Hyperhidrosis and The Realities of Living with Excessive Sweating

Living with hyperhidrosis can be challenging. The contents of this article may seem like too much personal information about bodily functions for some people, however, I feel that hyperhidrosis is something that is not talked about a lot in the chronic illness community. We need to delve into the TMI (too much information) realm to discuss it.

I used to think that I was a gross freak of nature for sweating so much, but after connecting with other people who experience a similar thing I realized that it is more common than I thought.


What is hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is abnormally excessive sweating that is not always related to heat or exercise. Someone with hyperhidrosis may sweat so much that it soaks their clothes and drips down their face and hands. People normally sweat when they exercise, are hot, are anxious or under stress. The sweat that accompanies hyperhidrosis far exceeds this normal level of sweating. Hyperhidrosis can also be made worse by factors such as heat, exercise, sweat, stress or anxiety.

Primary Focal (Essential) Hyperhidrosis

The most common form of hyperhidrosis is primary focal (essential) hyperhidrosis. This occurs when the nerves responsible for signalling your sweat glands malfunction and become overactive. This type of hyperhidrosis usually affects the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet, and in some cases your face. There is no determined cause for this type of hyperhidrosis, however, it may be hereditary as it runs in families.

Secondary Hyperhidrosis

Secondary hyperhidrosis occurs when it is a symptom of another medical issue. It is more likely to cause widespread excessive sweating than primary hyperhidrosis. Conditions that may result in excessive sweating can include:

  • Thyroid issues
  • Diabetes
  • Infections
  • Some types of cancer
  • Heart issues
  • Nervous system disorders

Some medications can also cause excessive sweating.

Experiencing Fibromyalgia with Hyperhidrosis

My secondary hyperhidrosis is caused by my severe fibromyalgia, which is a central nervous system disorder. While some of the medications can cause secondary hyperhidrosis, my experiences with excessive sweating began in childhood, long before I started taking these specific medications, but after I started suffering from chronic pain.

Of course, weight can impact how much you sweat, and I am overweight. However, as said above, I have been experiencing this excessive sweating since before I was even a teenager, and I weighed nothing close then to what I weigh now.

How Hyperhidrosis Impacts Social Situations

Work: If your job is in any way stressful and you deal with hyperhidrosis, you may find you sweat a lot at work. If you work around others, such as in a customer relations role or in the office, the excess sweating may make you anxious about how others may perceive you. This anxiety may impact your productivity if it becomes severe. Hyperhidrosis may also impact your opportunity of gaining new employment if it becomes problematic during job interviews. Since sweating is usually a sign of anxiety, even the calmest person with hyperhidrosis may look extremely anxious to the interviewer. This could have a severe impact as to whether you are chosen for the job. Shaking hands can also be a source of anxiety particularly if you have primary focal hyperhidrosis which causes sweaty palms.

Night clubs: As a young adult, every once in awhile I like to go to a night club and dance with my friends. Even though I find this extremely draining, I like to experience just a few hours of normality. Many nightclubs are crowded and warm. Hello Extreme Flare! It can be difficult to enjoy myself knowing that I have sweat visibly dripping down my face. This can also impact my chances of meeting new people and starting new relationships. , The excessive sweating may cause people to judge me before they get to know me. This is definitely a disadvantage for the single girl like me.

Any social occasion: Hyperhidrosis can impact any situation. Going to a café, a theme park, the beach, the movies and attending school are all different for a person that has to consider excessive sweat. Hyperhidrosis and extra sweating can become a source of anxiety at any time, but when it’s flaring especially when it’s flaring.

Tips and Tricks for Coping With Hyperhidrosis and Excessive Sweating

Now that I’ve listed the ways hyperhidrosis may negatively impact social situations, I will now tell you my tips and tricks for coping with hyperhidrosis and living with excessive sweating that I have developed throughout my own experience.

Waterproof Makeup

The facial sweating that is the result if hyperhidrosis can ruin any makeup you may be wearing. I personally love wearing makeup every once in a while for nights out or on a day I feel like dressing up. Unfortunately, if I’m not careful with what products I use my makeup can end up dripping down my face. Utilizing a good primer and a waterproof foundation and concealer are a good start. Make sure your mascara and eyeliner is waterproof if you enjoy using those products. You can even find inexpensive brands at your local retailer and online. Many brands meet these suggestions.

Dressing in Light Layers

Very many people live in a place where the weather can go from cold to hot within a few hours. Dressing in light layers is the way to go. If you also suffer from temperature control issues spring layering is good strategy for you, too. Utilize cardigans because not only are they light but they also don’t take up too much room in a bag while out and about. If it is chilly in the morning wear a t-shirt and a cardigan over top. It is easy to take take it off later on in the day.

Portable Fans


This may seem a bit extreme, but if you’re prone to over-heating on a regular basis like I am, a portable fan can be invaluable. I got one for $8 from The Warehouse, and I love it. It’s rechargeable by USB and has multiple levels of intensity. This would be perfect for days at university during summer, long days of traveling, or days when you’re spending a lot of time outside in the heat.

