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Many people with hyperhidrosis (HH) live in their own personal weather climate and definitely outside what the world’s majority share.
I am no exception.
I wake. Great night: pillow and sheets aren’t soaked. Start morning routine. I get dressed and it begins. The tiny beads of sweat growing on top of my scalp. It begins to trickle down onto my back as my forehead cascades its own monsoon onto my face. The single strands of hair, now saturated, become aqueducts racing drops onto my clothing.
This uncontrollable waterfest happens several times a day. No discretion when it occurs: peeling potatoes at my sink, ironing, talking to a new acquaintance, brushing my teeth, even standing in the grocery line.
Beginning in my pre-teens, I still remember the cruel names: Sweaty Betty, Sweat Pot, Wet Head Girl, Red Face. You become acutely aware of those situations that start the dripping and fear the rest.
I have, however, found a few lifesavers for navigating my watery world. I always carry a paper towel or small hand towel in my bag to wipe my sweaty face and neck. I wear a small neck fan from sunup to sundown which blows air onto my face, cooling me. My home is littered with fans of every size for use in summer as well as winter. And in winter, mine is possibly the ONLY house where people go outside to warm up!
I pull my hair up often to diffuse the heat and prevent style dysfunction from the drooping frizzy wet curls. On rare occasions, I wear minimal make-up. Mostly liquid bronzers on my face that don’t easily sweat away. Mascara, eyeliner and long lasting lip wear, all waterproof.
I wear dark clothing less susceptible to sweat stains and carry an extra top, which typically gets swapped for the wet one sometime during my day. Clothing is loose, not tight or restricting if possible. And I wear open-toed shoes or sandals to help cool from the bottom.
I avoid hot spicy foods or heated foods in general. I take ice chips in a shakeout bottle wherever I go. Eating them assists my cooling.
I try to avoid new places and situations that might stress me. And I’m selective who I will clean or cook around, as I'm constantly wiping my sweat up as I go.
I don’t attend any event without first mentally planning for those sweat-filled situations I might encounter. And some... I don’t attend at all.
And lastly I laugh a LOT. Being older, more mature, and a captain of my destiny… I make jokes about my red sweaty face. When asked about my cooling neck fan, I first spin a wild tale of a government recording device. Or a personal germ destruction and dispersion unit.
And then I gladly educate them about my hyperhidrosis condition.
I have increased sweat contained mostly to my head and face, some on my torso. Others struggle with excess armpit sweat, hands that are never dry, or feet that slosh around in shoes all day. Some have multiple sites. And then there are the unlucky who fight all-over body sweat.
The treatments available seem few and far between. Botox injections on your head, parasympathetic nerve cutting to decrease wet armpits and hands. Oxybutynin, typically prescribed as incontinence aid, and Glycopyrrolate or Clonidine, additional drugs to slow the flow. Drysol or other sweat preventing liquids or lotions help some. This condition is as personal as the available treatments.
It’s a seemingly new condition to most doctors, but at least it now has a name: hyperhidrosis or HH, with a description and symptoms to help identify it.
Until it has a cure, I shall just keep on swimming, swimming, swimming…
This article was written by MyHyperhidrosisTeam member Merrillyn as part of the Member Spotlight series. Merrillyn loves to play the piano, garden, write poetry, read self-help books, and talk with friends and family on the phone.
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