Sweating it: The Serious Implications of Hyperhidrosis
On these hot summer days, we become more self-conscious than usual. We buy more expensive and stronger antiperspirants, we keep checking in secret for sweat marks, and we have a perfume nearby for emergencies. We try to hide from the sun at all costs. And when we run into others who look or smell sweaty, we frown upon them in disapproval. We think to ourselves, “How can a person not take good care of their personal hygiene like that!”
But what if it’s out of their hands? What if it’s hyperhidrosis?
Living with Hyperhidrosis
Yes, there are some people born with this medical condition of sweating way too much, even on the coldest of winter days. Others develop this disorder due to different causes related to the nervous system, endocrine system, infections, or other diseases. However, they got the condition, people living with Hyperhidrosis, the condition of excessive sweating from every area on their bodies, are always shamed and looked down upon with disapproval in our society. But have you ever paused for a second to think about how they live their lives?
Hyperhidrosis affects more than their sweaty clothes. It affects all aspects of their life, and here’s a glimpse:
Interference with Daily Life
People suffering from hyperhidrosis find the most simple of tasks very demanding. Imagine not being able to hold a pen or steer a wheel because your palms are just way too sweaty? They’re unable to maintain a normal lifestyle in anyway. They need to pack an extra change of clothes everywhere they go, they find it very hard to keep any of their hobbies, much less maintain their daily activities like we do without giving it any thought. They can’t even hold a phone and use its screen because, again, their fingers are just too sweaty! Can you imagine how their school/work life might be like for them?
Even more, they spend every minute of their day in the discomfort of their non-ending sweating skin. Their clothes are anything comfortable, starting from their head to toe. This constant wetness makes them more susceptible to skin diseases, as bacteria favours damp places. They’re also always very painfully aware of their sweaty odor.
Lack Of Clinical Support
The worst of all, is that they barely find the support they need. Instead, they’re treated with negligence and frustration by the medical staff, as they’re usually misdiagnosed. They’re often met statements like “You’re wasting our time”.
With the majority of doctors misdiagnosing this condition, how do you think public awareness can be? Many of the patients can’t even find adequate information to deal with the condition.
And so they go to extreme measure to try and keep it under control. They pack extra wears everywhere they go, buy the strongest of antiperspirants, take multiple showers a day, keep towels and tissues at hand, and maintain many other rituals. Not to mention how they need to keep a financial plan to keep this condition under control.
How Hyperhidrosis Affects the Psychosocial Health of its Patients
To add to all of the difficulties they face in their lives, hyperhidrosis takes its own toll on their psychosocial wellbeing too.
The Detrimental Effects on Social Life
How do you think you’d feel if you met a friend and you’re going for a hug, but they can already smell your sweat as soon as they walk into the room? Imagine going out on a date with your months-old-secret-crush, but find them wrinkling their nose in disgust.
This might have sounded superficial, but the impact of hyperhidrosis on the social relationships is very serious. These individuals find it very hard to keep friends or even get into relationships, as any and all signs of intimacy feel like a nightmare for them. They’d rather hide than expose themselves like that. And so they hide from all social situations, as going out for work or getting stuck in meetings is very uncomfortable.
As a result of all of these effects, their mental health is affected greatly. Soon enough, they lose any self-confidence they had left, and they tend to become more isolated and depressed as time goes by. They lack the basic havens of a human being: a social life, an adequate care, and even the opportunity to prove themselves as productive individuals. They’re always living in fear of what others think of them, and eventually, they lose all will to fight back. They become a victim of their own condition, and there’s very little they can do about it.
7 Methods of Treating Hyperhidrosis
The good thing is that, medicine has made it as such there are some ways they can control, even overcome, this condition. The most-commonly used of these methods are:
Normal antiperspirants can do little to help, so they need something stronger than over-the-counter antiperspirants to be much stronger and more efficient. These antiperspirants contain aluminum chloride hexahydrate, and they need to be prescribed by a doctor.
When primary treatments don’t work, some people seek oral medications, like Robinul, to decrease sweating. However, they come with their side effects of having a dry mouth, finding difficulty in urinating, and suffering from a blurred vision.
Botox is known for its aesthetic use in face lifting, but nowadays the relief of sweating with Botox has become the new trend. It’s even been FDA approved. While it’s a bit uncomfortable to inject in the armpits, the Botox treatment can relieve sweating upto 14 months.
Laser can be used to damage the underarm sweat glands, thus stopping sweating altogether. It’s considered safer and with faster recovery than the miraDry way.
This technology uses the electromagnetic energy, specifically the microwaves, to target the sweat glands and destroy them, like laser. It’s been FDA approved, but it usually takes an hour for the procedure to be completed, with anesthesia and cold pressors needed.
These devices have been around for a long time, and they require a bit more maintenance than the previous methods. They temporarily block the sweat ducts’ ability to produce sweat through passing electricity throughout the skin. However, they’re not painful.
If all else fails, there is a surgical procedure known as Thoracic Sympathectomy that takes care of this sweating once and for all. As effective as it is, it’s a high-risk procedure that even the latest technologies can’t ensure its success.
Being Aware of the Effects of Hyperhidrosis
Sometimes we’re able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes when we’ve gone through a similar situation, but that’s not the case with hyperhidrosis. We’re programmed to instantly think of it as disgusting and lack of personal hygiene, when it’s nothing of the sort at all. The only crime that people suffering from hyperhidrosis made is being victim to the condition, and they’re paying for it everyday. How much better can their lives be if we become more aware of their condition and what they’re going through?