Friday, March 30, 2007

Dating advice for teens with hyperhidrosis

Hey, how's everyone doing?

I got a wonderful note from a 16 year old girl who has hyperhidrosis. To her credit, she doesn't let the HH hold her back from being social and outgoing. What is especially great is that she is involved with theater, which I would have NEVER tried at that age, though I think I would have enjoyed it.

As is the case for any normal 16-year-old (and, really, most of the human race), dating is one area that causes her some anxiety. She wrote "Sweaty Palm Diaries" to ask for dating advice -- for example, when he wants to hold hands and yours is sweaty, what do you do?

Great question...here's her story. I'll post my response to her, and since I'm no dating guru, please feel free to chime in with any other suggestions you might have.

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Dear Tiara,
I am a 16 year old girl that deals with a major case of hyperidrosis. Even though i have HH, i still am considered a very outgoing and social person. I'm not very shy or nervous around others, that is until they try to give me a high five, or shake my hand, or touch my hand. Thats when i get weird and hide. I just shake me head no and pull my hand away under my sweatshirt that i always carry around with me. I do this so i can hide my hands under it. Usually, my hands are bright red and swollen from the hyperhidrosis, so it makes it even easier to tell i have it. Its hard to write in class because i dont want people to see my hands, and when i write, i leave my paper wet and gross.

It is very embarassing to guys that i like. I've had some boyfriends, but none that were very serious. I've never actually held hands with a boy before. And when we kiss or go on a date, i hide my hands in my hoodie.. which is awkward. I've tried using medication like Drysol, but its called something else. I've been using it for a year and it doesn't really work, but it helps a little. All my friend's know about my problem, so they help by not making fun or pointing it out.
its just very embarassing and i really want to get surgery, but im scared of the side effects, and i don't think i will be able to because of my parents.
also, i was wondering if you had any advice with guys? Such as, how do you tell them why you can't hold their hand? or how to be NORMAL around them without worrying about your hands? and do you ever "grow out" of it? or do you have for your whole life? i hope not.
Well, im glad you have this site to help us teenagers who suffer from HH.

24 comments:

Tiara said...

Yhank you so much for sharing your story. I think that is great that you don't let your HH stop you from being outgoing and social. Also, it is wonderful that you have friends who are supportive...real friends like that are worth their weight in gold. It sounds like you are on the right track, even though, yes, the sweat is be a real drag.

Have you visited sweathelp.org? It is a nonprofit serving people with HH, and they have a special section for teens. I highly recommend it as a resource. They suggest ways to talk to your parents about getting medical help, and they also explain the various treatment options.

Regarding dating, yes, that's a tough one. My approach (and it took me way too long to get to this point!) is to be open about the HH, without apologizing for it or dwelling on it too much or giving too many details. You might come up with a wry or humorous line -- I sometimes say 'yeah, my sweat glands have minds of their own' and just shrug it off.

You will likely find he doesn't think it is as big of a deal as you do. If he is worth you, then he will treat you with kindness and respect. And if he doesn't, well, life is too short to be with a jerk. My fiancee says he loves my sweaty palms because they are part of me. Talk about Mr. Right!

Unknown said...

It's great that you have so much confidence! I wish I had that much confidence too...

Anonymous said...

yeah i know what u mean..im also 16 yrs old and i get kinda embaresed to shake peoples hands..and my boyfreinds as well..but im also thinking about ets but not sure..

Anonymous said...

Hey there, I think what you said sucks. I'm fifteen by the way. I thought i had it bad because i have hyperhidrosis in my arm pits. I mean, it's really difficult because I'm constantly having to wear a sweater and my face even sweats if i'm in a hot room for too long. All throughout the winter too!
But your problem seems worse because you can't hide from it. If i were you, i wouldnt tell the guy unless you were serious. And it depends on the person because some guys could understand. Talk to your doctor for sure. And yes, surgery sounds scary but if it's the only thing left to do then i say do it. The only way to overcome this problem is to face it head on.
The only people who know about my problem are my two best friends. But no one else. But that's just me. And you don't have to tell them, just say you dont like holding hands or something.
I'm really sorry about your problem and i wish i could help,because i know how it feels. It sucks. And it's unfortunate that it happened to us out of all the people in the world.
Good Luck! And i hope your problem is treated :)

Anonymous said...

