I think and worry about sweating all the time. I have a sweaty inner monologue that pretty much doesn’t shut up. Here’s a clip from when I filmed a patient perspective video with Pharmacy Times Continuing Education (PTCE).
Prefer to read this instead? Here’s the transcript from my video, including things I didn’t say in the clip above, and you can also read more about my trip to film this patient perspective video on hyperhidrosis. In the transcript, I = interviewer and MT = me (Maria Thomas).
I: How many times a day do you think or worry about sweating?
MT: I think and worry about sweating all the time. I have a sweaty inner monologue that pretty much doesn’t shut up. I try my best to work through it, but even sitting here now I’m worrying whether I’m sweating through the back of my shirt, whether I’m going to leave a mark on the chair when I stand up, what everyone thought of me when I first came in and shook their hands.
Hyperhidrosis affects everything in my life from the clothing that I wear to the career that I might choose, what my set-up looks like at my desk. I have a small office or desk fan that I use, and I turn that on and off at least 25 times a day if my hands start sweating onto my keyboard.
I: How much time would you say you spend each day managing excessive sweating?
MT: The amount of time I spend managing my hyperhidrosis, I would say during the work week, probably five hours a day. I have a desk fan that I turn on and off tons of times. It’s a little bit better when I get home from work and I can better control my environment, what the temperature is inside my own house, whether I have a fan on or whether I have a window open. Things that make me sweat more or more often are when I’m in situations that I can’t control myself.
I: Outside your comfort zone.
I: How many times a day do you need to change clothing, or wash, or apply pads or antiperspirant?
MT: I change clothes twice a day usually. I apply my antiperspirant at night before I go to bed to clean underarms. That helps it soak in better because my temperature drops overnight, so it helps to plug up those pores in my underarms. And then if I have a really long day traveling, for example, my hyperhidrosis is really bad at the airport and through the security checkpoints. That’s a trigger for me. So, by the time I arrive at my destination and get checked in to my hotel, I will at minimum have to wash my feet because they’ve sweat so bad that they now kind of have a coating on them. So I’ll wash my feet at least if I don’t take a shower again at the end of the day.
I: I know you’ve sort of mentioned this but I’ll ask again. How does hyperhidrosis affect the way you dress or how often you must buy clothing or shoes?
MT: Hyperhidrosis definitely affects clothing choices. I’m more comfortable in cotton and jeans because jeans are easy for me to wipe my sweaty hands on. In a business setting, wearing business suits, or panty hose, or leggings makes me sweat a lot more, so I try to wear cotton as much as I can. I wear a lot of black clothing, a lot of patterns to hide the sweat. And then shoes are a whole different matter. I have to replace my shoes a lot more often because I sweat through them. I have been known to discolor shoes because you can see the salt marks from my sweat, especially on shoes like Converse, for example. Those are really great at revealing my sweaty secret, if you will. So, yeah, I definitely spend a lot more money on shoes, and I don’t like to spend a lot of money on one pair of shoes if I know that I’m going to ruin them with my sweat.
People with hyperhidrosis oftentimes feel like they can’t have nice things.
Video footage is courtesy of Pharmacy Times Continuing Education (PTCE) and is from their continuing medical education activity titled “Examining Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating): A Managed Markets Update on New Treatments, Featuring a Patient Perspective” and was featured as a supplement in the December 2018 edition of the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC).