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.
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:
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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I sometimes feel like I can’t enjoy life the way I would like to because of my hyperhidrosis.
What treatments for hyperhidrosis – if any – have you tried?
- Urinotherapy (bathing my feet in my first morning pee for 30 minutes)
- 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?
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.