luckily, too, I had occupational therapists who were not put off by my sweaty hands while they had to treat my wrist. Hyperhidrosis definitely still complicated things like keeping my stitches dry. I had to meticulously clean my splint and change the sleeve I wore underneath it frequently, but at least I didn’t have to suffer through an itchy, sweaty cast for most of the summer.

Do you have a 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.

Guest Post: Hyperhidrosis in New Jersey

Meet Anonymous, 27, from New Jersey. She is a brave soul with hyperhidrosis who has chosen to share her sweaty story on My Life as a Puddle. I want my blog to be a safe space for those who find me, which is why this guest post is anonymous. Going public about our sweaty secret can be scary, but using our sweaty voices is the bravest thing we will ever do.

On what areas of your body do you experience hyperhidrosis?

I experience hyperhidrosis on my underarms, hands, and feet.

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

I was searching the Internet for excessive sweating and stumbled across information about hyperhidrosis. I didn’t know that it was even a condition that a lot of people suffered from.

RELATED: How I discovered I had hyperhidrosis

How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life?

I’ve had hyperhidrosis for most of my life. It affects me mentally and physically every day. I’m constantly thinking about it and worried that people are going to notice in public or social situations. I’ve gotten so used to hiding it that most people don’t know I have it.

Do you avoid certain things because of your sweating?

I avoid wearing color in public. I primarily wear black or black and white with patterns. If I have to wear a colored shirt, I’ll wear a cardigan over it. I avoid wearing rubber or leather sandals. I try to find sandals that have a suede bottom. I avoid shaking hands or holding hands because my hands are always sweating. If I could avoid summer altogether, I would.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis and avoidance

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

I’ve tried prescription antiperspirants in the past, but they haven’t worked.

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

Not really. I’ve switched over to using men’s antiperspirant because I think it’s stronger than women’s. I use Certain Dri clinical strength and extra strength. I also have an antiperspirant lotion that I use occasionally. However, none of these work that well for me, but it’s better than using nothing at all.

What’s the worst thing about your hyperhidrosis?

The constant worry and anxiety about whether my sweating will show in public. Wearing color and not being able to cover up my sweat is the worst thing ever. Having a puddle of water by my feet when my feet start to sweat and getting paper wet when I write is something that no one should have to go through.

RELATED: Some paper, pens, and pencils I like to use that work with sweaty hands

hand dripping with sweat

Anonymous, 27, suffers from palmar hyperhidrosis in addition to sweating on other areas of her body.

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

I would like to see more affordable options for treatments. Botox and other hyperhidrosis treatments are not covered by all insurances in the U.S.. For those of us who suffer and can’t afford these treatments, it’s not easy. We basically just have to keep suffering and using mediocre products that don’t work.

RELATED: My first Botox treatment for sweaty hands and why it made me launch this hyperhidrosis blog in the first place

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

Overwhelming. It’s a condition that affects more people than you think. Some people have it worse than others, but we’re all suffering from the same thing.

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

For years, I felt alone and embarrassed. I didn’t understand why I was sweating so much and other people around me didn’t. I still don’t understand it, but I’m happy that there are support groups and more information about this condition. I’m glad that I can share a story like this and possibly help someone who is going through the same thing.

RELATED: Read my article I wrote for SELF Magazine – Hyperhidrosis: Ten Things People With the Condition Wish You Knew

Do you have a sweaty story?

I’m opening up 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.

Hyperhidrosis in the Military

Meet Staff Sergeant Kenneth Edra assigned with the Eighth U.S. Army Band in South Korea. This is his sweaty story.

I’ve suffered from severe palmar (hands) and plantar (feet) hyperhidrosis for as long as I can remember. When I first picked up a guitar, I fell in love with it. But the struggle was real with hyperhidrosis. I played in many bands growing up, but my condition was hindering my ability to play well. My time spent with the bands was short lived. I thought playing the guitar just wasn’t for me. So I quit music and joined the Army.

Hyperhidrosis and the Army

Gripping Weapons With Sweaty Hands

But the struggle of being in the Army with hyperhidrosis was also real. I remember during basic training when my drill sergeant did a rifle inspection one night. We were standing beside our bunk beds with our rifles in our hands. Of course, I was sweating.

Drill sergeant took my rifle and inspected it. He tore me and everyone in my platoon a new one because my rifle was WET!

Then I have to climb a rope? Aaahhh… good times! But that’s a story for another day.

