There are eight million people in the United States who suffer from hyperhidrosis. These people can sweat as much as four to five times more than other people who do not have this problem. This is considered to be a leading cause of excessive sweating. The most common cause of excessive sweating is referred to as primary focal hyperhidrosis and impacts between 1% and 3% of the general population.
Facts about hyperhidrosis:
- People who suffer from this usually are healthy and have no other serious medical issues.
- Because it can cause a decrease in the quality of life for people who suffer from it, it has been called a “silent handicap.”
- There is some evidence that there may be a genetic component to this condition.
- Some medications or neurological conditions can cause what is called secondary hyperhidrosis.
- People who have this may suffer more infections on their skin due to the heavy sweating.
- There are several hyperhidrosis treatments. These include surgery, injections with Botox, and medications.
The Daily Nation profiled a person who suffers from the condition, Gladys Nijru. She says that this has been a problem for her for as long as she can remember. She says that she was about seven years old when she found other children did not sweat as much as she did. She says the other children were mean to her. To keep her books and area clean, her teachers made her always have a towel and bucket of water, which set her apart from the other kinds her class. They started calling her “the cold one” because her hands were cold all of the time.
When Nijru’s mother took her to a doctor, they were told this was something that she would “grow out of” but she never did. He did not really understand the cause of excessive sweating she was suffering. The teasing she endured made her withdraw and her self-esteem suffered.
Because Nijru experiences the sweating from a number of areas of her body including her feet, underarms, and palms, she plans out everything she will do, every day. This change the way she selects the clothes she will wear and never wears white. It is also hard for her to wear open-toed shoes. Any open shoes have a tendency to slide off her wet feet. On the other hand, closed shoes can give her feet a bad odor. This makes her uncomfortable going to other people’s homes.
While she is not sure what her cause of excessive sweating is, it has had an impact of just about every part of their lives. When she graduated from high school, she wanted to go to college and eventually become a lawyer. She changed her mind and went, instead, into environmental science because the idea of spending all of her time inside and working with papers seemed like an unpleasant idea. She has just started her sophomore year in college. She studies at Kenyatta University.
For Nijru, dating is also a challenge. She hates having to tell people about the cause of excessive sweating that she has to deal with. She also finds it unpleasant to hold hands with someone she is dating.
Recently, Nijru found a support group in her area called “Hyperhidrosis Awareness andndash; The Perfect Imperfection.” It was founded and is run by Martin Kiman, whom Nijru met by accident. Before she found this group, her main way to deal with her sweating constantly was to just keep to herself. It has meant a lot to her to talk to other people who have the same problem she does, something she had never done before. She says it was great to meet people who have the same condition but have normal lives.
In addition to going to the support group, Nijru has also found help online where there are a number of forums for people to talk about their problem. Topics discussed are often ways to prevent underarm sweat and the importance of drinking enough water. Hyperhidrosis can often lead to dehydration if care is not taken.
Nijru says, “They are forums where I get to laugh at myself.” She also says she has learned of other treatments and the cause of excessive sweating.