The Life Of Someone Who Sweats. All The Time.
The Debrief: Hyperhidrosis is like a tap you can’t turn off
Illustration by Marina Esmeraldo
Yeah, yeah, so you sweat when you run, you sweat when it's a scorching day and you sweat during an intense sex session. But imagine if you were me; Imagine if you broke out in a sweat during the coldest day of winter. That your pits housed patches every time you wore a shirt that even skimmed your underarm. Welcome to my world and hyperhidrosis.
As many GP’s have told me, there’s no guidelines to determine what ‘normal’ sweating is, but working up a fine dew on the coldest day of the year doesn't feel like the norm; especially when you’re sitting on the couch watching an episode of Sons of Anarchy (although Jax does get me hot under the collar). Over the years I’ve learnt to deal with it, I’ve even managed to control it a lot of the time, but growing up with never ending perspiration wasn’t exactly ideal.
When I was at school, I’d wear a baggy jumper in the sweltering heat of summer, for fear one of my friends would spot a patch on my uniform and immediately disown me. I even went so far as to sew shoulder pads into the underarms of my school dress. It caused problems with meeting boys too; one particular party a guy tried the ‘Dirty Dancing arm tickle’ on me. He didn’t ask for my number.
For years I assumed I was the only one in the world who had this issue; but turns out there’s a lot of people in my boat though. In fact, around 30% of the UK population suffer from hyperhidrosis and they’re just the ones who haven’t been too embarrassed to seek help. Unfortunately, for many sufferers, it’s classified information; an embarrassing issue they keep to themselves.
Recently, when I met a girlfriend for coffee and told her I was writing this, she went quiet. Two hours later I received a text message saying, ‘I’m pretty sure I have a sweating problem. I sweat in my sleep, but I’ve never talked about it or even looked for a solution!’ Personally, I spent years searching.
When I was in year 11, I decided to give medication a go, namely, Robinul - normally used to treat abdominal pain - weird, I know - but it worked. It also introduced me to cotton mouth, occasional dizziness, and mood swings that would put Kanye West to shame. Not what I was looking for.
Then, in my early twenties I tried botox. It worked so well, I didn’t sweat… at all! It was like my body tap had been magically turned off and for a good 6 months I could wear and do whatever I wanted - without the fear of looking like I’d been holding poses at bikram for several hours. The problem? It was expensive! Like, really, reaaallllly expensive. So I had to give it up.
Finally, through a lot of trial and error (and spending a shit load of £££ at boots) I found Odaban Antiperspirant Spray, aka, my hero. I only apply it every three days or so and it doesn’t completely stop my sweat glands from working (just partially blocks them) to ensure I don’t end up with compensatory sweat elsewhere.
After all, swapping underarm sweat for arse sweat or anything else, isn’t exactly what I want.
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Illustration: Marina Esmeraldo
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