Well i am 22 years old with this problem. I am considered an outgoing funny girl like u said but as well when it comes to shaking hands or a simple high five it SUCKS! i have been called mean or rude sometimes because i have left people hanging but i try to get out of it by making it seem like i was joking around, but sometimes it doesnt work. I attend a university and at this point i should be involved in many things to help with my career but i sometimes hold myself back because of HH. I do have a boyfriend and he does know about my problem and i made sure to tell him right away. At first i told him i didnt like to hold hands and he did ask me why, but I decided that the best thing to do was to be straight up with him. So that is the best thing to do.

Anonymous said...

I am 15 i have had the problem in my armpits for 3 years and never told anyone until a few months ago. The doctor gave me drysol, and it doesnt work. soo.. the next step would be botox or surgery which i have heard both are very painful. but i have heard you grow out of it so i guess i will just wait it out. But i think you should just tell the guy if you think he is worth it. Cause you will feel much better.

Anonymous said...

I use a deodorant called Arrid XX which is sold at Duane Read or Rite Aide. It has stopped the sweating altogether. In the winter time it stabilizes my hands so that they dont sweat. I also have tried Sage tea which helped a little. I also drink Avert which is like robinul during the summer time because of the high humidity. It really dries my throat but I can go weeks without taking it again. It is so hard to live with HH...NYC subways are a torture chamber...once I was holding on to the bar at rush hour and I was dripping all over this passenger and she gave me a look of disgust. It was a horrible experience. I hope the above helps!

Anonymous said...

Hello all,
I am 22 yrs old completing my last year of college. I have learned to cover up my struggle with HH and avoid awkward situations all together, but there are always those days when it is unavoidable. When I was younger especially, I had wished to stay in my own little bubble. The effects of me being introverted all those years are becoming apparent now. Now that I have so many more responsibilities now it’s getting almost impossible to be a recluse. Also I am finding out more and more that it’s just not really apart of my personality. The most frustrating part for me when dealing with HH that knowing I can be and do so much more but b/c of my own fears sometimes I just don't. Every day is a struggle but I remain optimistic for the most part and try to do what I want regardless. I think it will take a whole lot more development maturity wise until I can truly say I don’t care what others perceive of me.

Tiara said...

Hi 12:04 a.m., thanks so much for your comment. It resonated with me so much, especially the part about how you discovered that being a recluse is not really part of your personality.

The worst part of HH for me is not the sweat. It is the social anxiety and living in that bubble. I'm 40 now, still working on getting out of my shell. (I'm probably 75 percent out by now.)

The human soul is like a turtle--easily scared and ready in an instant to retreat back in its shell. That's why turtles move slowly and steadily--it's what they can handle, it's how they succeed. Are there any tiny little movements you can make to peek out from behind that shell? You don't need to chuck the shell. Just take a peek out, take a deep breath, and test the weather outside (-:

Love, Tiara

Anonymous said...

Hi, Im 17 years old and Ive had HH since I was in the seventh grade. I too worry about situations dealing with the opposite sex. In fact im talking to someone right now who I really really like, but I am afraid that when he invites me anywhere he'll be disgusted, and not like me anymore, and that Ill be awkward and weird trying to hide this sweating problem. WHen my hands are dry(which is rare) I'm in heaven, im touching everyone and everything..But living in South FL makes that a challenge. HH destroyed my self esteem when i was younger, and im still working on not letting this condition define me, and how i veiw myself. Now i still dread social interactions with people, and boy i hope to god that this boy i like will still like me..:/

Anonymous said...

