Hyperhidrosis. You’re probably wondering what the hell is that. Well hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating, more than the average person and often at random times not spurred by anything. It sounds absolutely ridiculous but it is an actual condition and I have it. Yep I just sweat a lot, and I mean A LOT. Let me tell you how I figured this all out. I was at the dermatologist getting a wart frozen on my hand. When she went to look at my hand, she stopped for a second and said “Do you always have sweaty palms”. I always have had clammy hands and I didn’t realize it was something that is different from a lot of people. Also, I grew up on a tropical island 9 degrees north of the equator. Everyone sweats all the time. So she stopped for a second and looked more at my hands and said “You have palmar hyperhidrosis” and I was like “Wait what?” I was so confused because I didn’t realize that this was a thing. So yeah, I was just told that I had sweaty palms. It was so incredibly weird but it made sense. As I grew older, it became more obvious to me that sweating might be a problem for me. I tended to sweat all the time, no matter the temperature. If I walked outside, I would immediately start sweating. Almost all of my shirts have sweat stains under my arms and no deodorant would be able to stop it. My palms and soles of my feet sweat all the time. I can walk outside with my dog for two minutes and have sweat dripping from my neck, forehead, chest, legs and pretty much everywhere else. I sit in a leather seat of a car and I am definitely leaving a sweat stain. I started looking into hyperhidrosis and what I can do to stop this. I found some interesting things. Most people sweating is focused in a specific area like the palms or underarms. While I had a lot of sweat in those areas, I found that I was still sweating a lot in many places, especially my neck and face. Another interesting thing is I occasionally have major sweat at night. That is something that has been happening since I was a child. I would wake up in the middle of the night to find my entire body drenched in sweat and sticky. It is extremely uncomfortable and I started to sleep on a towel in the hopes I could save my sheets a bit. Most people with focal hyperhidrosis do not sweat in their sleep, but secondary generalized hyperhidrosis do. This is different from what a lot of people have as it is caused by an underlying issue like medications or other conditions. I looked into it and found that my anxiety medicine contributes to it. Now, I was told I sweat a lot before I began taking any SSRis but everything was bumped up to a whole new level once I began the medication. Now, I know that for the time being, I am not going to change my medication as it is best for me now. So I just have to learn to live as a sweaty girl.
It is something that most people don’t consciously think about unless they are outside, but sweating is something that is on my mind a lot. It has affected how I live. I have become very self conscious about it because I can’t avoid sweating when I go anywhere. If I am outside for more than a few seconds, I am going to have sweat stains on my shirt. Most of the time, I have sweat stains before I leave the house, just from getting ready. It sucks but I have tried everything to stop it but it won’t. Because I work in an office, I can’t wear tank tops that have less stains so I am almost always wearing a jacket the second I get into the office to attempt to hide these stains. I am very careful when shaking someones hands as I don’t want them to know that my palms are just clammy. Since my feet sweat a lot, flats can begin to smell, especially if I walk a lot. I have had to buy new shoes every few months as the old ones are just unwearable. If I am in a dress or skirt, I pay attention to any seats I will be sitting on as I will probably leave butt sweat on it as gross as it sounds. It is something I always have to be aware of so as not to gross people out. Also, I live in Arizona, aka the hottest state, but it’s a “dry heat” Well guess what. I am still sweating. If I spend more than 5 minutes outside, I will be sweating. In the summer, I can’t walk my dog no matter what time of day without having sweat dripping down my neck and face. It’s disgusting. When I work out, my clothes get drenched. I don’t have that glow some people do when they work out. I look like I just got out of the pool. People don’t even realize how much I think about this on a day to day basis. As something that is so normal and healthy, it is still looked at as embarrassing. I can’t help it but I am ashamed every time I walk in with sweat rings or shake someone’s hands when they are moist.
So yeah. I am a sweaty person. It is uncomfortable and inconvenient but that is my life. So next time you have an inkling to make a comment about someone’s sweating, realize that maybe they can’t control it and already feel bad about it. Don’t make it worse.