My Hyperhidrosis Story: Sara's Experience
We reached out to some members of the Dermadry community and asked them about their hyperhidrosis story and their Dermadry journey. Below is Sara's hyperhidrosis story!
We decided to reach out to Sara, a member of our community who is living in Japan, to learn more about the way hyperhidrosis is viewed in Japanese culture! We had a very emotional phone conversation with Sara, in which she listed the various ways that Dermadry has helped her in her daily life!
How has hyperhidrosis affected your life?
When I was younger, I noticed that one of my friend’s hands were always wet, and now looking back, I realize that she probably had hyperhidrosis, though I was little at the time and didn’t know about hyperhidrosis. However, ever since the day I noticed my friend’s sweaty hands I became self-conscious about my own hands, which I realized were also really sweaty while I was in elementary school.
My brother was the first to notice my hyperhidrosis, as he commented on the fact that every time I touched something (for example, cups and plates) I would leave wet prints behind. I remember he said something like “you leave drops of water behind on everything you touch”.
Fortunately, I was not bullied at school or anything, and people would just be polite and just pretend not to notice my sweaty hands, so I think I was lucky in that regard.
Can you list some specific ways that hyperhidrosis affected your daily life?
- I played the double bass in the music club at my school, and my sweaty hands made it incredibly hard to play. I remember glancing at the person next to me and her hands were completely dry. It was at this moment that I realized I was different, and my extremely sweaty hands were not “normal” and were impeding my ability to play double bass.
- When I was writing exams, the paper would get so wet, that it made it hard to continue. I was doubly stressed because of the timed exam itself, but also because of my sweaty hands. I was always wearing long-sleeved tops so that I could hide my hands and dry them off with the sleeves.
- I prefer winter over summer because it’s not as hot meaning I don’t sweat as much. I know people generally love the summer months, but it can be a real nightmare for hyperhidrosis sufferers.
- My best friend and I bought the same pair of sandals and were wearing them together one day when my feet started to sweat and it became really difficult for me to walk in them, which confused her. I was trying to dry my feet with deodorant sheets (a common product here in Japan), and my friend noticed it and she was wondering why my feet were sweating so much.
- When I was walking with my boyfriend, I’d hold his arm instead of holding his hand. I was embarrassed and didn’t feel comfortable telling him I had hyperhidrosis.
- I took theatre and opera courses, and during my dance lessons, I always had a hard time because I was always sweating and my sweat would drip down to the floor, and people around me would notice.
- My wardrobe revolved around my hyperhidrosis—I’d choose the colour of my t-shirts (black) to hide my sweat.
- I even started avoiding communicating with people, as I became increasingly stressed out about my condition. I really felt like I was “different”.
- I thought about changing my career path to something that wouldn’t involve directly interacting with people. As a theatre student, I was thinking of working backstage instead of being on stage. I even thought about maybe starting to work in a bank or office, basically a position where I would be alone at my desk and not be in direct contact with the public.
- One day while I was in university, I called my parents and finally decided to tell them about my hyperhidrosis. Surprisingly, my dad had the same problem! We understood each other, and opening up to him really helped me.
- I’ve even thought about surgery (ETS), but I knew it was really risky so I didn’t go through with it. I’ve also tried a lot of deodorants and aluminum chloride antiperspirants, which didn’t work so well for me.
What is your hyperhidrosis profile (what zones do you sweat from and what is your level: mild, moderate or severe)? Also, would you mind sharing your treatment schedule with us?
I have moderate to severe hyperhidrosis of the hands, feet, and underarms. When I first started my Dermadry treatments, I did 5 treatments per week. After just one week of treatments, I already saw results. I gradually reduced the frequency of treatments, and after about a month now my maintenance treatment is now down to just once a week!
How did you first hear of iontophoresis as a treatment option for excessive sweating? Were you skeptical to try it out?
I’ve already undergone surgery before (not for hyperhidrosis), so I was not really scared to try this treatment. I trusted Dermadry because I watched Maka’s video review on YouTube! When I found her video, it made me really emotional and I just started crying, as I could really relate to her experience. She explained the iontophoresis machine and the treatment so well, that I decided to try it out for myself!
Dermadry seems to be very popular in Japan, can you tell us why you think our device is so popular there? Do you think Japanese people are more ashamed of their excessive sweating?
There is a supportive Japanese community on Twitter dedicated to hyperhidrosis. On Twitter, we can be anonymous (if we want), and there’s no filter so we can freely talk about our experiences with hyperhidrosis without feeling ashamed. I use Twitter as my diary because I wanted to record my Dermadry treatment, and also share my experience with others. People hesitate to share their stories in person, and Twitter is a place where we can share everything.
Many Japanese people are afraid of being “different”, and relating to others who share the same experience gives them relief and helps them to find a solution. It’s great to share your experience and help others with the same condition to discover this treatment option, and I’m glad I can help others, just like Maka’s video helped me.
How has Dermadry changed your life?
Dermadry gave me the confidence to do the things I’ve always wanted to do! I can now wear sandals in the summer, wear my favorite colours, and hold and shake hands without hesitation. It’s just much easier for me to connect with others now. Thank you so much for creating such a great device!