How does excessive sweating affect your life?
We asked 20 hyperhidrosis sufferers what their worst experience with hyperhidrosis was. Here are their stories.
Those who suffer from hyperhidrosis, are all too familiar with their condition being reduced to “it’s just sweating” or “sweating is normal”. In reality, it is not just “sweating’, but sweating to a point where it interferes with every aspect of your life, and can be physically, emotionally, and mentally draining.
November is Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month, and this year we want to shed some light on the realities and struggles of living with this chronic lifelong condition. Truth is, if you've never struggled with excessive sweating, you'll never truly know the extent of the impacts this condition can have on mental health and wellbeing. However, you can inform yourself and familiarize yourself with the condition by getting a glimpse into the reality and struggles of living with this medical condition.
Familiarize yourself with the stories of 20 hyperhidrosis sufferers below, and help us raise awareness and destigmatize the condition.
My worst experience was in university. I met someone new, they were a friend of a friend, and he put his hand out to shake mine and I just politely said, “nice to meet you, I don’t shake hands”. In an extremely rude and uncalled for tone he put his hand down and said “what? Are you a germaphobe or something?” However, I thought that was such a great excuse that it’s been my go-to ever since to get out of shaking someone’s hand!
I became aware of my hyperhidrosis in grade 2, a teacher made a comment. "les mains sont très sales" which roughly translates to "your hands are dirty." They were not dirty, they were wet. It wasn't until I was in my mid 20's that I had a name for my condition. At 35, it still affects everything I do. From the clothing I wear and the hobbies I participate in.
There are a lot of uncomfortable experiences I have been through considering I had this condition from a young age. The most uncomfortable situation for me was working and being in contact with people. At that time, I had to share loyalty cards to customers and register them online. That made me go through hell and the number of tissues used by me on a daily basis was incredibly overwhelming. Let's not talk about handshakes, paperwork, and computer tasks. Also, not being able to answer a smartphone call says a lot about how my hand sweat would stop a lot of important activities. Just the thought of sweat would make me sweatier. Now I am a 22-year-old woman that is more comfortable with my own skin than ever before.
My worst experience with hyperhidrosis is the embarrassment I experienced throughout high school, with my sweating limiting the type of clothes I felt comfortable wearing. I was constantly trying to hide armpit stains to avoid being judged and seen as gross.
A particularly challenging moment with hyperhidrosis was when I was trying to fill out a form at a front desk and was sweating so much all the pen ink was smudging onto my paper. I ended up being very embarrassed, especially considering the person in front of me was staring straight at my hands in disgust. I am sure he was not aware that I had noticed his disapproval, but he confirmed it when he then shook my hand and immediately dried it off on his trousers with quite a disgusted expression as if I were unclean. Certainly quite a challenging encounter I've experienced. I wished people understood how such a simple task at the post office can be incredibly debilitating with severe palmar hyperhidrosis.
Job interviews were terrifying, meeting new people and shaking hands were terrifying. I've developed terrible anxiety issues due to excessive sweating.
Studying was tough because the paper would get wet. My shoes were always smelly because my feet were sweaty. I was constantly sweating from my hands, feet, and armpits, so the office was always cold.
I've never self-harmed before but I've had numerous thoughts of doing so, including suicidal thoughts.
I've tried Botox shots on my hands, pills, none worked. I went to a psychiatrist and I went on antidepressants because I was so depressed and partially I thought it would fix my anxiety which would lead to less sweating.
After 13 years of suffering, I finally found this product and I'm finally dry! The best money I've ever spent in my life!
1. It's embarrassing when you have to take off your shoes indoors.
2. Fingerprint recognition door lock or mobile phone may not work.
3. In Korea, people often introduce themselves by shaking hands on their first greetings, but often they are unpleasant or look strange.
4. Inconvenient when applying lotion or makeup.
5. Cannot wear colourful clothes
6. Failing to wear high heels due to hyperhidrosis (foot slips forward or shoes peel off).
7. Unpleasant when cooking.
My worst experience with hyperhidrosis would be wearing gloves as a student nurse right now. It is hard putting on gloves when my hands are wet and it gets worse when I'm nervous during practical assessments. It is also embarrassing how sweat is seen through the gloves, making me really self-conscious at times.
Thank you for making iontophoresis convenient and safe for me! I can now undergo treatment in the comfort of my home and at my own time.
I remember when I was 11 years old taking my Grade 5 piano practical examination.
After I played my examination pieces, the white keys on the piano keyboard covered with plenty of small brownish patches everywhere. I was very embarrassed when the examiner took over the piano to test me on the singing portion. I gave up piano due to this condition.
My worst experience would be when I was in school, I would struggle to do my work because my hands would be sweating so much I couldn’t hold my pen properly. the pen would always slip out of my hands which really made it difficult for me to concentrate on my work. I used to keep tissues in my pocket to try and dry my hands.
Once in my first semester in my university I shook hands with my teacher. After shaking hands he gave a weird look and wiped his hand with his pants. It was like he was giving a signal that if your hands were wet why did you shake hands with me. I felt a little embarrassed.
My worst experience is generally that I avoid and miss a lot of experiences due to the condition. I suffer from very sweaty hands and feet that cause me to avoid any social activity when that's happening and after so long it became my normal behavior. I didn't choose this, the thing is when I sweat I can't even stand myself, how can I expect someone else to?
One of my worst experiences with hyperhidrosis was going to a club with my friends in Winter. We were dancing and I started sweating so I found an excuse to leave the club alone because people started staring at me, all whilst struggling to walk in my heels due to my sweaty feet slipping. Happened quite often.
There are so many negative experiences I can remember from having this disorder that it’s hard to choose. There are plenty of other terrible conditions a person could have, but I don’t wish this upon anyone.