Sweaty Feet and Combat Boots

Then I deployed to Iraq…twice. The biggest challenge is my feet. I sweat in my boots all day every day, summer or winter. But I hate winter the most. I carry several socks with me during patrols so I can change them out constantly. But my boots were already soaking wet from 20K steps of walking, so why bother?

Wet socks, wet boots, and 20K steps with 50 pounds on my back equals many blisters on my feet. Then night falls and so does the temperature, so everything I am wearing is WET! Good times!

Treatments for Hyperhidrosis

I tried several treatments for hyperhidrosis from topical to oral medicine to botulinum toxin injections, but none of them really worked. I find that most medicines that I’ve taken have side effects that outweigh the benefits.

It was eight years ago when I found out about iontophoresis treatment and what a life changer it was. It is time consuming, but it works! And the best thing is it has little to no side effects.

Playing an Instrument With Hyperhidrosis

I picked up the guitar one more time. I was dry, and playing was more enjoyable. I practiced more, and I got better. Way better.

It was five years ago when I found out that the Army Band was looking for a guitarist. So I auditioned. I am now 34 years old, and I play with the most prestigious band I will ever play with.

Kenneth playing guitar in the US Army band
Kenneth playing guitar in the U.S. Army band despite having palmar hyperhidrosis.
He says, “Improvise, adapt and overcome.” Rock on!

Watch video of Kenneth playing his guitar on the Eighth U.S. Army Band’s Facebook page.

Marriage and Hyperhidrosis

I would like to thank my wife Melanie for her understanding and undying support for my condition.

I remember the first time we held hands. I was so nervous and sweating so bad. So I placed a handkerchief between our hands.

Kenneth and his wife
Kenneth and his hyperhidrosis supportive wife, Melanie

“What’s the handkerchief for?” she asked. I said, “My hands sweat a lot”. She took the handkerchief away and held my hand so tightly as we strolled all day at the mall. That’s when I knew she was the one. We have been married for 12 years, and she still holds my hand the same way.

RELATED: WEDDING DAY HYPERHIDROSIS

Thank you, Kenneth, for your service to our country.

Do you have a sweaty story?

I’m opening up 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.

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For Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month, Use Your Voice

Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month with My Life as a Puddle

To My Dearest Sweaty Friends,

November marks the arrival of the second annual Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month. For the entire month of November, I want you to use your sweaty voice.

You might be thinking to yourself, “I can’t do that.” And believe me, I get it. See, I used to be that way, too. I hated my excessively sweaty body (and sometimes I still do), and I avoided so many things in life.

But the courage to use my voice came after I was seen and heard by people and an organization who understood what it’s like to have hyperhidrosis (Hh) – the International Hyperhidrosis Society. They took the time to listen. They shook my hand even though it was dripping wet. They presented me with treatment options, information packets, FAQs to ask my dermatologist, insurance and prior authorization help, and more.

When I left the IHhS’s hyperhidrosis symposium that day almost eight years ago, my life was changed. I found my voice that day. Now, I’m asking you to find yours.

Courage is like a muscle. Each time you practice it, it gets stronger.

I never thought I’d be blogging about sweat, filming antiperspirant commercials with Carpe to air on national television, or speaking to members of the FDA and pharma at the first-ever Patient-Focused Drug Development Meeting for Hyperhidrosis. But each of these moments strengthened my courage muscle and allowed me to use my sweaty voice.

Here are some ideas for using your voice

  • Tell your parents you have hyperhidrosis if they don’t already know
  • Tell a friend
  • Talk to your school nurse
  • See a dermatologist (search here for a dermatologist who treats Hh)
  • Casually share a link to my blog
  • Share one of my Facebook or Instagram posts to help you start a conversation that is awkward to have
  • Retweet one of my tweets about hyperhidrosis

I am here and willing to be your voice when you think you can’t speak up. But little by little, your own voice will get stronger.

Our voices together can – and will – do so much more. Imagine the day when our sweaty song is so loud it forces people to stop in their tracks to listen to what we have to say.

Because those with hyperhidrosis? What we have to say matters. Our feelings matter. Our silent suffering matters.

Stop living small. You only get one trip around the sun. Make it count.

You may have hyperhidrosis, but it doesn’t have to have you.

Feel your hyperhidrosis feelings, let them out, and use your voice to create change. I promise once you speak up, things do get better.

It’s time. Be a vital voice this November. The world needs it.

Your friend in sweat,

Maria

P.S. I’d love to hear about what you do this month to use your hyperhidrosis voice. Drop me a comment below and do tell!

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