Very true. I too live in south florida and can relate. All I can say is that if they don't accept you after knowing about your condition, then they might not be willing to accept you as a whole, and not be worth it. It's painful as for me, it's wrecked any relationships I'd ever had and has only hurt me. But all I can say is never to give up. As cliché as it sounds, it's true. Find an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

we couldnt be more similar! im a 16 yr old girl and in exactly the same situation :) i suppose my palmar hyperhidrosis is considered mild but it is DEFINTELY there. i hate shaking hands, holding hands etc. because of my sweating..but occasionally my hands are dry and its like im flying, touching everything and everyone and shaking hands like i wouldnt normally be able to do! its great!..until my sweating comes back. if someone-anyone-came out with a simple cure, one not as drastic as surgery, they would literally be my hero. not sweating like i do would mean the world to me. but just know until then yall arent alone! i feel like i am sometimes since none of my friends have it, or even know that i do, but its nice to know there are other people who feel like me and are trying to get rid of it as much as i am :)

Anonymous said...

22 year old guy here living with terrible hand sweat. I haven't told anyone about it except my parents. Never really thought about girls having it too but it doesn't surprise me. I'm always really social and outgoing but it's tough because guys are always trying to high five/shake hands and girls always want to shake my hand when i meet them which is awful. Sometimes they say "why are your hands so wet" which is a straight crushing blow. Heard a lot of comments about the surgery, i highly recommend not doing it. I've heard terrible stories about people getting it and the sweat becoming much, much worse. like sweat litterally dripping down their legs and having to change shirts multiple times a day. THAT would be embarrassing.

Tiara said...

Hi 9:26 PM: Thanks for writing! What kind of treatment are you looking into? It is great that you are social and outgoing, and you don't let the HH stop you. What do you tell people when they ask about the sweat?

Anonymous said...

Hey, high fives are sometimes no problem for me, because instead I do a nuckle touch and sometimes people think its awkward but atleast "didn't leave them hanging"

Anonymous said...

Hey people I am a fourteen year old guy and I don't know if I should be in this conversation because I am a guy, but nonetheless know how you feel. I have hyperhydrosis for my hands and armpits.I went to my Dermatologist and gave me some pills to take and some medication to put on my hands and armpits before I go to bed alomost every night. These pills with the medication make me sweat less often but only work to a certain extent. What I do for my armpits is just simply where black and dark blue shirts, shirts where you can barely even see the sweat. I too am a very social outgoing person but when it comes to high fives and holding hands, I'm just like no way bro legit people fistbump or I don't hold hands I'll put my arm around you instead. It's simple things like these you can do to drastically increase your self esteem.

Tiara said...

Thanks for sharing your story (the 14-year-old at 11:22 PM) ... yes guys are welcome in the conversation. Good suggestions...a sense of humor and confidence always helps...and glad to hear the medication is helping. I hope that you'll feel comfortable holding hands if you want to.

Best wishes,
Tiara

Anonymous said...

hi, this is all im dealing with as well. HH has ruined relationships for me. there was this guy that liked me once, and wanted to hold my hand. I kept telling i dont want to. my friends would ask me why i wouldnt hold his hands. it was embarrassing. but that was last year, this year i shared my feeling with my friends and they all understood. that guy is now going out with a girl that has HH. do i regret never telling him and just holding his hands yes! dont let HH hold you back its not even a big deal, once you look at it that way you can live your life, and you stop sweating.

Anonymous said...

oh my god that sounds just like me if I have to shake someone's hand I rub my hand on my pants and shake their hand real fast even though its still sweaty or if someone goes in for a high five I turn my hand or give them a fist bump or ill leave then hanging and they get mad and I feel bad but my friends all know but they dont care they say I shouldn't either but I dont think they understand, but when I read this I thought about my self. btw im 17 girl

Anonymous said...

i love one of my best friend for 3 yrs.but never had the guts to tell her because of HH.she can sense my feelings.but my introversion has made the situation more complex.i want to get away for her.but hell,what would be the reason i would tell myself. once she dumped one of my friend.now another guy has proposed her.she has asked her to wait for a while.i dont know if she is doing for me or just for any other reasons. what should i do!!!!all i do thing about her all day and what she thinks about all the things happened back in the last few years.did she ever feel anything for me? just a little?