I’d say my worst experience happened on Mother’s Day a few years back. I took my mom to a nail salon to get manicures together. It was a hot day and the nail salon was tiny and they had the air conditioner turned off so it was extremely hot even for a normal person without a sweating condition. Of course, my hands started to sweat during the manicure, so I couldn’t focus on having a good time with my mom. I asked the workers at the salon to turn the AC on, but they ignored me and my sweating got worse to the point where my entire arms, legs, and back were sweating too. I was at the maximum level of being uncomfortable and mortified. I finally got them to turn the AC on since they saw the state I was in, but it was too late to help me. To top it all off, the person doing my manicure made a mistake on some of my nails and had to start over on them, making my stay even longer. I haven’t been to that nail salon since.
My personal experiences suffering from this problem have been;
- Not being able to write properly as my hands have been too sweaty.
- Being very nervous about meeting people because I would have to greet them with sweaty hands making it very awkward.
- Never enjoying weddings as I would have to dance with sweaty hands.
I had to stand on the tram once and I was so worried about the bus titling and me hitting someone or just falling. I was barely tall enough to reach the handles above, so I held onto the handle that’s on the head of every seat. After a few minutes I hear small gasps, giggling, and the sound of smothered laughter. My hands were starting to drip and the girls sitting behind me started to notice. I knew immediately. I hear “oh my god,” and “gross,” and it was fully confirmed it was me they were talking about. The moment I had the chance to, I ran off the tram and started crying.
Throughout childhood excessive sweating was still "fairly acceptable" and especially in a hot and humid country like Malaysia, no one really bats an eye on sweat. However, I started to panic as an adult in a work environment. Even in an air-conditioned office workspace, I was still sweating a lot through my palms, and it didn't help that during meetings where my sweat alarms people around me as someone who was nervous, anxious, instead of a confident consultant. The final straw was when I had one of the worst sweaty palm days, and I had to meet an important client. I couldn't establish a firm handshake on our first meeting which ruined his first impression. Only then I decided to dig deep into my research and tried to understand the credibility of iontophoresis treatment.
One of my worst memories of dealing with hyperhidrosis is a few years ago when I had started my ultimate dream job. I had purchased a brand new pair of brown leather dress shoes for work and within a few days, I had completely ruined them. The hyperhidrosis along with the stress of starting a new job caused me to sweat completely through my shoes. I wasn’t able to dry them out properly and the sweat stains were severe enough that I had to throw them away after just a few days. I was completely embarrassed by having to explain to my trainer what happened.
It has never been easy for me since my late teenage years in high school. That was when I discovered that I basically stink. However, it was upon reaching university I started doing my research and realised that I have something called hyperhidrosis. It was embarrassing for me every single day to know that I have underarm excessive sweating and there is nothing I can do about it. No amount of deodorant or antiperspirant can stop hyperhidrosis. I have been going through an embarrassing moment every day of my life for over ten years. I sweat non stop and it is devastating. It puts a dent in your confidence, cripples your self-esteem, and forces you to be anti-social. It is that powerful. The sad thing is that as a female I have the worst one, underarm sweating. One of my most embarrassing moments was when I was going to college. I was in class with my friends laughing and enjoying my day. Shortly after, I got up from my seat to do something. When I returned a short letter was resting on my backpack. I looked around to see who could have left this letter but everyone was busy doing their own thing. I started reading the letter and it was a letter of concern about my odour and advice on how to reduce my sweating. It was embarrassing for me to know that someone else knew my problem. Everything changed for me at that moment. I was so embarrassed, I got up and went to the bathroom and cried my eyes out. I ask God why do I have to sweat so much over and over. Doctors try to tell you to drink more water and eat healthier but that is not the solution to hyperhidrosis. I know I have this problem and I try my best to stop this problem but nothing works and I am still fighting this battle.
My favourite colour is mustard and I am unable to wear a close-fitted dress or shirt that has bright colours because of the sweating. They say colour has a lot to do with your personality and this excessive sweating is forcing me to be who I'm not. I love a cool colour combo like mustard, baby pink, khaki... but I'm compelled to wear dark colours like black, dark grey even when I don't want to. I love fashion so I know how to put my styles and colours together but the sweating throws everything off. My embarrassing moments are dressing up in my heels with my hair and everything else intact and then be sweating like I just ran a marathon. It can be frustrating. It messes with my social life and everything else that comes with being sociable for me.
I had quite a lot of terrible experiences, but probably the worst one is noticing an older woman see my hands and instantly looking repulsed and move away from me as if I were diseased. This was probably only a few seconds long, but it felt like I was watching it in slow motion.
Share your Hyperhidrosis Experience
Hyperhidrosis is common, but your experience is unique. Share your story to raise awareness of hyperhidrosis in the comments and by using #MyHyperhidrosisStory and #KnowSweat2021 on social media!
Learn more about hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis is a common chronic condition characterized by excessive sweating. It is thought to affect approximately 1 in 20 people, so chances are that you or someone you know may suffer from it, though you may not even know it as people often go to great lengths to hide their sweating to prevent embarrassment.
Hyperhidrosis often leads to excessive sweating in the hands, feet and underarms. Hyperhidrosis is generally diagnosed when the level of sweating someone experiences is far greater than what is needed to regulate body temperature, which is sweat's primary function in the human body.
No cure exists for hyperhidrosis, more commonly and simply known as excessive sweating, but there is a wide array of readily available treatments, including antiperspirants, injections, and iontophoresis treatment. To learn more about how iontophoresis can help you or a loved one get their sweating under control and regain their freedom, click here, and discover Dermadry's iontophoresis machine range below!