How Hyperhidrosis Affects Quality of Life
For the average person, sweating is a normal response to certain stimuli to cool the body. Whether experiencing hot weather, completing a challenging workout, or feeling slightly nervous before a presentation at work, we come to expect and even depend on sweating to keep us regulated. For other individuals, however, episodes of sweating happen unexpectedly, excessively, and with seemingly no cause. These individuals suffer from a condition called hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis effects go well beyond just a simple annoyance, and instead have a serious impact on quality of life. From shame, severe embarrassment, to low self-esteem, battling hyperhidrosis can be debilitating when left untreated.
Types of Hyperhidrosis
Before diving into the specific effects hyperhidrosis has on quality of life, it’s important to understand the various types of hyperhidrosis – as they can each impact the lives of sufferers in unique ways. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that typically occurs on the head, underarms, hands, feet, and face. This form of hyperhidrosis tends to present during childhood. While there may be a genetic component linked to primary focal hyperhidrosis, there is not a true known medical cause for why individuals experience this condition.
Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis can be linked to specific medications or medical conditions, and can cause excessive sweating all over the body or in a single location. Some of the most common causes of secondary generalized hyperhidrosis include diabetes, hyperthyroidism, menopause, anxiety, and alcohol abuse – to name a few.
While the causes of each type of hyperhidrosis differs, both can seriously impact quality of life.
Hyperhidrosis Effects on Social Life
The most commonly reported hyperhidrosis effects are those that impact social life. Those with this condition struggle to feel completely comfortable in social situations, for fear that others will notice their condition – resulting in unwanted attention and embarrassment. For those who experience excessive sweating of the hands, handshaking can be a particular source of hyperhidrosis embarrassment. Even when meeting someone new, they will try their best to avoid shaking hands, afraid that their cold, wet, or slippery hands will be off putting. Individuals who experience excessive sweating of the underarms similarly experience discomfort in social situations, often obsessing over whether or not others in the room can see that they are sweating through their clothes. They may feel compelled to change their clothes frequently, or may go as far as to avoid public locations or social gatherings altogether simply to avoid any embarrassment.
Individuals with hyperhidrosis often find that they are limited in the clothes they wear, opting for options that can help them best hide their sweating. They may stick to wearing colors like black or white to ensure sweat stains don’t show. They will likely also opt for light, flowy, and breathable materials that are less likely to cling to the body. People with excessive sweating of the feet tend to gravitate towards thick socks made of wool or cotton to absorb excess sweat and increase the longevity of their shoes. Unfortunately, hyperhidrosis and social anxiety go hand in hand, with many individuals being forced to develop coping mechanisms to avoid uncomfortable social situations.
Emotional and Psychological Effects
Over time, the impact of hyperhidrosis can have a serious impact on the emotional and psychological states of those living with the condition. A shocking 90% of individuals with hyperhidrosis report that their excessive sweating has negatively impacted their emotional well-being. Further, over 50% of individuals with hyperhidrosis report a lack of confidence and low self-esteem due to their hyperhidrosis.
Depression and anxiety are common hyperhidrosis quality of life effects, leading some to require psychological care from a doctor. Individuals may be prescribed antidepressants or other medications to help manage the mental health issues caused by excessive sweating.
Hyperhidrosis Effects on Professional Life
Hyperhidrosis embarrassment often extends into individuals’ professional lives. In fact, many report that they are not able to be fully productive at work because of the shame and embarrassment they feel about their excessive sweating. They may avoid pursuing a new job for fear job interviews, during which nerves and anxiety could increase sweating. Additionally, they may avoid job opportunities if they know they might be required to perform presentations or have in-person visits with clients.
Not only can hyperhidrosis diminish a person’s drive to pursue career advancement opportunities, they may also struggle with seemingly simple daily tasks required of the job. For example, those with hyperhidrosis might find it incredibly challenging to type on a keyboard, or they may be unable to handle important documents without leaving behind dampness. Also, certain manual labor jobs can be made incredibly dangerous as a result of excessive sweating.
Hyperhidrosis Effects on Recreational Activities
In some cases, hyperhidrosis can limit the recreational activities a person can participate in. For example, sports or leisure activities that require the use of hands can be difficult or even impossible for someone who suffers from excessive sweating of the hands. Similarly, individuals with excessive sweating of the hands may be unable to play musical instruments because of their inability to securely grip the instrument and its components.
Hyperhidrosis Effects in Intimate Situations
Many with hyperhidrosis find it uncomfortable to engage in intimate relationships. In fact, a recent study found that almost 60% of individuals living with hyperhidrosis found that their condition significantly impacted their ability to develop personal relationships. Over 30% of those surveyed reported that their excess sweating had a negative impact on their ability to engage in sexual activities.
Economic Impact of Hyperhidrosis
Those suffering from hyperhidrosis will find that they frequently need to replace sweat damaged articles of clothing and shoes much more often than the average person. This can add up to a significant amount of money throughout the year that can put a strain on the family’s budget.
Treating Hyperhidrosis with the Center for Hyperhidrosis
At the Center for Hyperhidrosis, you are not alone. We understand the true toll of negative hyperhidrosis quality of life, and are here to help. Our team of experts have helped thousands of individuals treat and manage their excessive sweating through the use of a variety of trusted treatment options. Contact us to discuss your specific case, and we’ll help match you to a treatment that fits your unique needs.