The following is a guest post from ‘fluxrider7’. A young and promising blogger who suffers with hyperhidrosis and wishes to help others. I spotted this and asked for permission to use his post on this site – to which he kindly agreed. He will be looking to set up his own blog soon but in the meantime please check him out on Reddit and have a read of this.
Hi guys this will be a LONG post but I think you will find the information helpful. Note that I don’t promise to cure your symptoms, I am simply presenting what has worked for me. Hopefully it will help you too. I have no science or research to back up any of my claims, only personal experience from dealing with this condition since I was in high school.
I was about 17 when I first began experiencing severe palmar hyperhidrosis and when I was about 19 I stumbled on a way to prevent 90% of my sweating, to the point where I could confidently shake someone’s hand.
Senior year of high school I began noticing that my hands and feet would sweat for no reason at all. It seemed to spring up out of nowhere and began to ruin my social life. I was well liked so no one said anything to my face but I knew people would mention it behind my back and would grimace when they shook my hand. It was so bad that If I was taking notes the page would being to get soaked through. I began to get very self conscious and would try to do anything to stay dry. Carrying paper towels in my pocket, frequently washing hands, spraying deodorant on etc.. All these things just made me think about it more and increased my anxiety which would actually make me sweat more.
I used to love going out but now all I could think of was how awkward it would be to shake my friends hands when I got there and when I was leaving. I spent several months obsessively researching on the internet and trying to find a cure, but to no avail. I was getting pretty depressed and my social life was taking a hit. A couple months later a friend who actually suffered from the same condition suggested I try Drysol, a prescription antiperspirant. I ended up trying it and it worked pretty well for me. It prevented 85% of my symptoms which allowed me to lead a social life again. I ended up having to use Drysol only 1-2x per week to maintain the dry hands.
For those who have read up until this point, please DO NOT conclude that the point of the post is to get an rx for Drysol. THAT’S NOT IT. The following paragraphs will go into some more thoughts on the issue and eventually implementing other strategies as well.
A couple years later I got really sick. I was desperate to feel better so I made some changes in my lifestyle. I began eating very cleanly and eating fermented foods. I stopped drinking, and smoking and cut out caffeine. I began meditating daily, stayed mindful throughout the day, and did yoga/relaxation exercises.
After about 2 months of this my sweating pretty much went away even in nervous situations. Even without the drysol my hands were dry. This really got me thinking and led me to 2 conclusions: My body which was naturally relaxed had become very sensitive to stress hormones from drinking, drugs, daily stress, and less than optimal gut health from antibiotic use. This last bit is important, there’s a lot of new research coming out showing the relation ship between gut health and our brain/body.
All these factors increased the amount of stress hormones in my body. Stress hormones lead to the fight or flight response and will cause you to sweat. Having constantly elevated stress hormones basically made my hands sweat all the time. And once they start sweating it’s very hard to remain relaxed mentally. You begin to worry, and more stress hormones are released continuing the cycle.
So, if I could time travel and tell my younger self everything I learned, I would tell him these things:
Accept your hyperhidrosis. What if this was forever? Is it really the worst thing in the world? Sure you might never get a girlfriend, and interviews would go terribly but you can still be happy despite these things. Sitting there thinking about how much your life sucks won’t make it any better. Try to stop thinking about how negative the situation is and try to do something positive. This step is important because it gives you some perspective. Someone out there with cancer would LOVE to trade places with you. So now understanding this, you can relax mentally and stop trying to “cure it”. This means you stop always being on the internet trying to find that silver bullet to fix it. So accept your situation and try to work with it. Learn to program, play an instrument, paint, whatever you gotta do. When you accept it, spend your time somewhere positive and worry less about how this is ruining your life you’ll decrease your stress hormones and this will cause less sweating.
Cut out all the shit. No cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine (not even tea or coffee). No exceptions. Try to get 8 hours of sleep every night. This is very important.
Read the book “The Perfect Health Diet” by Dr’s Jaminet and start eating better. The title is a bit gimmicky but the science in the book is sound. You don’t have to be a health freak, I follow the 80/20 rule. Avoid drinking chlorinated water and incorporate fermented foods to help the gut’s beneficial bacteria. Kefir, Kimchi, and Sauerkraut.. MAKE THEM AT HOME!!! The store bought ones are sterile.
Meditation and mindfulness in every moment. The book “Mindfulness in plain english” is a good intro to meditation. Being mindful in every moment has helped me even more. I stumbled upon the concept by reading “The power of now” by Eckhart Tolle. I’m actually not a big fan of this book but it was the first book where I learned about mindfulness in day to day life, not just when meditating.
I think drysol was a good idea as it helped break the constant cycle. It helped me live a normal life instead of worrying all the time. But it was only a band aid solution. Once I addressed the root causes I didn’t even need it any more.
Misc: Look into yoga and the Relaxation Response by Dr. Herbert Benson for more reduction in stress levels.
I hope this helped some of you.
If anyone has their own experiences to share or you find this post useful then please let us know at Sweaty Solutions by commenting on the post at the bottom of the page, or by emailing me direct on firstname.lastname@example.org