Of Sweat and Stigma

Everyone sweats. Whether it is breaking a sweat at the gym or walking to work on a hot day, perspiration is the body’s natural cooling mechanism. But for about 5% of the population, sweating can be abnormal, excessive and uncontrollable. 

That’s due to a condition called hyperhidrosis.

People living with hyperhidrosis overproduce sweat, sometimes to the point that it soaks their shirt or drips from their hands.  Yet many go untreated due to stigma or a perceived lack of treatment options. This November, during Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month, advocates are committed to correcting misconceptions like these – and to spreading awareness about the condition.

What do people and advocates want the public to understand about hyperhidrosis?

1. It’s not just sweat.

Hyperhidrosis levies both a physical and emotional toll on people.  After all, society views sweat and body odor negatively. At business meetings or social gatherings, for instance, people with hyperhidrosis may feel isolated or embarrassed.  Their unease can undermine productivity, confidence and their ability to forge relationships with those around them.

2. Deodorant isn’t enough.

Most people take precautions such as wearing deodorant to manage normal body odor and antiperspirant to diminish day-to-day sweating.  For people with hyperhidrosis, however, over-the-counter deodorants and antiperspirants are not enough. In fact, even prescription antiperspirant is often unable to control the debilitating and embarrassing sweating experienced with hyperhidrosis. 

Failure of prescription antiperspirants and other medications can leave people discouraged or feeling as if they’ve exhausted their treatment options.  Other effective treatments do exist, however, in the form of injections to block nerves that activate sweat glands or even sweat gland destruction.

3. No one should have to live life on the sidelines. 

People with hyperhidrosis should feel empowered with the knowledge that they are not alone and that there are treatment options that can help.  This Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month, help spread knowledge about hyperhidrosis and available treatment options.

Use #KnowSweat2019 to join the online conversation about hyperhidrosis this month, or visit sweathelp.org to learn more.

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