Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (Really!)
Hyperhidrosis is the pits!
...And the hands and the back and the thighs and the feet. Even if you're in a cool environment you may find you still sweat all over, even though the process of sweating is solely to regulate our body temperatures from extreme heat and uncomfortable surroundings.
How do I know? I have hyperhidrosis. And it stinks. Sometimes literally.
Why do I sweat so much?!
According to Wiki, Focal hyperhidrosis is found in almost 9 million Americans, affects both men and women equally, and most commonly occurs among people aged 25–64 years. I, on the other hand found that it blossomed at the onset of puberty for me. I was in the sixth grade when my body's autonomy took a turn for the worse when it came to sweating. My mother told me it was normal to go through such changes. Body odor, sure. Niagara Falls under my armpits? I wasn't convinced. I find it likely that you or your loved one has probably had this ever since your adolescent whimsy was replaced with text books and bathroom passes.
Wiki also explains that about 30–50% have another family member afflicted, implying a genetic predisposition. I don't know of anyone in my family has hyperhidrosis except for my young brother, who is almost a carbon copy of myself in regards to medical conditions.
I've got a few triggers. I would say my hyperhidrosis is emotionally linked the majority of the time. If I get excited, frightened, nervous and especially angry, I'll soon literally be able to feel my sweat glands open up and release the flood of salty, ammonia, sugary water that will clearly show under my armpits and ruins my clothes.
Your diet is definitely going to change the way you sweat as well once you've entered puberty. Energy drinks are going to react differently and you'll find that the energy you used to expend freely is now stored as you're physical lifestyle is truncated into a more sedentary routine. Caffeine, even just a little, will certain effect your sweating negatively. All that energy has to go somewhere! You'll find that you lose a lot of water that needs to be replaced. Always stay hydrated no matter what your glands seem to be telling you. You're not secreting excess water, it's just a bit out of balance. Dehydrating yourself will not decrease the amount of perspiration, it will just make you more irritable and sweat more.
Unlike what society might have taught you about sweating, it has nothing to do with being out of shape or overweight when it strictly comes to hyperhidrosis. All shapes and sizes of people are afflicted and this is sadly one of the stigmas that people have to deal with in their social environment. Not much is talked about when it comes to this condition in the grand scheme of things, so bravo to you for become more aware and cultured!
What can I do?!
Did you know?
Paris Hilton, Halle Berry, Ewan McGregor, Marc Anthony and so many other celebrities have to deal with this condition. Although it's merely a cosmetic affliction with no affects on your health and well being, this can be very troublesome and embarrassing for preteens and adults alike. You're in good company!
Had I had the genius of the modern computer and internet engines, I could have saved myself a lot grief in treating this affliction. My quick and only fix was a light jacket or hoodie of the darkest shade I could find. Year round. My teachers would often ask why I dress so densely in the spring and I just explained that "I get cold." Looking back now, I think they all understood what I meant by that. Adults can be really understanding like that, but, I'm a bit bias now at my age. But worry not! There are a few things that you can do.
It would seem that there's a cosmetic surgery for practically anything you can think of. Excess
sweating is no exception. Television personality and actress Kelly Ripa has been reported as being a candidate of the procedure. A few injections of medical grade Botox by a licensed professional seems to do the trick, but I'm not sure the risks outweigh the benefits. Maybe that's because I have no interest in Botox injections right into my arm pits. Ever.
Please read more about it (before you even entertain the notion) here: Botox Severe Sweating
Back in the medieval times, women would use "rags" as feminine hygiene items. Why not for your pits? Guy or girl, there's nothing better than a nice cloth rag to provide a nice absorbent layer between your pits and your 60$ shirt you got at the mall that you never wear because of your sweating.... It's like I'm in your head, isn't it? It's discrete and can be replaced and changed throughout the day and keeps you much more comfortable than having soggy clothing.
Don't use toilet paper, napkins or paper towels if you can help it. Your armpit monsters will make easy work of them and you'll have paper bits absolutely everywhere- sometimes they can be hard to wash out of your clothes! Also, do think about having an extra stick of deodorant on hand if you don't already. You may need reapply between changes.
Please note that there are some sweat shields and pads that have been soaked or coated with antiperspirants that you may or may not have a negative reaction to.
Here's a super weird, but oddly feasible product I found on Ebay, if you're ballin' like that.
Deodorants and Aluminum Chloride
At the height of my high school awkwardness, i reigned supreme with my stifling outfits and excuses I made for not raising my hand very high in class. That darned tennis elbow.
My mom suggested asking the doctor about possible treatments. I didn't think there was anyone else on Earth who understood the struggles as even my best friends sometimes made fun of it. However, my pediatrician had heard about a topical medication called Aluminum Chloride, which can be used to help control excessive sweating.
The chemical itself may have helped just a little, but where it failed was how it's introduced to the skin. It was recommended to be dabbed directly onto the afflicted area and let dry. If you're a female who shaves, this could prove very painful no matter how long ago it was. Once it's dried, it's suggested to put some kind of plastic wrap or cloth around it to keep it dry and un-chaffed. Chaffing is the worst part of it. The entire time your sweat free, you're dry as a bone; the entire time your sweating- even just a little- your on fire.
In my opinion I would forgo this topical medication altogether. My experience with it is serendipitous as best. I found that if I thought it was working, then it worked, but that's only because it instilled a confidence in me that I had never had, therefore keeping all the anxiety and stress out of my mind and leading me to sweat more.
If you're interested in checking it out, here's a current market equivalent found on Amazon.
All Good Things Must Come to and End
And as we both know, Hyperhidrosis is not a fun thing. My pediatrician advised me that this should get better if not stop altogether when I exited puberty. I didn't believe her. But she was right. For the most part.
Exiting my teens and entering my twenties was one of the most stressful times of my life. I was working hard on getting my livelihood in place and couldn't be bothered with sweaty pits all the time. It was almost like a switch went off in my physiology and I started to notice that I didn't sweat as much as I used to. Everything was starting to regulate including that aspect.
I still sweat. I sweat when I work out, when I drink a lot of coffee, when my superiors enrage me- sometimes while hardcore blogging! You'll always sweat more than you should if you've got hyperhidrosis, but your hormones won't be in control anymore. It will all be up to how you handle your mental and physical stress levels.
And for Pete's sake reach out to me with comments and questions! 'S what I'm here for.