Apply Multiple Layers of Antiperspirant

With secondary hyperhidrosis the sweat under your arms can become excessive and can be very hard to manage. Recently I have started using multiple layers of antiperspirant using two different types and I find this helps well for summer. I use a cream antiperspirant under my arms first and then a spray antiperspirant on top. While this does not completely stop underarm hyperhidrosis it does make it more manageable. There are some more aggressive options you may discuss with your health provider in some places.

Body Wipes and Shower-less Body Wash

If you have hyperhidrosis and live with excessive sweating in addition to chronic illness then managing your hygiene can be very difficult. Bathing, for example, can be very difficult for those who experience symptoms such as chronic pain and fatigue. Some days many Chargie’s do not have the energy to shower. Other days I may end up perspiring a lot requiring multiple showers. In these cases it is convenient to use deodorant body wipes or shower-less body wash. Deodorant wipes are targeted especially at lessening odor. Shower-less body wash can be used without washing it off and do the same thing. 

Many people like to use baby wipes in the place of deodorant body wipes. I find that baby wipes don’t work very well in comparison. Products specifically targeted at killing sweat caused germs and odor do a much better job, and I find that body wipes are more moist with product, therefore you end up using less wipes.

When you experience hyperhidrosis and living with excessive sweating it can feel very isolating. However, there are things you can do that make coping with it a bit easier. It was also helpful for me to learn that isn’t something that I go through alone. Surrounding yourself will people who understand your condition can also make a huge difference. Having a non-judgmental environment can become your social safe space. I know that when I start sweating excessively my close friends won’t judge me for it. Therefore I never become anxious about it around them.

Amy Clements is a 20-year-old who has lived with chronic pain, the result of Fibromyalgia, since childhood. In her teens she was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in her wrist, which was the result of a netball injury. Amy lives in New Zealand and studies Business part-time at University. She enjoys reading novels and writing. She especially enjoys writing about her experience with chronic illness.

Tips from fellow Chargies during these stressful times

Another article about coronavirus? Yes, but this is a good one.

We have asked our community members: ” Coronavirus is on top of everyone’s mind. What tips would you give your fellow Chargies during these stressful times? “

Here’s what they said.

Don’t panic!

1. Don’t panic. It is more likely we will catch the Flu, Strep or Stomach virus before CONVID-19.

2. Take things such as Vitamin C or Eldenberry (if you can) gummies to help immune systems.

3. Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.

4. Wash your hands, we all do it anyways. Use hand sanitizer and if you feel like you need to, wear a mask.

5. If you have any symptoms contact your doctor or go to the ER ASAP.

6. Protect your mental health. Stay off the new media sites, turn your TV off if you need to, stay off social media if you need to as well. Protecting your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Limit your time/exposure if it puts your mental health in jeopardy. In the end, this will literally blow over in the next few months and then it will be old news.

Panicking and stressing out will cause us to have immune flares and make us worse. Live your life and if you really need to, stay home if you’re able to. However, this Chargie has decided to live her life, take precautions and keep calm and carry on. According to John Hopkins more people are recovering, the virus is coming under control and things will turn around pretty soon.

Laura replied. To which she got comments like:

Most of that is correct however we’re not supposed to be taking anything to stimulate the auto immune system such as Elderberry and echinacea. 😀 plus you are supposed to call the county health department before going to a doctor or ER if you have coronavirus symptoms so that you do not contaminate their areas.


It’s much more easily spread and has a higher mortality rate than the flu. Most of all, it requires a higher rate of medical intervention because of the related pneumonia. As a population, we have built up an immunity to strains of the flu. We also have vaccines and Tamiflu. We don’t have a population with immune systems built up against SARS much less COVID 19. I know people who are able to isolate, even with young children. I live with 2 college students who are now home & a husband in the military. I take immunosuppressant drugs… so I will be shocked if my family doesn’t get it.

I’m not panicked, but am realistic.


Don’t touch anything

“Something small but thought I’d mention it” said Jenny. “If you go out to a place that has a kiosk for appointment check in, ordering a meal, etc… bring a stylus with you and use that instead of touching the screen. Bring and use your own pen when signing receipts, checking into doctor appointments, etc… in public”

Alyx adds: It’s been told by the CDC that up to 80% of Americans will catch one of two strains. Don’t freak out trying not to catch it, because it’s all but inevitable for us. Wash your hands, shower frequently, and stay indoors if you can.

Carry hand sanitizer everywhere you go and if you have to go to the store, use the wipes to clean the shopping carts. Says Barbara

Wash your hands alot, dont touch your face, and stay home if you are sick. For us chargies I would add, stay home unless you need to go out


Take care of your mental health

Keep calm, and listen to the Moody Blues. That is what I will be doing as often as possible.


Maria comments: “Remember that panicking (and excessive worry on top of whatever illnesses/chronic conditions you have) weakens the immune system. Watch a comedy show, curl up with a book you’ve been meaning to read, watch a movie, do gentle stretches, cuddle your furbabies.”

Melody advises: ” Go for a hike ,enjoy nature, listen to the birds, look for signs of spring, and new beginnings. Breath in the fresh air and be in this moment” This is obviously only possible if you live in an area that is not in complete lockdown.

“Focus on what you can control. Helping others feels good so maybe buy generic (or other cost saving measures) and make a donation to the food bank. Try to limit exposure to the news. “


Do you have any tips to share? Would love to read them in the comments.

Stay safe everyone