Anonymous said...

Hiya! My name is Alex(I'm a girl), I'm 14 years old, and my hyperhydrosis started when I was 12. I have this terrible sweating in my hands, armpits, and my feet. This sweating problem has made my life miserable. I have terrible anxiety cause by the sweating which in turn makes the sweating even worse. I'm scared for someone to touch my hand, see a sweat stain in my shirt, or notice my sweaty feet. I know that a lot of people also have this problem but I'm becoming very depressed because of it. I've told my mom about the problem but she didn't seem to care and didn't do anything. I'm starting to give up hope and I'm getting more and more depressed every day. I've used antiperspirants but most don't even work. I don't think I could surgery either. I'm really lost right now and I'm very sad.

Anonymous said...

All, I am a 50 year old woman. I am also a nurse. I have had HH since I can remember. I dealt with all the issues you have discussed for multiple years. I have had many doctors refuse to treat my condition. I have, however, had a couple of great physicians over the years.

I used clonidine for years, with mild to moderate improvement. I have had a stellate ganglion block three times now. One worked, one didn't. Third only somewhat. I have just switched to Tenex. Both clonidine and Tenex take alot of getting used to. They make you incredibly sleepy at first, but if you start low and go slow, your body will adjust.

I was divorced at 42 years of age and forced to date. My husband loves me and pays little attention to my sweaty palms. There are times I say no to holding his hand because my sweating is really bad, he just holds my hand anyway. I know if you are young this may not make you feel anybetter, but if they really like(love) you, sweaty palms are the least of their worries. Open up, be honest, and move on. It could be SO much worse.

I would love to try botox in my palms, but insurance will not cover it. So, I continue to take pills every day. It s worth it! Find a good Neurologist and talk with him/her. There are treatment options that can help.

I havent ruled out sympathectomy, but reading about compensatory sweating scares me. Hang in there!
JR

Anonymous said...

Why are all these comments about how bad HH can be? We all know this so if you dont mind, please post positivite tips on how to deal. I can honestly say that mind over matter is the best solution, some days are better than others but never sit there and sweat and be miserable. Always go to confidence boosters like showers, excercise, shopping etc. Remind yourself that its not as big of a deal on the outside looking in. Always have something to look look forward to and with me its meds(Robinul) i looked it up and i really feel good about it

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I like this blog page a lot, and it has helped me many times. Pardon me for the negative post. I've had HyperHidrosis since I can remember. As a child and in my teen years, I was very open about HyperHidrosis and what it was. I always explained it to people, and would receive harsh comments about what I am in life. After high school, I learned that most things in life are better kept secrets. I now know that children have an identity crisis, which makes them discriminatory. In a sense, I kind of understand why they discriminated me for my HyperHidrosis.

I've tried many things. I've tried the solutions. I've tried Botox. I remember experiencing muscle weakness, and an ability to properly use my hands, which is a side effect of Botox use. The good news is that the muscle weakness eventually wears off with time. The bad part is that the HyperHidrosis comes back as the muscles strengthen. Most doctors will not give anesthetics or wrist block, which may cause nerve damage, during the Botox procedure. However, I have heard that Iontophoresis may help with HyperHidrosis.

I've seen many videos with women finding boyfriends and becoming married. As a male, I wanted to know if there are any men out there with HyperHidrosis, who found things such as romantic love and marriage? Have you also had children? I just wanted to know this on my birthday because I'm starting to convince myself that maybe my high school bullies were right. Maybe I don't deserve to have kids or find romantic love due to my medical conditions.