How to Talk to a Loved One About Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis is a misunderstood, under-reported, and under-treated condition. This stems largely from the fact that sufferers of the condition rarely talk about their condition to medical professionals, and even less so to their loved ones. This can be mostly attributed to the general lack of awareness of excessive sweating as a medical condition, as well as the general sense of embarrassment that sufferers feel. They may also simply be too preoccupied with wanting to hide the symptoms of their condition from others, that they don’t even think to speak openly about it. Hyperhidrosis, like all visible conditions affecting the skin, can be both difficult to hide and even more difficult to talk about with others, which can lead to a range of physical, emotional, and psychological problems.
The social taboo associated with sweating can make it particularly difficult for excessive sweaters to talk about their condition to others. Stress can be an aggravator for hyperhidrosis, and constantly worrying about whether people are noticing your sweating and constantly trying to hide it can stress one out and make the sweating worse. Confiding in loved ones about the condition can be the first step into alleviating some of that stress and creating a support system. Being upfront about the condition, presenting the facts and your personal experience, can also sensitize people to the effects of the condition and make them more understanding. This is key in continuing to raise awareness about the condition and changing the way we talk about sweat.
The average age of onset for the condition is early adolescence, which is already a very tumultuous period of a person’s life where they are undergoing many changes. Hyperhidrosis can have a significant negative impact on their lives and it may be difficult for them to come forward to a parent or trusted confidant. In fact, they may not even realize that they’re suffering from a medical condition. To help guide you through explaining the condition, we’ve listed some general tips on how to talk to a loved one about hyperhidrosis, regardless of age.
How to Talk to a Loved One About Hyperhidrosis
- Pick a good moment to talk about the condition, and write down the main points you want to make. Take into consideration who you will be talking to, their relationship to you, and their awareness level of the situation. This can help you be less stressed about approaching someone about hyperhidrosis for the first time, which is important since we all know that stress can aggravate hyperhidrosis in the first place!
Research & Present the Facts
- Hyperhidrosis is a misunderstood and seldom talked about condition, so the person you are talking to may have never heard of the condition. In most cases, the best way to inform people is to present them with credible information, statistics, and science-backed facts. Many clinical studies have been conducted on hyperhidrosis, ranging from topics like prevalence and family history to its impacts on mental health and quality of life. Presenting key findings from these can help people understand how common the condition is, and the huge impacts it can have on daily life and quality of life.
Share Your Personal Experience
- Talk about how hyperhidrosis affects your life, and be specific! People may be quick to brush off your symptoms, but if you take the time to explain exactly how it has impacted your social life, mental health, and general well-being, then they are more likely to understand the severity of the situation.
Ask Them If They Have Any Questions
- Once you’ve said all you wanted to say, turn the conversation to them, and let them know that you’re willing to answer any questions they may have.
- If they don't have anything to say or ask right away, follow up the conversation at a later time. Some people need the time to process the information.
Refer them to Educational Resources
- You can end the conversation by referring them to the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s website, which is a great comprehensive resource for everything relating to sweat and hyperhidrosis.
- Our blog is also a great educational resource that covers a broad range of curated topics related to hyperhidrosis!
If can be best to confide in a close family member first. In fact, it’s also a good opportunity to bring up whether the condition runs in the family. Most people who suffer from hyperhidrosis have a close family member who also suffers from the condition, like a parent, grandparent, or sibling. In fact, it is estimated that 30-50% of people with hyperhidrosis have a family member who also suffers from the condition. Who knows, by starting a conversation, you may discover that you’re not the only one in your family who suffers from the condition, and you may even be helping someone else out!
From there, you can choose to confide in a few select close friends. There’s no need to be apologetic about the condition, and you’ll find that people will appreciate that you’ve chosen to open up to them. The more people who know about hyperhidrosis, the more support you will get, and it will make you feel less self-conscious about the condition.
If you’re still struggling to open up to someone about the condition, then there are a lot of online hyperhidrosis communities made up of people who share the same struggles. These are a great place to start if you’re looking for a supportive group where you can bond and share with others. We suggest you start by visiting the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s website, where you can find an extensive list of resources. Additionally, there are many social media groups, particularly Facebook groups, for hyperhidrosis sufferers. We recommend Hyperhidrosis Anonymous, which is a judgment-free zone for hyperhidrosis sufferers to come together and share their stories and tips and tricks with each other! You will find a lot of helpful information, as well as a supportive community in these types of groups!