Hyperhidrosis in the Military

by Jan 16, 2019Hyperhidrosis0 comments

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.


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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